103 King St. West
Kitchener, Ontario N2G 1A9
A friend told us that there was a new all-you-can-eat sushi place in downtown Kitchener, so we decided to check it out. We didn't go with high expectations, after all, what quality should you expect from an all-you-can-eat place? It turned out to be a decent restaurant; a great place to go with a bunch of friends (especially if they are thrilled by the "all you can eat" idea).
Dinner is $19.99 per person. Other than the limitation on expensive sashimi (2 pieces of tuna and scallops per person), you can order literally anything commonly seen in a Japanese restaurant. Selection ranges from appetizers, sushi to desserts. Pops are also included in the $19.99 flat fee, additional cost will apply if you order other drinks such as orange juice. They also offer lunch for $12.99 with a slightly smaller selection. By the way, make sure you only order what you can finish. You'll get charged (punished?) if anything is left, e.g. $1 for each piece of sushi left on the plate. The ordering process is quite straight-forward - you write down the item number and quantity (e.g. "65 x 1" for 1 serving of item #65), the waitress will gather the lists and deliver items once they are made.
We started with edamame (Japanese beans), sea scallop tempura, age-dashi-dofu (deep-fried tofu), house salad, smoked salmon rice pizza (deep-fried rice cake topped with smoked salmon and spicy mayonnaise). As for sashimi, we ordered tuna and scallops. Some items are ok, some are pretty good even compared with regular Japanese restaurants. The quality of sashimi is ok but it is NOT reasonable to demand top-notch grade of sashimi from an all-you-can-eat place. Regardless, the sashimi was fresh. If the sashimi we had represents the Ye's restaurant's "norm" then they have already surpassed many Japanese restaurants in town.
Then the crazy sushi sampling began. I couldn't recall all the items we had but I'll try my best:
- Spicy salmon crispy maki, spicy salmon sushi: we first ordered spicy salmon sushi. the salmon was fresh and the spicy mayonnaise did have a kick in it. With the good impression, we ordered spicy salmon crispy maki afterwards. The crispy bits are interesting, I can't quite figure out what they are, maybe from chopped deep-fried chinese dough fritters?
- Mango and cucumber hand roll/maki: It is uncommon to have mango in sushi. I think it tasted alright, thought one friend complained that the mango wasn't ripe enough.
- Red snapper sushi: probably the most disappointing item throughout the whole meal
- White tuna sushi: second most disappointing item
- BBQ eel sushi: It was on the dry, plain side; probably prepared from a frozen BBQ eel package.
- Salmon roe sushi (Ikura): Whenever I have sushi, I like to order salmon roe (if available). It tasted about right. And I am glad that they didn't put a limit on this item.
- Flying fish roe sushi: a friend ordered it. No complaint afterward so probably ok.
- Black dragon roll: it consists of avocado, BBQ eel, shrimp tempura, etc. The shrimp tempura was a bit soggy but it was still quite tasty.
- Maple roll: flying fish eggs, squid in a roll. Not as impressive as the Black dragon roll.
- Spider roll: avocado, soft-shell crab, the usual ingredients for a spider roll. About as tasty as the Black dragon roll.
To wrap up the dinner, we had mango, green tea and red bean ice cream. The green tea ice cream was no match with what we had in Uji (the city in Japan, famous of its green tea) but just as good as the ones we'll get charged $2-3 per serving in a North American Japanese restaurant. Not a bad way to end a meal especially since it's already included in the flat fee.
Overall, I'll say the food is better than some Japanese restaurants in town, maybe equivalent, say, the California Roll & Crazy Sushi on Bloor St. in Toronto. If you attempt to "maximize" your money worth of value by ordering lots of sushi (the type w/ a piece of fish on top of rice), you might have to swallow lots of "not-so-good" sushi. However, if you know what you might be getting (the limitation of their budget on materials) and order "appropriate" items, it can be quite enjoyable. After all, we did enjoy the spider roll and dragon roll a lot. We will definitely revisit this restaurant, with friends.