Once again, I somehow managed to get duped into going to an AYCE place. Haha, I shouldn't say that because I did go there of my own free will, but despite it being an AYCE place, Ninkazu didn't disappoint me as many of my recent AYCE experiences. Related to Tomokazu, I could feel the family resemblance the minute I walked in. It was almost exactly like Tomokazu, except the stupid name. It sounds Japanese, but means absolutely nothing and sounds absoultely bizzarre in Japanese.
The wasabi was prepared well in advance, as is in most AYCE places. Ours wasn't done too far in advance because it was still bright green and moist....some places leave it out so long they dry out and turn brown.
Despite knowing that the oysters would come in eggtart trays (I love eggtarts by the way), I ordered a bunch of these. I dunno, guess I was hungry. They were using some other cheap Japanese mayo though, it definitely wasn't Kewpie (probably Shirakiku watered down with Miracle Whip and cheese). When I ate through most of the kaki motoyaki, there was the standard ocean of oil at the bottom.Jay loves rolls, especially California Rolls. He can eat thousands of them, haha! We threw in a few spider rolls just to confuse him, adn they turned out not too bad. The soft-shelled crab was still crispy and the rice to filling proportion was at a decent level.
The gomae sauce was porbably made with Skippy peanut butter, but didn't taste bad.
The sunomono sucked, but helped clean the palette after eating the deep-fried stuff. Why did it suck? The noodles were hard, and there were as few shrimp in it as Aji Taro's offerings.
The gyoza were surprisingly good, clearly cooked in a reasonable time from order, to the time it was delivered to the table. The bottoms were crispy, which meant they weren't sitting in a warm vat of oil waiting to be served, and the skins weren't overly thick. Overall, thumbs up here.
The beef sashimi was served on the same dish as the tuna, which was sort of weird, but I guess they wanted to save on dishes and ponzu sauce. Some of the beef was slightly overcooked, so instead of blue rare/sashimi, we got medium-well beef with some ponzu.
What managed to make me smile was that ikura was on the menu. What made me giggle was lobster was as well.
The unagi was pretty standard, tasted pretty good.
I know, I know, it'a AYCE and I shouldn't have had any expectations whatosever when I saw lobster on the menu, but I was curious and had to try it. This was crap. It was imitation crab meat with an attempt to flavour it like lobster...fail on both ends. If they drowned it with more mayo, it might have been a pass, but because it was so dry, it needed to be chased down by some watered down tea. At least some places manage to squeeze in "imitation crab meat"...this one just says lobster on the menu.
The wings were plain, and would have tasted good with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and a side of ranch dressing...why this is ever offered in a Japanese restaurant is still my question....haha, a bigger question would be why the hell did we order this =).
Holy crap, I didn't notice this till I was almost full, but they had kaki ponzu. I was also hesitant because my friend puked her guts out after eating raw oysters from Tomokazu. Being the daring person that I was, I did order this and only paid for it with some mild dysentery that evening and into the next day. I can't say for sure 100% that my rotten guts were the result of the kaki ponzu, but something I had at Ninkazu must have been the culprit. The reaction was quick folks, let me tell you.
More rolls were ordered.
My pal Vince loves to tell me how he gets screwed with the Jell-o over at Tomokazu. Ninkazu wasn't shy about dumping a huge wad of Jell-o on us.
So what's the verdict? I would say it's probably better than Tomokazu, even though it's the same company. Would I go back? Well, I probably wouldn't say no I was with a group and they insisted, but that's just because of my personal take on AYCE places. The place isn't a total fail..