Fake Crab, Great Deal

by Brian on December 7, 2010

in Food,Reviews

Sushi at Tsunami

A new Jerusalem-based group-buying site, appropriately called GroopBuy, is taking the Anglo community by storm. The site, which launched Nov. 1, is the brainchild of a 27-year-old new immigrant, David Shadpour, who says he created the business to help his fellow olim negotiate better deals.

He might also have had his eye on Groupon, the U.S.-based group-buying site that was just snapped up by Google for a whopping $2.5 billion. Shadpour’s GroopBuy borrows liberally from Groupon, down to the color scheme, the big “buy” button and countdown timer (not that there’s anything wrong – or illegal – about that).

GroopBuy is not the only game in town either – Baligam does the same thing for Hebrew speakers and is available in Tel Aviv and the Sharon area as well.

My wife and I signed up for GroopBuy nearly as soon as it launched. Since then, we’ve been receiving an email every day with another “outrageous offer.” We’ve already bought three – a haircut for our daughter at 60% off, discounted horseback riding, and NIS 75 ($20) of sushi at the Tsunami restaurant for only NIS 20 ($5.50). For that one, we bought two coupons.

We got a chance to try out the GroopBuy system for a date night dinner last week. I was worried there might be some hidden catch (such as, you have to order from the “special menu”) but there wasn’t. The only fine print was that we had to use our coupon within one month of purchasing – no hording coupons like frequent flyer miles. (Another recent deal, for the River Noodle Bar, had a limit of only one coupon per table – we passed on that one.)

We pigged out (pardon the non-kosher expression – the restaurant most definitely is, though the imitation crab meat was nothing like what I remember from sushi back home), and at the end of the meal received a bill for “minus 3 shekels” – that is, we hadn’t reached our NIS 150 limit.

Unfortunately, the food itself wasn’t as spectacular as the savings. I’m a decent sushi connoisseur and, other than a few tempura coated maki, Tsunami didn’t come close to our Jerusalem favorite: Sushi Rehavia. That wasn’t GroopBuy’s fault of course.

On the way out, I ran into a work colleague who was celebrating her daughter’s birthday. There were six at her table – and each one had bought the GroopBuy coupon. That meant for NIS 120, they received NIS 450 worth of sushi!

Even I’d put up with the fake crab for a deal like that.

You can read about our sushi date on Israelity.

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