Sushi King Restaurant Review


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 Mamma’s Ristorante building at 320 16ave NW. Unfortunately the economy went sideways so he decided to retire again and sold the place. The new owners must have felt that an all you can eat was the way to go and Sushi King was born.

All I can say is that if the Hikari kitchen staff remains and the new owners are sincerely interested in establishing this place, it should be good (crosses fingers, toes and…)

Nancy’s view…

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.

sheet

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.

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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.

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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.

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The gyoza was no better than the food sampled so far. It was tough and cold.

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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.

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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.

Sushi King Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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22 responses to “Sushi King Restaurant Review

  1. Curious about what they charge at Sushi King…???
    I’ve thought about going but I think you’ve talked me out of it; although maybe give them some time to work out the kinks?

    What’s your vote for best reasonably priced sushi in the city? There doesn’t seem to be many options for all you can eat… what do you recommend?

    • As I recall the cost was $25 per person. To be honest our experience at Sushi King has only reinforced my belief that there is no good “all you can eat” sushi. In Japan a Sushiya is a complete experience that is to be enjoyed over a period of time (often 2 hours per meal) and while it can be an expensive proposition in this case the statement “you get what you pay for” really does have some merit. There are a number of middle of the road places in Calgary such as Sushi Boat in Crowfoot where you won’t pay the high prices of Wa’s for example. However if you want good quality you should head to Globefish for great rolls or Shibuya in a little strip mall on 16th Ave (used to be called “Ice Bar”). There are several more and all tend to be somewhat pricey. Places like Sushi King and Sushi BBQ Inn are really not worth it just to save some money.

  2. Hey ~ how u doing ?

    is that really that bad ? I hv been there so many times already , and the server always friendly to me .

    I was working at Van for sushi chef for a period of time and when I took their menu, I recognize it cux I work for
    similar menu before…the taste is really closed and the price is same as Van, I guess the owner really put time and
    heart on the food.

    I have been try most the sushi restaurants at Calgary. Be Frankly, I tried Globefish 3 times since they open. From my personal view is , they did really good at start but ..the food and server is getting down and down, last time they even charge me service charge of 20% on 4 peopl….I really don’t understand this part, 10~15% I can understand, but 20%!!!….that make me a bit of mad. with a so so food and slow service…I don’t get it why I have to pay 20 % on that.
    Maybe they have to do the charge in order to pay their news article on newspaper…hahaha..

    best sushi place from my experience at Calgary is ..Sushi Club !!! and Wa’s,
    Price match with Food !!…if you know the chefs at Sushi Club, they will let you taste the sushi from Jap without
    spending 1200 on a ticket flying to Jap…

    And I do agree with you, Sushi BBQ Inn is the worst at Calgary !!!!! oh yeah..and Ichiban sushi…I never see so big rice ball in my life.

    Sushi King offers a reasonable price and food to a public market. I believe by seeing. everyweek I go there,
    , they have stable biz,friendly service and steady food..

    However , accidents happen , Maybe you should give them more time to do better and better.

    • Thanks for the comment Joe, maybe there will come a day when I give Sushi King another chance but that won’t be in the near future.

      You do pay more at Globefish and while I’d rather they were less expensive just like everyone else does, I have no problem paying for quality and good service. As to them billing you a service charge of 20% on a group of 4, I spoke with them about this and was told they will add 15% to the bill if a group is 6 or more. If they made a mistake I’m sure you could speak to them about it. Perhaps you’ve had a bad experience with the staff , they all can have bad days. In the case of Sushi King, I’ve heard from others who just wanted to try it out for themselves after reading our review and have had them confirm my experience with an equally poor one themselves.

      I’ve dined at Sushi Club K’z and have never had a bad experience there, I hope to visit them and offer a full review in the future.

      If the food and service at Sushi King is to your liking then by all means continue to go and enjoy it.

  3. Thanks for your reply.

    There are some more sushi place worth you to try out.

    Blowfish at 11th ave S.W.( I am not sure if still the same chef)
    Sukiyaki House at 9th S.W ( order a omakase , that is chef choice in Jap )

    SUSHI BAR ZIPANG at Bridgeland ( try their Anago tempura , and salad with goma dressing)

    Zen 8 at downtown ( beside Wild Ginger)

    And there is one more on Center St N.W ,just pass bridge. around 9th Ave …I guess…hahaha..sorry, I am a DT guy..
    Hana at 4st is good too. forget about Kawa and Towa.

    they are above the average at Calgary.

    • Thanks for the suggestions. I will try them out! We just went to El’s Japanese Fusion in Marda Loop. Delicious!

      • Really ??

        I might try it out tonight, I heard many good reviews on El’s too, what do u recommand on menu ?

  4. I am 100% sure that Runerider must work at Globefish~haha~Sorry to tell the truth Runerider, but the food at globefish isn’t worth what I should pay at all. Nothing is impressive after I went to Sushi King. No doubt about how bad the sushi is at Sushi BBQ Inn, Sushi Ichiban and the big one in Dragon City.
    I believe the gratuity is charged everywhere now.
    I understand that everyone has their point of view, however, I can see that no other restaurant will be better than globefish in your standard. You took a pic of every food that you ordered with bad comment, which is not the truth. Feel bad to see and hear that!

