Occasionally when I have catering jobs, I like to treat myself. Even though I work around food, I obsess over it on off hours. Sushi is a top pick for a pre-work meal. It's satisfying, healthy, and filling. Without the uncomfortable bloat some other foods may give, burgers and burritos being the top offenders. Better to eat before catering, because it's unsure if and when you'll get another bite. Or what the food will be. My least favorite staff meal: Subway wimpy sandwiches, hands down. Generally, staff meal is not a showcase for any chef's talents. More like: empty the walk in fridge and make the most puzzling array of dishes (hot dogs, limp salad, etc.).
So maybe it's not best to use a pre-work meal as a reward, but that's pretty much what I do on the days where I'm dragging. I move a little quicker when a restaurant outing looms in the near future. No fake smile needed while I head to eat and work! Isobune tends to be a breeze. I never wait for a seat, and can select and eat dishes from their rotating circle of sushi boat plates. If I'm especially hungry, I start with miso soup and seaweed salad. In the drink department, they do a good job on keeping the green tea cup full. Warmth and caffeine, all better now. Especially when mixed with bites of fresh fish, and wasabi rich soy sauce.
After paying the $20+/- Isobune bill, I take in the sites of the Japan Center. Read reviews and menus, people watch. Maybe even stroll up Fillmore and see what is on the menu at other places. For a sweet treat, hit up Bittersweet. Or use my Peet's card for yes, more caffeine.