My wife and I recently started to try out other sushi places than our regular one (Kiriko, that is) and try to find a place we like as much. Tonight we were hesitating between suzhi Zo and Sasabune. Both had good reviews as far as the food, but wedecided to give the latter one a try, mostly because of the huge amount of bad reviews toward the unfriendly service and rudeness at Zo.
We were aware of the ""no california rolls, tempura, or teriyaki"" policy, and we didn't mind so much. Actually, we kind of agree with that. Good sushi deserves respect, and it's kind of stupid for us to mix a good cut of fish with avocado, cream cheese, mayo, and what not. We like the real thing.
The sushi bar is omakase only, which we didn't mind, as it's our favorite way to discover a japanese restaurant. When we arrived and sat down, it was only a matter of seconds before we had our first plate. We didn't even have time to order drinks, and had to work hard in order to get the waitress's attention so that we could ask her for the sake list.
We soon felt like we were in a factory, more than a restaurant. Some kind of upscale fast ""quality"" food, which we didn't like so much. All the fish is already pre-cut, which for me is a big no-no. the sushi guys behind the bar just work in an assembly line, one guy molding the rice ball and sometimes (but not always) assembling the sushi, some other guy topping it with sauce or scallions and whatnot, another one tending to the ""grilled"" cuts. They were all very nice, but in a constant rush, and it felt like they couldn't really practice their art in good conditions. As SOON as we were done with a serving of sushi, the not-so-smily waitress would get the empty plates off the table, and we would be handed a new serving within the next 20 seconds. We couldn't even take the time to enjoy the after taste of each bite. Towards the end of the meal, we had to ask the sushi man for a break, just for the sake of being able to make conversation.I would have somehow understood if the restaurant was packed, but it was not.
Now, for the sushi itself : Don't get me wrong, every fish we tasted was of exceptionnal quality. Very fresh, melt in the mouth, all that you can expect for the price. BUT !!! I had not one (which could be almost forgivable), but TWO BITS OF BONE in my fish. Hey, that's what you get when you cut all the fish in advance ! I also got a bit of hard and crunchy stuff in my uni - probably a piece of shell ?
when we told the sushi man that we were full, we soon got handed the check, without even being asked if we wanted to look at the desserts menu (which looked really good, from what we saw at other tables).
We had about 10 piece each (can't remember exactly) and 3 big glasses of very decent sake, all for under $100 per person w/o tip.
To sum it all up, I think Sasabune has the good fish, but should REALLY work on taking care of their clients.
A simple smile and nice attitude from the waitresses would be a good start, as well as making their patrons feel more welcomed and not so much ""sit down, eat fast, here's your check now get out"".
I'm not the type of rude and obnoxious patron who's going to give a terrible review to a restaurant because he had to wait more than 5 minutes for a water refill, I'm usually quite tolerant and forgiving. But I must say that I had a mediocre experience at Sasabune.