An Interview with Sushi Tokyo owners Chaim Lipsitz & Shneior Harel
Q: Please tell us how Sushi Tokyo came into being.
A: Shneior and I started working at an early age. Always hard-working, once out of Yeshiva we were eager to learn everything we could about running and succeeding in a business. A few years later we felt confident we can start one. We knew that we wanted to do something unique and special, and here we are, B”H, specializing in sushi, and doing it well.
Q: How did your business grow?
A: At one point we remember ourselves standing in our small kitchen at the Coney Island store surrounded by dozens of platters and bags to be picked up, receipts printing non-stop, and we realized we just have to grow - our desire to please all of our customers demands it. Now with our three locations we have room to meet all of our customers’ needs. Thank G-d these days we are very busy with parties and deliveries all over the NY area.
Q: Why is sushi so popular?
A: They say sushi was invented by a Jew who wanted to open a restaurant with no kitchen. Apparently you do need a kitchen and much more than that. Sushi is a first class food, yet it is affordable. It’s a unique Asian cuisine, but every person can find a roll that suits his or her taste. It’s the best answer for a guest bar at an event, but is also a great idea for dinner. I believe people find sushi satisfying and entertaining in many aspects.
Q: What, would you say, are the misconceptions about sushi?
A: A lot of people think that sushi always has to have fish, if not raw fish, in it. These days there are so many selections of vegetable, fruit or cooked fish rolls that there’s something for everybody. Few of our best-selling rolls contain only vegetables. With our soy seaweed and brown rice options, we can meet every customer’s taste.
Q: Please tell us what goes into the creation of your new sushi items?
A: We spend a lot of hours of team work with our experienced sushi chefs, the ones who make it all possible, testing out different combinations of flavors. We take customers feedback very seriously, and constantly looking to improve.
Our menu offers all types of sushi and a variety of appetizers, we have a unique sweet roll - Dessert Roll. My mom always told me I can’t have dessert before I’m done with the “real” food - guess it’s my revenge…
Q: What is your favorite roll?
A: Who is your favorite child? I guess every single day you like one of them better than the other. There are hours of work and testing behind every single item of our 142 on the menu. It’s impossible to choose.
Q: What makes a great sushi roll?
A: Traditional sushi contains fresh raw fish, rice and seaweed. The freshness of the fish and the skills of the chef make the difference in each roll. Our unique chef special rolls give a boost of new flavors, through the right amount of rice, a perfect combination of flavors, and special chef skills that go into your roll.
Q: Do you give classes?
A: We surely do. We have chefs cater at private events or at schools where they teach the secrets from the kitchen: what makes a good roll, how to expand your sushi skills, and how to match the right combinations.
Q: What is Sushi Tokyo’s future plans?
A: Feeding good sushi to each individual sushi lover in the kosher market and beyond.