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“You’d be pleasantly surprised”

Shiki Sushi House & Asian Bistro
Ranked #115 of 771 Restaurants in Durham
Price range: $1 - $20
Cuisines: Sushi, Japanese
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Large groups, Bar scene, Business meetings
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Reservations
Portland, Oregon
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“You’d be pleasantly surprised”
Reviewed November 21, 2010

I was in Durham, NC on business in November 2010 and couldn’t find any restaurants near my hotel except for fast food joints. I looked up “Asian Restaurants” on my GPS and the device directed me to Shiki Sushi. I am glad it did.

Shiki Sushi is located on a rather drab shopping plaza with nail shops and other small businesses. At first glance I was disappointed, but I had no time to look for other places, so I decided to walk in. What a surprise! On the inside, the restaurant is pretty big, with contemporary feel. The first things you notice are the stone walls, wonderful decoration and modern furnishing. I was warmly greeted at the door and quickly seated.

The menu included much more than sushi – there were main courses from Thailand, China, Vietnam, Japan and other Asian countries. The sushi list included everything you can imagine – probably about 50 choices. A great selection of drinks was also offered. Although the place was pretty busy (near full), the server showed great attention to me and took my order in no time. I chose to sit at the sushi bar and I entertained myself by watching three Japanese sushi-chefs prepare the rolls. At the sushi bar, there were at least 7-8 junior chefs and helpers prepping food and helping the Master Chefs. The efficiency of the whole crew was amazing –they worked like we well oiled machine, and there was an order leaving the kitchen every 10 seconds.
On the wall behind the sushi bar are hanging two big screen TVs with sports on. I really enjoyed my time there watching the sushi preparation and couple of games at the same time.

My order arrived quickly and I was pleasantly surprised by the presentation. Well chosen plate, food arrangement and style worthy of the best Asian restaurants in the big city. The taste was excellent and the food fresh. Some places make sushi rolls way too big, almost impossible to put in your mouth. Other places make the rolls too small. Shiki Sushi’s rolls were just right with appropriate amount of everything.

The atmosphere in the restaurant was great – very pleasant music (not asian) on background, quick servers and great, great interiors.

I returned back to the same restaurant for lunch on the following day and again I was pleasantly surprised by the excellent service and high quality food.

For the local residents it is probably interesting to know that they offer punch card at lunch time – you get a free meal after 5 visits for lunch.
The menu prices were a little on the high side, but just right considering the quality food and everything else. Additionally, during both of my visits I was offered “buy-one-get-one-free” sushi rolls. I am not sure if they always have that promotion or it was just something temporary, but it is probably worth asking for this.

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    • Food
1 Thank PurpleRainWest
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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179 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Chapel Hill, NC
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“2 for 1 Sushi deal misleading!”
Reviewed June 4, 2010

Menu states: Buy one roll get the second free and they will charge for higher priced item. of the pair. One person ordered: 1 at $16.95, 2nd at 13.95; other person ordered 2 each at $9.95. When we got our check they charged $16.95 and $13.95 instead of $16.95 and $9.95. When we explained our understanding of the menu the waitress said "THAT'S THE WAY WE DO IT HERE!" The manager would not make any adjustment or be willing to split the check. Service was slow and curt. Atmosphere is noisy and crowded. Maybe good for the 30-something crowd but not those who care about caring customer service.

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2 Thank azrak45
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Juneau, AK
Level 6 Contributor
281 reviews
177 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 332 helpful votes
“With a little more effort, this good place could be REALLY good”
Reviewed April 20, 2010

Wife and I ate here during a four-day stay in Durham for a college reunion. We both love sushi and seeing as Shiki is the top-rated sushi spot in Durham, we felt obliged to try it.

I agree with a previous reviewer that this place could be mistaken for a sports bar. Shiki is the first sushi restaurant I've been to that has a concrete floor - it lacks the intimacy of most sushi bars.

That said, the quality of the food they produce is very good and one can easily look past concrete floors and the like. I had maguro, hamachi, salmon, ikura, and scallop - all were very tasty and fresh. The chef did not skimp on the salmon roe, either. Wife and I had rolls and they were also very good.

I was disappointed that Shiki did not offer uni. The explanation was that it's very expensive and has a short shelf life. Therefore, if it doesn't sell quickly, they end up taking a loss. That may be true but I was surprised that the best place in town didn't offer sea urchin. Nor did they offer quail eggs. I like them on top of salmon roe.

Their miso soup had a bit of a funny taste to it. The edamame, on the other hand, was among the best I have ever had - steamed to an al dente state and not to mush.

It was also $3 draft beer night so I indulged my taste for Kirin at a reduced rate.

I'd come back again if they stocked up on uni and izura.

Thank dave1013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Conway, South Carolina
Level 6 Contributor
401 reviews
278 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 141 helpful votes
“Great food - Commercial Atmosphere”
Reviewed March 15, 2010

The atmosphere is a bit "off-putting"... It looks like a sports bar.... and has the noise level to match but the food is a surprise... Fresh sushi... delicatly produced. Like some of the finest sushi restaruants that I have enoyed in the past.

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    • Atmosphere
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Thank ggcaiazzo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Durham NC
Level 6 Contributor
115 reviews
60 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
“Excellent sushi - amazingly insistent, blatant 2-for-1 ripoff!”
Reviewed February 21, 2010

Let's examine their grossly misleading 2 for 1 special, which has a condition of equal or lesser value of the items in your order. 2 for 1 is a widely known discounting standard which means you buy one item, you get one of the or lower price free. So let's say you buy two $3 items, two $4 items, and two $15 items. What should your bill for these items be?
a) $22 - the correct answer
b) $34 - what Shiki Sushi charges
Shiki Sushi takes your entire order, then comps the lowest items. In this case, they comped the $3 items and the $4 item, but left the $15 items and one $4 on the bill.
Sorry, that's not 2 for 1. This "math" is a consumer ripoff and should be reported to the consumer protection authorities at the NC Attorney General's Office. When we called the manager over, he just restated the policy, over and over - the worst customer service we've ever seen at a restaurant. Their food is quite good, no question, but they are deceiving their customers.

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    • Atmosphere
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4 Thank GeorgeSmart
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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