Tamaki opened last month in the former Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. It’s a familiar-looking campus-type restaurant. Owner Frank Cheng has two others in Lansing and East Lansing. They’re built on the model pioneered by Subway. You and an assembly-line worker face each other over a glass wall as you call out your favorite starch, protein, veggies, and sauce, all doled out into a sandwich or a bowl. The first choice is between sushi, noodle soup, rice bowl, or wrap. After that, the choices are numerous and some are unfamiliar (don’t worry about that part–staff are almost Zingerman-like in their eagerness to give samples), so it’s best to allow a bit of time on your first visit. The website gives a list, but to mention a few of the most exotic: kanpyo (a reconstituted dried gourd), pickled radish, eel, and–that new sushi classic–finger-sized logs of cream cheese.
Tamaki, 521 E. Liberty, 369-4241. Mon.-Wed. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Thurs.-Sat. 11 a.m.-3 a.m., Sun. noon-10 p.m. tamakiroll.com