Where to begin? First, I have been to this Tucson restaurant in the shopping plaza on the corner of Alvernon and Broadway a half dozen times are more – but most of those visits came soon after they opened – I want to say, around January 2012. Initially I was tremendously impressed. The first three or four experiences were of the kind you tell your friends, colleagues and neighbors about. The quality and value were excellence, and the service top-notch. Yet, after the last two outings, I would not send an enemy there. I am not a cruel person.
A quick is the best way to enumerate the issues:
Untrained wait staff. My waiter was dazed and confused. It was if the called this young man in off the street five minutes before he “served” me. He was courteous, to a point. But he hovered and then disappeared. You know the type. Does not know what to do, so it’s either hanging out so close he might as well sit down with you or he is long gone.
He got the drink order wrong. I pointed to the picture of the bottle of cold Saki I wanted and he brought a steaming carafe of hot Saki.
He left the table to get the (wrong) drink without taking the Sushi menu check sheet to give to the chef, and there it sat until he got the drink order correct - wasting ten minutes or so.
He also seemed to want to debate the drink order initially, as if I had somehow ordered wrong. Unbelievable.
Not to be deterred in his quest to ruin the experience, he next brought the wrong sushi order – not someone else’s, just the wrong order. How do you get an order written by the guest wrong? He brought salmon ROE, not salmon roll. So, he must have read it to the chef and either he or the chef heard that wrong.
Now for the food itself. OMG. Again a list:
The rice? Rubber packing crate pellets. I was amazed. How does anyone, much less a “sushi chef” cook rice this bad? It was stale, is my guess – like cooked last week.
The nigiri-sushi - if the fish had been cut any thinner they could have just painted the rice pink (I had salmon – sort of). And, this was salmon well on its way to being salmon jerky. I could not believe it. Half way through (yes, I ate it, I was famished after missing lunch), I thought, oh oh, I may get sick from eating this. And, each one of the pieces individual pieces were so small, I could cover it with the sushi order pencil! I am not exaggerating.
Everything is small. Salmon roll? Four pieces, each of which you can cover with your thumb. The avocado in the avocado roll was O L D. Think guacamole stuffed in rice. Indeed I am surprised I did not get sick. Give it some time, maybe.
So, I asked to see the manager and the feckless waiter asked me why. “Please just get the manager, “I said. Another young man – teens, early twenties comes over (his name is Tom) and aggressively goes into his “Is there something wrong” routine with lots of attitude. I stop him from taking that road and we end up having a pleasant exchange laced with lots of apologies and excuses.
Tom’s bottom line was they are specializing in Korean BBQ and letting the Sushi go as a focus of the restaurant. He also through the sushi-maker (he’s no chef, for sure) under the bus saying he is not so good.
Anyway, Tom took five bucks off the bill for the sake and urged me to come back and try, not the sushi, but the Korean BBQ. He basically admitted the sushi was poor. But, as I told Tom, the BBQ is just a customer going to the raw meat bar and picking out some things to throw on the individual table grills. How hard is that? So, this is a cook it yourself place that cannot make sushi.
Oh, I almost forgot – they advertise this as an all you can eat sushi place, which is no longer the case. “All-you-can-eat” is part of the name of Azian!
Bottom line? This was a disaster of a meal. It will be interesting if, the next time we are in Tucson, Azian is still open.
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