Budget Beat

Budget Beat: TeHaru




News flash: Sushi does not have to be expensive. Of course, to a lot of folks, sushi still seems exotic, and, therefore, prone to be served in flashy, theme-oriented, slightly high-end restaurants. But at TeHaru in Tempe, the sushi is inexpensive and tasty. Oh, and it's served on a conveyor belt.

Let me set the scene: You walk into a warmly lit space whose focal point is a three-sided bar/counter, around which two conveyor belts carry little colored plates (the colors denote the price) of sushi, edamame, an assortment of beverages, and a handful of desserts. As soon as the server seats you at the counter and takes your drink order, you're pretty much ready to dive right in by snatching a plate off the slow-moving belt. The plates are never cleared by your server. Instead, you stack them. At the end of the meal, your server counts up your plates, checks the colors of them, and adds up your bill. 

The system is genius, for several reasons. 


Three: There's no such thing as over-ordering. Sometimes, at sushi joints, that's easy to do. Sushi is so damn good and it seems like it's not filling, but it is. Many times, the missus and I find ourselves forcing down those last few bites. 

Four: It's a meditative experience to eat, chat, sip your green tea, and watch the sushi lazily pass by on the belt. It's fun to ooh and aah at all the varieties before you. I imagine that if you had some rugrats in tow, they'd get a kick out of food that moves.

Five: Did I mention it's cheap? The plates are priced at $1, $1.50, and $2. You can watch your plates stack up to a couple of feet high and still know that you're not dropping a bundle. In fact, the missus and I got filled up for $23.50. Even at mid-range sushi place, we find it's hard to fill up for less than $45. It should be noted, too, that TeHaru has 24-ounce Japanese beers for $3.50. That's cheap.

But what about the sushi, you ask? Okay, so it's going to win any awards, but it is by no means bad. I love sushi, but I am in no way a connoisseur of the stuff. That being said, I've had really great stuff and some really lame stuff. TeHaru is somewhere in the middle -- it's tasty and it's satisfying. And, in case I haven't mentioned this -- it's cheap.

TeHaru
9845 South Priest Drive, Suite 106
Tempe
480-705-9825
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.


KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jay Bennett
Contact: Jay Bennett