Sushi is certainly one of those things where you don't want to be cheap. And although we'd all love to afford a weekly sushi splurge or omakase spread, most of us don't have that kind of cash.
Lucky for West Palm Beach lunchers, that's no longer the case. According to Palm Sugar owners Pop Tharitimanont and Sang Churchid, their new takeout, delivery, and catering menu offers the most affordably priced sushi around, and that's the idea. Last week, the duo launched what they've dubbed Palm Sugar Express, an offshoot of their 3-year-old Asian eatery in West Palm Beach, with a new menu specializing in fresh sushi and Asian small plates.
"The idea, for us, is to inspire more people to eat out for lunch," says Tharitimanont. "We thought, if we could afford to sell sushi for lower prices during happy hour, we could find a way to offer those same prices all the time."
Dubbed Palm Sugar Express, the menu offers appetizers and sashimi, sushi and soup, and full-size entrées. That includes a dozen or so small plates priced from $4 and $8.50 each — like a pair of plump, pork-stuffed Chinese char-siu buns, a sashimi salad starter, and steamed shrimp shumai. Takoyaki — baby octopus-stuffed Japanese dumplings — are a special treat, four fat fritters smothered in a spicy mayo sauce for $7.
The menu also includes more than 15 specialty rolls, most priced $4 to $6 each. There are options for every taste, everything from a vegetarian-friendly roll to hamachi jalapeño and a tuna-topped California roll. The priciest option is the Buddy Roll — a combination of spicy tuna, cucumber, and scallion topped with seared salmon and named for one of the restaurant's sushi chefs — cut into eight pieces for $7.75.
Lunch specials — available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. — include $10 noodle bowls like pho, honey-roasted-chicken ramen, and a Hong Kong noodle soup with shrimp wonton, barbecue pork, and bok choy in a clear broth. Heartier dishes, like traditional Thai curry or pad Thai, go for the same price and include a complimentary side salad and rice.
To make ordering on-the-go easy, an Express menu has been designed with pictures of each dish so you know exactly what you're getting, says Churchid. Takeout orders can be made by phone or online with a check-out option that allows you to customize orders and plan delivery times in advance.
For now, delivery remains within West Palm Beach's downtown area, adds Churchid, but plans are to expand into Palm Beach and the surrounding city neighborhoods later this fall.
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That will come in handy when football season comes around, says Tharitimanont, especially for anyone interested in ordering Palm Sugar Express' party plates. The menu lists half-a-dozen options including the 6-Roll Party: an eight-piece California, tuna California, eel-topped California, shrimp tempura, JB tempura, and avocado roll for $29.95.
"People are watching what they spend these days. They want good food, but they don't want to spend a lot of money," says Churchid. "These are simple rolls, nothing too fancy, but it's our hope that people will appreciate what we're doing to offer fresh sushi at a more reasonable price."
Palm Sugar Express is available Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. Delivery includes a $4 fee, and orders are guaranteed to be delivered within 40 minutes. To place an order online visit palmsugarwpb.com, or call 561-820-9206.
Nicole Danna is a food writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on the BPB New Times Food & Drink Instagram.