David Speegle’s review published on Letterboxd:
I can say with fair certainty that East Side Sushi is not a great film. There is nothing technically impressive about it, no shocking twists or home run acting performances. When it has a chance to jump at a clichéd joke or plot device, it absolutely does. So why the four stars? It took me back to when I could sit down and casually watch a movie, just getting to know the characters, without any pretense of what the big message or theme of the movie is. And because there wasn’t a single minute I found myself not enjoying it for the simple pleasure of watching people have a desire to work hard, and have some passion about what they do, along with striving to make their situation better, overcoming challenges while navigating the difficulty in relating to and identifying with other cultures.
I’m happy that a movie like East Side Sushi exists, and I wish there were more of them. It obviously did not move any kind of needle, because the director and lead actress have not done hardly any film work since and that’s a shame. Again I’m not comparing it to other films I’ve given four stars, just going with my gut, and putting some positive feedback behind it. I’ve read a few comments that it’s borderline insulting to insinuate that an amateur could become an elite sushi chef with such little experience as depicted, and I’m sure that’s true. ( I’m not ready to say that a Hispanic woman wouldn’t be able to achieve this, I think this IS insulting to suggest). But this is a movie we are talking about, and if we can’t suspend some disbelief in this situation, then there are hundreds or more sci-fi films I can’t watch anymore either.