More is good, but unlimited is better!
This mindset has led to a booming market for All-You-Can-Eat (AYCE) sushi restaurants. Afterall, what is better than stuffing yourself silly with sushi, right?!
Unfortunately, I have long outgrown the yearning for food comas after such AYCE dinners. If you too, prefer a less intense not-competition-for-who-can-eat-50-pieces-dragon-roll meal, I suggest Watami, Niko Niko, or Sakura Island. None of them are truly authentic or owned by Japanese, but they do offer higher quality and beautifully presented dishes. Worth a try.
Amongst the various AYCE, there is really minimal difference between price ($25/person for weekend dinner) and menu. Some may have crazier rolls than others, but thats about it. Hence, I have concluded that the real differential factor for determining which is the best AYCE will be service, and/or quality. Since AYCE targets greedy hungry customers, I assume that these customers would prefer mediocre food fast than quality food slow.
Has anyone else noticed that AYCE typically uses the same tableware? You can actually get those at Walmart! #justsayin
On the typical-AYCE Table for Maple:
If you are at a non-AYCE, I suggest skipping these as the tiny serving of salads are generally overpriced at $5.
Salmon sashimi is my favourite. I find that other raw fish at AYCE are usually too bland/low quality. If you hate raw fish, skip AYCE. You’ll never get your money’s worth by eating the other waaaay-toooo-filling stuff!
And yes, I am one of those people who can stomach 50 pieces of sashimi at one go.
Eel (Unagi) sushi. Y prefers his fish with some rice.
Other good options will be meat skewers and shrimp tempura.
We also enjoy the occasional spicy salmon roll. The only mayo acceptable in sushi should be spicy mayo! So weird but so good! Rainbow roll is a nice spin to the old school California, if you are feeling a little adventurous.
The Good, The Bad, and The Maybe
Sushi Stars is my go-to AYCE in KW. I have been to their sister restaurant in Hamilton, but definitely prefer the KW location. They also offer avocado milkshakes – definitely not Japanese, but creamily decadent and a must-try.
Sushi Boat, on the other hand, was a total disaster. They offered a half-price deal a couple weeks ago, and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to verify their reputation of terrible service and food. In retrospect, that was probably not a wise decision. Restaurants get constant bad reviews for a reason. Imagine Y’s reaction when I told him –
We’re going to Sushi Boat tonight! I heard that it is really terrible so I bought this coupon for 50% off! Wow, I am so excited to see how terrible they are!
Consistent with other reviews, the service was horrendous. We were there on a Friday night and waited for >30 minutes before we were served. Not only is slow service a taboo for AYCE restaurants, but highly unacceptable for one with less than five tables filled! Our server justified that it was due to another table ordering too much, and the chef had to finish all their orders before starting on any of ours.
I am not too sure how restaurants usually juggle orders from different tables, but I think staggering orders by alternating tables is probably a more viable option? You gotta keep everyone happy!
The unapologetic tasteless sashimi finally arrived after 40 minutes.
Failed California roll. Two pieces of crab meat and too much rice. Where’s my avocado?
Sigh, we gave up after our first round of orders and headed to MacD next door. **Update: Seems like Sushi Boat closed down? Need to verify that but bye Sushi Boat, I will not miss you.
A surprising place to go for AYCE sushi is actually Spring Rolls at Conestoga Mall. Y and I agreed that SR’s sashimi triumphs over numerous other AYCE in the region, perhaps due to their corporate size and ability to purchase fresher fish?
Their AYCE menu also includes Thai food and Dimsum. Triple the value, triple the confusion as to what to order.
Other AYCE in the region:
If you are at…
Sushi 99 – try their Mackerel sashimi. Busy place, good alternative if the line-up at Ben Thanh is too long and you are lazy to drive somewhere else for food.
O Yummy Sushi – they sometimes serve weird warm sushi, but some of my friends swear that this is the best place in town for AYCE. A hit-or-miss, but nice owner. He once allowed us greedy-folks-who-ordered-too-much to brownbag leftovers without extra charge!
Ye’s Sushi – uhm, whatcha doing there? I really wish they’ll stop expanding because they are seriously terrible.
Yummyaki – leave.
1) $$ – Typical price $25 for AYCE weekends, cheaper on weekdays
2) Usually crammed and loud atmosphere
3) Main characteristic of AYCE – should not have to wait long for food
4) Do not expect too much for quality, and try not to order too much to avoid a food coma
Maple’s Preference Ranking:
Not worth your money: