Okay, so this is going to be our first real review of a new restaurant. I say this because our others were just practice for us. We are going out as a party of 6 and a full review will follow.
Sushi King is a new All You Can Eat sushi restaurant located on 16th Ave NW. I’m not a big fan of all you can eat places for the most part due to the fact they don’t usually have quality food. The main reason I’m willing to try Sushi King out is that it is formerly Hikari, which was one of the best sushi restaurants I’ve ever been to in North America (at least as far as food quality goes, not authenticity). It also served excellent Korean food and the service was great.
Nancy and I had been to Hikari several times since it opened in early 2008 and had never found anything to complain about. The owner was a Korean fellow from back East who had been retired from having owned successful restaurants in Toronto had come out to Calgary and wanted to catch the wave of new money, So he comes out of retirement and opens Hikari in the old
It isn’t saying much about the place if I had to go to the washroom midway in the meal at Sushi King. I can honestly say that it was the first and last time we are going to this All You Can Eat sushi restaurant. That was 3 hours of bad food and bad service!
We were served cold appetizers that were meant to be hot. Cold teriyaki steak, deep fried oysters, yam tempura, and gyozas. Cold. Cold. Cold. The sushi was tasteless. The smoked salmon was extremely salty. The jello was runny. I think they had to chill the beer first because it took over 30 minutes to get it. Many items were not served in the first round so we had to re-order it on the second sheet.
At the end of the meal, the bill included a 15% gratuity THEN GST was calculated. When I asked why we were charged gratuity up front and why my tip was then taxed, their reply was that all you can eat sushi places automatically tacks that onto the bill. (Ummm, no, they don’t.) As for the tax, the computer system does that. (Ummm, so fix it.)
The signage is plain red and white in the most common font ever. The menu was boring. The service was slow.
Oh, I guess I should say some good stuff. My hot water was hot. There was sashimi in this all you can eat place so I didn’t have to waste the rice. (You get charged extra for wasted pieces.)
It seems that my concerns as to the quality of the food at Sushi King were well founded. Nancy, myself, and Nancy’s cousin, her husband and kids spent 3 hours over dinner tonight. We had a good time catching up and the evening was not a total waste.
From the moment I walked in I could tell that all traces of Hikari were gone. The staff seemed friendly but dis-interested and I never recognized any of them. We sat down and were presented with a place mat sized laminated sheet with a list of the All-You-Can-Eat items available for order and a small two page sheet to check off our order. The list is better than I’d expected but not anything to get excited about. The six of us spent the next little while deciding what to have.
We ordered a selection of sushi, some motoyaki, Kalbi,, gyoza, tempura, teriyaki beef/chicken, salad and some rolls. A fairly good selection of what was available to us.
Unfortunately the only thing that I was pleased with was my Kirin beer and that was because the staff had to only bring it to me. The “hot” food came first along with the salad and was not hot at all. The tempura appears to have been made ahead of time and was perhaps microwaved for a few seconds prior to being brought out.
Nancy also ordered a sashimi salad that had smoked salmon on top. The fish was saltier than the soy sauce and the dressing was bland.
The oyster motoyaki and kalbi were no better, the kalbi had a funny taste to it that I was mildly concerned about and was tiny. The oysters too were very small, about the size of a small mussel and not tasty at all.
The gyoza was no better than the food sampled so far. It was tough and cold.
The sushi and rolls were a disappointment as well. The sushi rice was gooey and had a strong vinegar taste to it that did not go well with the fish, which was not fresh. I was pleased to see soft-shell crab rolls on the list but unfortunately like everything else it was not up to par and the crab seemed to not be fully cooked and was mushy.
Saying any more about the food would not do any good so I’ll leave it at that.
The service was less than expected and though the restaurant was fairly busy I would have hoped for better. Some of the items that we’d ordered never showed up at all and when we asked for a few more things and a beer for myself it took far to long to get the food and the beer never showed up until I asked about it 25 min later.
When the bill came it had what seemed to be a 15% gratuity added to it and this is as an item so tax was calculated on it. We asked what it was and they explained that 10% was added automatically to every All-You-Can-Eat orders, but as I said it was 15%. Now on the order form for the food it says that 15% will be added for groups of 8 or more diners, but we were six. Basically it seems that if you are 8 at the table you pay 30% gratuity on your bill that is then taxed at 5%.
I don’t see a bright future for Sushi King and dim or otherwise this future will not include us. Spend the extra money and go anywhere else for your sushi fix. I now can only hope that I don’t have any gastric issues to top this evening off.