We went as a family of three to XS before a show at the Lyric. Arriving around 6pm on a Saturday night, there were plenty of seats available on the upper levels. Luckily, I had read-up on XS and knew to just walk on in and seat ourselves. I can see how someone expecting a traditional host/hostess would be confused arriving at the door, seeing what appears to be a dessert counter and bar, with no host or signage about what to do, though. A simple sign would help. The menu is extensive: all day breakfast (omelettes, waffles, breakfast sandwiches, pancakes), sandwiches (panini, burgers), pan-Asian and sushi. Pretty unique!
The restaurant is laid out on four levels, each open to the one above and below. I can see that once the DJ gets going on the 4th level in later hours it might get noisy. For us, between 6 - 8pm, it was fine and at a conversational tone. Not sure when the DJ shows, but it is after 8pm at least on a Saturday.
We arrived on the 4th level - cozy and calm - picked a seat and were immediately attended to by our server, Zoey. She was friendly, attentive and prompt throughout. A second server also checked a few minutes later to make sure we had our drink order taken. I read a lot about inconsistent service; it seems to me that may have taken some steps to correct that. These two servers handled the 10 or so tables on Level 4 and did it well.
We ordered apps - steamed pork and wasabi dumplings, and spring rolls. The dumplings were delicious, but had cooled a bit traveling up several flights of stairs. Still good. The spring rolls, according to my wife, were delicious, among the best she ever had. For a main course, I ordered chef's choice sashimi and a dragon role. The dragon roll was excellent, though a little less spicy than I am used to. The sushi was very good, appeared fresh. The preparation was not as perfect as I would expect in NY or SF, but still just fine. My wife got several rolls and tamago. All was very good and prepared well. Our tween daughter loved the tamago. Our daughter got a Belgian waffle with vanilla mousse. Sadly, it took quite a while for it to come out - our sushi was delivered probably 12 - 15 minutes prior to the waffle. I'm guessing they had to make some fresh mousse. That said, our server apologized, and kept us informed every few minutes, so there was no service issue, just a kitchen hold-up. When it came, it was prepared perfectly and was a generous size. So, a minor issue in the end. We didn't stay for dessert. but there appeared to be a number of good options.
The check was delivered promptly on request, and settled quickly. Prices were surprisingly reasonable. All-in-all, a very good experience with only one kitchen-caused minor issue. 3.5 - 4 stars.
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