To attract people to its new Kensington area to try its food, Sushi Kai Calgary created an “All you can taste buffet” (note: it is still an “All you can eat buffet“). The food at Sushi Kai’s old Chinatown location were reasonably good so I decided to give the new location’s buffet a try and review them at the same time.
[July 29, 2011 Update: Check out "Macleod Sushi & BBQ – Food Review" which I have gone back to eat again a few times!]
Deep fried shrimp (3/10) & oyster (8/10):
The batter for the deep fried shrimp wasn’t the fluffy tempura batter I had expected so I was disappointed. But the deep fried oysters used a lighter tempura batter which I liked more and it was quite tasty. Unfortunately, when I ordered some more deep fried oysters later, the chef (or a different chef?) decided to use different batter which I didn’t like at all.
Second batch of deep fried oysters (3/10) (they looked and tasted different from the first batch):
The presentation and taste of the first dish of sushi were pretty good. I particularly like the Mackerel and BBQ Eel (which were warmed up by the chef).
Now, what I can’t understand is why the second batch looked and tasted different? You can’t see it but the BBQ Eel were cold (the chef should have warmed them up like the first batch) and the Mackerel didn’t have the cuts and burn-marks like the first batch (see following photo).
Consistent presentation and taste of food over different days (let alone on the same night) should be a minimum requirement of any self-respecting restaurant. Most customers won’t go back after a bad food experience at a new restaurant.
Hand cone & Sushi Rolls –
Toro hand cone (7/10), mango paradise (8.5/10):
Naraku roll (7/10):
Deep fried shrimp roll (Age sushi) (1/10):
The novelty factor of the deep fried shrimp roll ended badly after the first bite. Bad job in deep frying the shrimp roll. The Naraku roll was ok, not something I would order again. I enjoyed the Mango Paradise rolls and did order it again and still enjoyed it the second time. Other restaurant uses a thin slice of real mango but I found the mango sauce was an cheaper but still ok substitute. The Toro hand cone was ok, the distribution of the toro was a bit uneven as there were no fish left in the last bite.
Deep fried squid legs (6.5/10)
The two same sauces are used here. And the chef might have forgot to add a tiny little bit of salt to the dish.
Mixed veg tempura (7/10)
I’ve had better tempura, they were ok.
Steak & Chicken (1/10 & 3/10)
The steak was so tough and chewy, Sushi Kai needs to buy a slightly better cut of beef or prepare them better. The chicken was barely ok as I can cook better chicken than this.
Octopus balls (7/10)
For someone who likes octopus balls (essentially a ball of starch with a tiny bit of octopus in the middle), it was ok so I leave it as a 7/10. For me, I never like it and this one hasn’t changed my mind.
Grill squid (8/10)
Other than the sauces (more on this later), the grill squid was tasty.
Sushi Kai seems to sprinkle the same two sauces on most of their dishes. Why? They should really spend a little bit of time to create appropriate sauces for each dish. There is no point in using the same sauces over and over and over again as it shows a serious lack of love of food.
Presentation & plates
Except the first dish, every other dishes were put on a cheap round glass plate. Why? Food presentation should be pleasing to the eyes and the big round plates do take up way too much space on the table. And have I said they look ugly?!
I want to give this restaurant another chance but given some of the poorly made dishes (simple stuff like beef, chicken) and the inconsistency of the food (the first vs the second batch of sushi), I don’t know if I will give it another chance.
These days, every restaurant should have a proper website. And failing that, a simple basic site with basic information, including the hours of operation, should be posted. (note the word “Hours” is on the site but without the actual hours of operation).
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.