[Dec 21, 2011 Update: See additional somewhat negative remarks in the comment section at the bottom of this post.]
[Feb 16, 2013 Update: Why we stopped eating at Macleod Sushi & BBQ? We had been a long time customers even though the food quality sometimes varies. Over Christmas holiday, we went there well before closing (30-40 mins) but were told that they don't & won't serve us our favourite all-you-can eat sushi anymore because of a busy day. So we were greatly disappointed. And then later another time, we were told that if we need a pot of hot water (we don't drink tea, just hot water), we would be charged a $2 per pot fee in the new year of 2013. This disappointed me greatly as it seemed so wrong a way to treat a long time repeat customer. So in 2013, I am glad to say I have stopped eating at Macleod Sushi & BBQ. Gave me an excuse to eat a few less all-you-can eat meal, which may be a good thing for me to shred a few kg! :) ]
I love food, especially reasonably priced, reasonably good food. So we were quite happy to discover Macleod Sushi & BBQ (Suite 100, 5211 Macleod Trail SW, Calgary). We went there twice already in two weeks to check out their lunch time $14.95 all-you-can-eat Japanese sushi & cooked food and Korean BBQ. After my first visit, I even spent sometime to chat with the sushi chef Ken about the food (Ken told me he is in charge of food quality).
In the following food review, you will see what I like and don’t like about Macleod Sushi & BBQ.
House Salad: 7/10 It tasted nice, nothing too unexpected.
[Possible improvement: put the same amount of salad dressing on each salad. Of the two house salads we ordered, one had normal amount of dressing and the other one (above photo) had too much dressing.]
Various Nigiri Sushi and Rolls (over two visits and multiple orders)
General comment: These sushi and rolls were all quite nice, not your typical “all-you-can-eat” stuff. Some years ago, one restaurant used a machine to form the sushi rice, that was horrible. Fortunately, they aren’t in business anymore. And some all-you-can eat places put way too much rice on the sushi, as if to try to stuff you full first. Now the following are my ratings for the Nigiri sushi and rolls.
Tuna: 8/10, Salmon: 8/10, California roll: 7.5/10, Chopped Scallop: 9/10
The chopped scallop got a 9/10 because the scallop was fresh and sauce was nice. And the seaweed was crunchy if I eat it right away. This is nice attention to detail. note: of course, if you leave the Chopped Scallop uneaten for too long, the seaweed will soften and it won’t taste as nice in terms of having a crunchy and smooth taste in your mouth.
The above pictures of sushi and rolls were taken from our second visit. I want to bring out an important point that the food have to be consistently good. The food’s taste and presentation should be consistent over multiple visits. [July 26 update: We recently had our third visit. And I am happy to say, the food is still consistently good plus they even improved some of the dishes. e.g. I will rate the Shrimp Tempura: 8/10 now.]
You see, there was one restaurant that we visited once, it wasn’t even able to send out consistent dishes from the kitchen on the same day when we ordered the same thing!
As you may notice in the photo on the right, we ordered some rolls to try. We ordered Spicy BC Roll and Dynamite Roll, I think thats their names. Anyway, they are the ones that have BBQ salmon skin in them. When done well, the salmon skin should be crunchy and mixed well with the rest of the roll. In this case, the salmon skin was too hard and tough to chew. I ended up eating the rest of the rolls and picked out the salmon skin (the roll’s main ingredient).
Spicy BC Roll and Dynamite Roll: 2/10 (Macleod needs to fix this asap)
The oyster in the baked oyster is fresh. My better half loves it and is a big fan of it. She ordered it again and again. :) For me, while I love baked oyster at Tokyo Garden, I don’t quite like the taste of Macleod‘s version, the mix of sauce (a bit more on the sour side) and mushroom. So I will give you two ratings.
Baked Oyster: 8.5/10 (by my better half)
Baked Oyster: 6.5/10 (by me)
Oct 29th update – Baked Oyster: 1.0/10 (by me) I’m sad to see how bad the baked oyster has become now. I worry about the rest of the food quality now …
Black Pepper Steak
I liked the taste of the steak enough to ordered it some more. At the same time, the steak is a bit more tough/chewy than I hoped. Given the price (of $14.95 for the all-you-can-eat lunch), I am ok with the flavour of the steak even it is a bit chewy.
