I am writing this because Jimmy is a great guy, his fish and sushi bar recipes are as good as anyone's and I hope some well intended criticism will be of some help.
I have eaten at Jimmy's a dozen or more times over the last couple of years. I keep going back for the food. If the experience were just Jimmy and his sashimi I would have eaten there even more often.
* Jimmy is a superb sushi / sashimi chef...period.
* His personality is warm and genuine; one can be confident he truly cares about every dish he serves (that can't be said about food served he is not personally preparing - see below).
* The fish is exceptional...he only buys small quantities of the freshest fish available.
* His prices are fair...he pays a premium for the quality of his fish and doesn't pass the additional expense on to his customers.
* The sauce recipes are wonderful. He makes each of them from scratch in house. His creativity and attention to detail is obvious here as well.
* I don't know how he does it and it may seem like a small thing...the rice is incredible
* There are some good points (more on this below) to the ambiance...some unique touches that shouldn't go overlooked
What's wrong? I hate to say this because Jimmy is a great guy...everything else is wrong:
*I will never completely understand why he hires such incompetent waitstaff. Over the years I have seen the young ones spending more time on their phones or flirting with each other than taking care of customers. On other nights it will be one of the terribly arrogant, unaware and condescending waiters he has had on the floor...the kind who start counting the tips before they clean a table. I should say that there was one gentleman (clearly not one of the regular crew) there at Christmas who we happened to meet twice...his attitude, sense of humor and professionalism made dining at Jimmy's an entirely different experience.
* Food can take seemingly forever (if it's not outright forgotten) to get to the table and then when it does it will often come out of order.
* The food that comers from the kitchen needs some real help. If it were even close to as good as it sounds in the menu's description or looks it would score many more points. Taste and appearance are plain none existent, very inconsistent, and thoroughly disappointing.
* Cleanliness isn't a priority. Little things like soy sauce stained menus, left over sauce and bits of food on the tables, floors that need attention throughout the night, unfortunately I could go on.
* A dining experience is a sum of the parts...Jimmy's apparently doesn't worry too much about the little things, e.g.: burnt out light bulbs in the bathroom, drab paint on the walls, presentation of the kitchen food; again, unfriendly / preoccupied waitstaff...I hate to say this list could continue at length and all these parts lead up to a less than enjoyable occasion.
With so many sushi restaurants in Anchorage who do get the little things right, Jimmy may want to step back and look at what can be done to really impress customers. If he and his food could carry the entire load over the rough spots, folks lining up out the door. As it is, I hope he has plenty of customers who really care about him, only need great fish, and will overlook the shortcomings.
Best of luck Jimmy. I hope this helps and will be eating with you at your restaurant for many years to come.
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