Maru Sushi is the name of a brand new all-you-can-eat sushi concept operating at 2150 N. Prospect Ave.
Maru takes the place of Kanpai 2, which opened last May in the longtime Izumi’s space. Initially, the restaurant operated simply as a second location for the popular Kanpai Izakaya at 408 E Chicago St. in the Historic Third Ward, offering the same menu as its sister restaurant.
However, over the past nine months, as the ownership listened to feedback from Kanpai 2 customers, they made the decision to reconcept the restaurant, renaming it Maru Sushi and reframing the menu to better meet the demands of its East Side customers.
"There has been a high demand for all-you-can-eat sushi," notes co-owner Lane Kim, of the change. "It’s been one of the things people request most often, especially on the East Side where there is a younger crowd."
The concept of all-you-can-eat sushi has been historically demonized by sushi purists, with good reason. Some restaurants are known to use the special pricing to offload less-than-fresh fish; others create sushi using a larger proportion of rice or tempura-battered items to reduce costs. In addition, many diners feel that the time limits imposed on diners at AYCE establishments don’t sufficiently allow for leisurely enjoyment of the artful Japanese cuisine.
But a new generation of premium all you can eat sushi restaurants are cropping up across the nation, aspiring to offer better quality sushi in the AYCE format. Maru Sushi is among them.
"The idea is to offer people an affordable way to enjoy our sushi," Kim explains. "The portions and the quality of the fish are the same as what we’ve always served at Kanpai."
At Maru, all you can eat sushi options are available for both lunch (appetizers, classic and signature maki) and dinner (hot and cold starters, nigiri sushi and both classic and signature maki), priced at $14.95 and $25.99 respectively. The concept is family friendly as well: children age 10 and under eat for half price, while children five and under eat for free.
The caveats: in order to limit waste, customers are limited to a two-hour dining window for all-you-can-eat options. Up to two rolls can be ordered at one time and customers are asked to finish their entire order before requesting additional rolls. Leftover sushi cannot be carried out; in fact a surcharge of $1 per piece of sushi will apply to any food left uneaten.
Maru Sushi is open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and for dinner Monday through Thursday from 4:30 to 10 p.m., Friday from 4:30 to 11 p.m., Saturday from 4 to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 4 to 9 p.m. A limited amount of free parking is available in the lot behind the restaurant.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.