For a guy who loathes all-you-can-eat, I sure end up in a lot of these places. None of these places ever get good review from me, but I may end up giving this place a neutral review. Express summary - Food ok, service sucks.
Ok, so now for the more in depth review. I knew the service was going to be crap, being an AYCE place, so I had no expecations there. But if the service is crap, then I have to report it as such. You don't just ignore the fact that it was crap, just because it was AYCE. The crappy service started before we were even seated, when the hostess barked at me to close the door. Nice. The wait time at about 9:30pm wasn't too bad, but when the hostess led us to the table, she had a bored look on her face and mumbled "You can use this table". I just grinned. We sat down and looked for the standard order sheets typical of AYCE but supposedly this place had some sort of electronic ordering system. Not tonight. This night they had some scrap paper cut into little bits and a pile of pencils for us to scribble the food item # and the quantity.
Ok, so onto the food. Teriyaki beef, not bad....but it's hard to screw this one up.
Surf Clam, not my choice. Usually too chewy, but this is the prepackaged stuff that comes from the same supplier that most Japanese restaurants order from, so there should be no surprises here.
Gyoza, definitely not made in-house, again, probably ordered from the same place Aji-Taro and Tomokazu get theirs.
The Tempura was done ok, except some of the veggies were pretty raw in the middle.
Teriyaki chicken....didn't try this.
Kaki-motoyaki. They weren't quite egg-tart trays, but there was no half-shell. Still, it didn't taste that bad. I think they didn't water down the mayo with Miracle Whip like some places do.
Shishamo had a weird flavour to it....not sure if it was the seasoning or what, but I didn't like it. I don't know why all these places deep-fry these things. It should be grilled, but it hardly ever comes grilled. It's always deep-fried a la Chinese style....so why not just throw a pile of jiao-yian (you know, that peppery seasoning salt) over it.
Standard issue salad.
Ok, something good. The BBQ Beef Short Ribs (Kalbi). It was kind of a hit and miss though because sometimes they were grilled just right, and another time, there was just no color on them, and kind of mushy.
Deep-fried squid....tasted ok.
Chicken wings being passed off as karaage. Tasted good.....good with beer and sake.
Grilled squid - way better than it's deep-fried brethren and awesome with the booze.
I tried a spicy tuna cone, which wasn't bad. It was packed with tuna, and not loaded with rice.
Sashimi.....for $15 late night menue, salmon and tuna sashimi is included. Not too bad. Of course, my group had to order enough to make the dish look ugly.
My pal Vincent sprinkling lemon juice on the saba, as if he were the Iron Chef himself.
Gomae - not sure if they actually used sesame paste, but there were sesame seeds on it.
Ebi Sunomono - fail. Two shrimp, and raw noodles.
What cheese sticks were doing on the menu I have no idea.
Tasted like cheap cheddar wrapped in something then deep-fried. Sounds gross? Sounds like something that would just destroy a review? Not so. Funny, it was one of the things I liked about the menu. At that point, I really couldn't have cared if this place was a Japanese restaurant, or a sports bar. Those cheese sticks make a good drinking snack. Verdict - go to BC Sushi for the cheese sticks....forget it's a Japanese restaurant.
Of course, those cheese sticks were lonely without the proper amount of alcohol, and so we ordered some of the house sake - Gekeikan, arguably the world's worst sake, but not bad for cooking and cleaning engines.
Yay, more short ribs....this time, it came with dipping sauce, haha!
Tamago - run-of-the-mill.
The mango pudding was listed as a desert, but what I found was it's a great palet cleanser.
Ok, so, the place doesn't completely suck, it has AYCE service, I'd say that 75% of the time, the food was okay, and the price wasn't too bad considering it came with sashimi. Washrooms were filthy, and the kitchen looked minging, but I didn't projectile vomit after eating here so either I was lucky, or you just can't judge appearances. Authentic? Forget about it.....I haven't come across an authentic tabehodai place yet. Compared to other such places? Well, I'd say it's definitely ahead of places like - (the following are listed in suckage ranking of edible to ultra-crappy) Tomokazu, Aji-Taro, Shabusen, and Fish on Rice....
Would I go back? Probably not by choice, but if the rest of the group wanted to go, I doubt I'd make much of a fuss.