Sushi of Peoria: Happy Fish

Colton and I ate sushi for the first time a few  years ago. We talked about how we should try sushi from every restaurant in town and compare them, but for a while we mostly settled in at a favorite restaurant, which with its unlimited sushi option, was particularly good for trying out sushi as newbies. (That restaurant was Hokkaido, in case you were wondering.)

Last week we finally decided to start our full sushi tour of Peoria with our first visit to Happy Fish.

We showed up a bit after 5 on a Tuesday evening, since we headed out pretty shortly after Colton got home from work. Happily, this landed right in the  middle of their “Happy Hour”–Monday through Friday, 4-6 PM they have a selection of maki rolls for $3.95 each along with similarly discounted prices on a couple of appetizers and nigiri options. The catch is that each person has to order a drink to get the special pricing, but since drinks were $1.95, it was still a very good deal.

To start with, Colton got sweetened iced green tea and I got hot green tea. Colton’s tea was very good, with a light fruity flavor. My tea came as a tea bag with a small mug, small tea pot of hot water and a piece of lemon to squeeze into it. I got several small cups of green tea out of the pot of hot water, and it worked with the fact that I felt like something hot to drink at that moment, but next time I would definitely get the iced green tea. (They also had the standard soda options and unsweetened black iced tea, none of which really appeal to me to go with sushi.)

We didn’t get any miso soup or any other appetizers on this particular night because we were focused on sushi. Colton ordered a spicy tuna roll (his standard for judging sushi quality), a california roll, and a yellowtail roll (which neither of us had tried before). I ordered a salmon and avocado roll and one of their specialty rolls which I’ve now forgotten the name of. I wasn’t paying enough attention to realize the specialty roll was one of the deep fried ones, which are much heavier than standard sushi, and I wouldn’t have intentionally chosen to go with the other rolls we ordered. (I did enjoy it though–it was a good version of deep fried sushi at least, with a spicy-sweet sauce I liked.)

For my taste, there was shortage of pickled ginger to go with the rolls. Aside from that, all the non-sushi elements of the experience (service, presentation, ambiance) were good in a low-key kind of way.

Overall, we enjoyed the meal. We would both order yellowtail sushi again sometime (which is particularly useful to know since Colton normally goes for tuna and I go for salmon). I would say the sushi was good but not great–not what I would describe as ‘chef’ level sushi. In Colton’s words, the flavors were ‘one note’ instead of being complex.

That said, during their happy hour, they have a cheapest sushi that I’m aware of in the Peoria area–we paid $26 (before tip) for the meal for the two of us. If we were going out for sushi at a time when we’d have to pay full price, I would choose to go somewhere else with better sushi for that price. But if we were going out around dinner time on a weekday, Happy Fish would be high on my list of options, because their sushi is well worth the discounted price.

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