    • No, I don’t think Globefish is the best. Gratuity is charged everywhere, yes. But a taxed gratuity is not. Note the difference. I wonder if you work for Sushi King??? LOL. To rate Sushi King as ‘impressive’ or even ‘average’ is beyond me. I do find, however, that we are generating a lot of interest for Sushi King because many people are on opposing sides. Let people try for themselves. The real test of a restaurant is whether or not they have repeat customers. As for me, nope. I’m not returning.

    • Well Din or Joe (same person it seems)I certainly don’t think that Globefish is the best in the city, in fact we just reviewed El’s Japanese fusion and it is in many ways better than Globefish in my view and since the only review you seem to have read is for Sushi King I can only assume you are trying to assist them in some way.

      If you want to promote your own or a friend/family members’ restaurant you should do so in a different way. My review will remain and those who read it can use it for what it’s meant for and then go and see for themselves if they choose. Thanks for dropping by and check us out in the future for reviews of the other restaurants mentioned in your comment.

  5. so it seems there’s a debate going on here, which seems really unnecessary and…somewhat childish. Review is only for a kind of suggestion; plus, people will have their personal preferences. the best thing is try it out Yourself. although i haven’t tried sushi king yet, but i love towa as the best sushi/sashimi in town and sushi hero came in 2nd. so judge yourself.

    • My opinions are no more valid than anyone else’s and this site is here to provide information and impressions. If anyone disagrees with our reviews all they have to do is head over to Urbanspoon or another review site and make their opinion known.

      This is not the place for a back and forth regarding the relative merits of any given restaurant. If you want to be part of a community that is available for that try FoodBuzz. Thanks for visiting guys and happy eating.

  6. Agree with sushi master that TOWA is so good, but too bad that they dun have all you can eat, their sushi and other dishes are hugh and delicious.
    Of course there is no argue. We put up all our different comments on here or even other websites so people can find it out by themselves and I thought that’s why Runerider created this blog, right?
    Somehow we can’t compare the AUCE with the others where we order on menu. Really the quality is different as people order with a lot of food in once at AUCE. But still need to use the heart to make a good customer services.
    Yea~~Towa~~!! Will go there soon again!!

  7. Every experience can be quite different no matter where you are going. Going for all you can eat sushi is like going to see a movie based on a comic book, there are certain things you should expect.

    I went to try Sushi King only a couple of weeks ago and I have to say, I didn’t mind it. Was it the BEST sushi I’ve ever had? No certainly not, but it was good for all you can eat. The servers were friendly and the fish was decent. The Sashimi is definitely a bonus for the price.

    For what it is, it was good. I will likely go back. FYI I went during a rather quite time of day. It was before the dinner rush, just before 5pm on a Sunday – so that could have had an effect on things.

    • Hi Trina, thanks for the comment. While it’s true that one cannot go to an AYCE and expect the same quality as a high end Sushi ya there is a level of service as well as food quality I expect from every restaurant I visit. When we tried Sushi King it was below that mark and our review reflected what we experienced. It’s entirely possible that we were there on a particularly bad day and this has happened before, for example our review of Wa’s was not positive and it’s considered one of the best in the city by people who’s opinions I trust, because of the experience our review was not good. Consistency is as important as other aspects. If you read 10 positive reviews and 2 negative you may decide that it’s worth going and seeing for yourself but if there are equal numbers of good and bad then it’s a gamble and to me not worth it. As with any review mine is subjective as well as reflecting perhaps only one experience. If the reviews reflect improvements I may revisit Sushi King but those reviews must also hold some credibility to me. Thanks again for visiting and I hope you return and continue to add your voice to ours.

  8. still looking for a AYCE resturant. Is there another one you’ve tried and you liked? Please don’t say Sushi Ichiban, they have some CHR issues.

    It’s great that you have reviews with photos… it does help people like myself looking for info.

    i mean.. I don’t want to go to a resturant that automatically calculates the gratuity.

    • Thanks for the comment sleepycat. In all honesty I can think of not one AYCE sushi place in Calgary that is worth a visit. There are a few in the states that have been better than expected, but my opinion on this type of place is that they are to be avoided if at all possible.

  9. Having recieved a good deal of mail regarding the exchanges in this post I want to clarify something.
    If you look at the little picture to the right of all comments you’ll see that the one for “Joe” “Din” and “Sushi Master” are all the same. This means that the same computer was used when posting the comment. So these three are the same person and I’ve removed some more nasty comments from “different” people with the same avitar.
    There are also profiles on review sites by this person with comments stating other sushi places made them sick, reused food etc. Of course there are multiple glowing reviews for Sushi King as well.
    Be careful who you side with.

  10. Hi I am new to calgary, I am a Sushi fan as well, and I hope this site provides sincere and proffesional advise and experience that we can count on.

    • Thanks for dropping by Steve. We always try to provide unbiased reviews of places we’ve dined and express our experiences. I hope we’ve been able to give you some useful information on places to try in Calgary.

  11. Thank you for your review, RuneRider. I was about to go out with my hubby tonight and we thought to give Sushi King a try. However, after reading your review and all the back-and-forth comments, and more importantly people who tried to pretend to be “different”…now I’m not quite sure we want to go…maybe we just have to come to terms with the fact that Calgary just doesn’t have a decent all you can eat sushi restaurant! Sigh..alas!

    • Unfortunately I’ve never found any AYCE sushi places anywhere in my travels that is up to even moderate standards of quality. You are far better off just choosing one of the higher rated sit-in places and trying them until you find what works for you.

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