Food type: Sushi and Asian Fusion
Price point: Moderate
Restaurant Week: Lunch and dinner
Sake-Tumi, the creatively-named sushi bar, restaurant and lounge, is located right in the heart of Downtown Binghamton and is serving up both lunch and dinner menus for this year’s Restaurant Week.
For lunch, the $10 pre-fixed menu includes two courses. The first is a trio of appetizers, complete with miso soup, a salad and a spring roll. Your entrée can either be a choice of any traditional sushi roll (Sake-Tumi’s traditional rolls include the California roll, the Philadelphia roll, the Japanese bagel roll, the tuna/salmon/yellowtail roll, the unagi roll, the veggie futo, the shrimp asparagus roll and the shrimp tempura roll; the clever “special” rolls like the Lady Gaga maki and the Rathskellar roll are not included), or a dish of cashew chicken, seafood soba, pad thai or Tokyo mini burgers.
For the money, you’re getting a pretty decent meal. Traditional sushi rolls range anywhere from $5 to $8 normally. The Tokyo mini burgers alone cost $12 on the regular menu, and although the portion may be smaller than what you would normally receive (the Restaurant Week version comes complete with two slider-sized burgers and a plate full of sweet potato fries), the addition of a cup of soup, a small salad and a spring roll makes for a filling lunch and a nice break from Sodexo.
Dinner boasts a larger menu and more choices, but at a higher price. For $20, you have a choice of spring rolls, shrimp shumai, gyoza, edamame, house salad or miso soup for an appetizer and any sushi roll or kitchen entrée from the entire menu for your main course. A dessert of vanilla, green tea or red bean gelato is also included in the price.
Sake-Tumi offers a full bar with sake, wine, beer and cocktails for those of you older than 21. But rumor has it that drinks are priced a little higher than usual during the Restaurant Week rush. If you intend to keep it close to your $10 to $20 price limit, stick to water and don’t order any extras. Your only additional charges will be tax and gratuity.
Personally, I chose to get my Asian Fusion fix with Sake-Tumi’s lunch menu. I dragged my roommate Downtown to get to the restaurant when it opened at 11:30 a.m. as we both had 1:15 classes and were on a tight schedule and hoping for a quick experience.
My roommate ordered one of the sushi rolls and to achieve the full experience, I went with one of the entrees on the menu, the Tokyo mini burgers. Our trio of appetizers did not take long to arrive at all, but when they were delivered, they were delivered separately.
When it came time for the entrées, I waited for my burgers patiently while my roommate happily ate her sushi and I watched on. If you subscribe to the idea of restaurant etiquette in which everyone’s courses are supposed to arrive simultaneously, you might be disappointed in Sake-Tumi’s service. But the food — once it does arrive — is so good that it makes up for it. And even though we had to wait what seemed like forever, we were still out of the restaurant in just under an hour and able to make it to class.
As for its atmosphere, the restaurant nails its “lounge” theme perfectly. The deep red walls and sleek black furniture are modern, refined and warm. Flairs of the industrial, like the black chandeliers hanging next to pipes on the ceiling, almost make the restaurant feel as if it’s a chic little piece of New York City in the middle of Downtown Binghamton. And we all need an escape once in a while.