The Rise of the Costco Maki Roll – Supermarket Sushi Sensation

Costco Sushi

Costco, the warehouse club known for its bulk buys and unbeatable deals, has taken the food world by storm with its foray into fresh, made-in-house sushi. This unexpected addition has created a buzz unlike any other, with long lines, rave reviews, and a whole lot of surprised shoppers. But what exactly is behind the Costco sushi phenomenon?

From Pre-Packaged to Premium Plate:

For years, Costco offered pre-packaged sushi platters, a convenient option for quick meals. However, the quality often left something to be desired. In 2022, things began to change. Inspired by the success of sushi counters in Asian Costco locations, the company launched a pilot program in Issaquah, Washington, featuring a dedicated sushi counter with fresh, made-to-order options. This was a game-changer.

The Secrets in the Making:

Unlike pre-made offerings, the new sushi program boasts a focus on quality and freshness. Specially trained staff cut fish and assemble rolls throughout the day, ensuring a consistent and delicious experience. Innovation plays a role too, with robotic arms forming nigiri and automated machines helping with roll consistency. But there’s more to it than just automation. The team reportedly flew to Japan to learn from “rice masters,” a testament to Costco’s commitment to getting things right.

Worth the Wait? The Costco Sushi Craze:

The Issaquah location quickly became a local sensation. News outlets dubbed it “the most talked-about restaurant on the Eastside,” and social media buzz was undeniable. Long lines became a regular sight, with shoppers willing to wait for a taste of this high-quality, surprisingly affordable sushi.

Varieties of Costco Sushi

Costco’s sushi selection, while not expansive, offers a curated mix of crowd-pleasers and options to tempt the adventurous eater. Here’s a closer look at the specific varieties you might encounter at your local Costco:

Classic Combinations:

  • California Roll: The undisputed king of supermarket sushi, the California roll at Costco features fresh avocado, cucumber, and imitation crab tucked inside perfectly seasoned rice and wrapped in seaweed. It’s a reliable choice for those new to sushi or wanting a familiar flavor profile.
  • Philadelphia Roll: Another popular choice, the Philadelphia Roll features cream cheese, smoked salmon, and cucumber. The creamy texture of the cheese complements the richness of the salmon, creating a decadent and satisfying bite.
  • Spicy Tuna Roll: For those who like a kick, the spicy tuna roll delivers. Tuna is mixed with a blend of chili flakes and mayonnaise, creating a flavorful and slightly spicy filling.

Beyond the Basics:

  • Salmon Nigiri: This simple yet elegant dish features a slice of fresh salmon atop a bed of seasoned rice. The quality of the fish shines through, making it a great option for those who appreciate the pure taste of salmon.
  • California Rainbow Roll: A vibrant twist on the California roll, this version adds vibrant tobiko (flying fish roe) for a delightful textural contrast and a pop of salty flavor.
  • Shrimp Tempura Roll: This option brings a touch of tempura magic to the sushi party. Crispy shrimp tempura is paired with avocado, cucumber, and mayonnaise for a satisfying and unique combination.
  • Spicy Mango Salmon Roll: This roll takes the classic salmon roll a step further with the addition of diced mango. The sweetness of the mango balances the heat of the spicy sauce, creating a truly memorable flavor experience.

Seasonal Surprises:

Costco occasionally introduces seasonal or limited-edition sushi varieties. These might include options featuring fresh seasonal fish like yellowtail or albacore, or creative combinations with unique ingredients. Keeping an eye out for these limited-time offerings can add a touch of excitement to your Costco sushi experience.

This is just a glimpse into the potential varieties you might find at your local Costco. Selection can vary depending on location and availability. But one thing remains constant: Costco offers a delicious and surprisingly diverse array of sushi options, ensuring there’s something to satisfy everyone.

The Reviews are In:

Reviews for Costco sushi have been overwhelmingly positive. Customers praise the freshness of the fish, the perfectly cooked rice, and the overall deliciousness. Many report that the quality rivals, or even surpasses, what they’d find at dedicated sushi restaurants, all at a fraction of the price. Online forums are filled with enthusiastic comments, with some even calling it “the best sushi in town.”

The quantity, quality, and price are also something to reckon with. The portions are generous, living up to Costco’s reputation for bulk value. While the price might seem high at first glance (around $15-$30 per pound), considering the quality and quantity, it becomes quite competitive compared to both grocery store sushi and restaurant offerings

The Future of Costco Sushi:

The success of the Issaquah pilot program has led to expansion plans. Costco intends to roll out sushi counters across the country, potentially making this unexpected find a nationwide phenomenon. This expansion has some wondering if the quality can be maintained with such a large-scale rollout. Only time will tell if Costco can keep the magic alive, but one thing is certain: Costco sushi has redefined what supermarket sushi can be.

Beyond the Hype

Costco Sushi has shown that a warehouse club can be a destination for fresh, gourmet food, not just mega-packs of paper towels. Whether you’re a seasoned sushi aficionado or simply looking for a convenient and delicious meal, Costco sushi is worth checking out. Just be prepared to wait – the hype is real!


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