Black Pepper Steak: 8/10 (with the above qualification)
Black Pepper Steak (2nd visit): 6.5/10 (when the steak was particularly chewy on the second visit)
Black Pepper Steak (3rd visit): 8.5/10 (the steak is nice but I worry about consistency of quality here)
Oct 29th update – Black Pepper Steak: 7.0/10 (by me) The steak was well done and seemed pre-cooked as opposed to be freshly cooked for each order. Again, I am worrying about the rest of the food quality now …
I quite like the Spicy Tofu. Crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. The tiny size works perfectly. So when the second order came it bigger in size of the tofu and the taste weren’t as good, I was a bit disappointed. So I am happy to report that Ken took my advice and when we came in for our second vist, the size of the tofu were mostly back to the smaller version.
Spicy Tofu: 9/10
The vegetable tempura tasted pretty good but the shrimp ones were a bit softer in its core (less crunchy and light) than I had hopped for. I don’t want them to be as hard/crunchy as pub style deep fried fish but they can be done better. Same texture in our second visit. (As an aside, of the different Japanese restaurants in Calgary, Tokyo Garden does their tempura, especially shrimp tempura, pretty nicely and their sushi taste good too.)
Tempura (two ratings): Vegetable Tempura: 8/10, Shrimp Tempura: 7/10
[July 26 update: We recently had our third visit. And I am happy to say, the food is still consistently good plus they even improved some of the dishes. e.g. I will rate the Shrimp Tempura: 8/10 now.]
Deep Fried Smelt Fish
Deep Fried Smelt Fish: 7/10
Chicken Katsu: 3/10 (Crunchy but way too dry on the second visit as well.)
Spring Roll: 7.5/10 (nice dish, doesn’t need to be fancy)
Oct 29th update - Spring Roll: 4.0/10 – For some reason, the spring roll is soaked in oil. Again, I am worried the consistency of the food quality.
Gyoza: 1/10 May be this is a personal taste thing. I don’t like the taste of the ingredient in this Gyoza at all. I actually had a bite, spat it out, and left the rest on the plate. Yuck. (Let me know if you like the taste of it, provided you don’t work there! :)
Salmon Teriyaki: 6/10 (A bit dry. I had expected more from it as I actually took a bite first before taking the picture!)
Korean Style Soup
Korean Style Soup: 8/10 (my better half loves it, I am no fan and didn’t even try it. There is something I won’t do for a food review. :)
Japanese Style pan-fried noodle
Japanese Style pan-fried noodle: 7.5/10 First of all, I actually like the taste of it except it names. This dish looks and tastes just like a better version (less oily) of the Chinese pan-fry rice noodle you get in Chinatown. The way I see it, this dish has little “Japanese” about it except being called “Japanese”.)
Korean BBQ meat
Korean BBQ meat: 7.5/10
Once you cook it, the meat actually tastes nice. Not too sweet as some restaurants’. The thing they can improve on is to cut the meat slightly thinned but into bigger pieces so they can be easier BBQed.
OK, I don’t usually comments about restaurants’ plates but the above nice looking plate is just the WRONG type of plate to be used to put pretty hot (freshly BBQ hot food). I don’t exactly want to find out what are the melting points of the coating or the plastic plate itself. So I just ask for a small regular stoneware plate to put the food.
Yes, presentation is important to me but not as important as food safety.
Jello & Mango Tapioca Milk
Jello & Mango Tapioca Milk: 7/10 & 8/10
The Mango Tapioca Milk is particularly nice after Korean BBQ food! It cools you right off.
Given the price and food quality, I quite like Macleod Sushi & BBQ and will definitely go back. As Macleod’s chef Ken (the person in charge of food quality) knows, consistent food, good price, and repeat customers are some of the factors that define a good restaurant.
I wish them the best of luck in delivering good food quality and nice dinning experiences.
NOTE: All food review ratings are based on the initial date of review. Food quality may improve or deteriorate over time. Feel free to share your personal experience (respectfully) in the comments section.
Oct 29, 2011 update: Here is a CBC radio Calgary Eyeopener (Aug 12, 2011) review of the place. John may have a point re the spotty services but my experience with the food is fortunately much much better than John’s. Over the years I have been to a few of the restaurants reviewed and liked by John and I have concluded that John and us have quite different taste buds because we didn’t have good experiences at places recommended by John.