Okay admit it. It's easy to give AYCE joints a hard time. Think of it, with their quantity before quality stigma and the most obvious criticism of all - the food just ain't going to compare with a regular sit-down meal. Fair enough. Heck, I prescribe to that argument as well! However, I find it far too easy to jump on the negativity band-wagon as it is much easier to criticize than to hand out compliments. In fact, there are many more negative words in the dictionary than positive ones! Despite not being a huge fan of AYCE Japanese food, the lure of $1.00 per child with every paying adult at Kingsway Sushi couldn't be ignored. Since we hadn't been to the place in 4 years, we went in with an open mind.
Although I don't usually comment on Edamame because there is very little to talk about, I would like to mention that these were as hard as little pebbles. It was not easy for the kids to eat them. Furthermore, they were not seasoned in any fashion. The Spinach Gomae was okay with tender pieces (albeit big) of spinach dressed in the typical sweet sesame dressing. Viv didn't like the Kimchi because it was more salty than spicy. As for the Ebi Sunomono, it was also alright with a balanced sweet and tangy dressing with chewy noodles. And the Green Salad was well, a green salad with some ginger-carrot dressing. Moving onto the Sashimi, we had Sockeye Salmon, Tuna, Hokkigai, Makaeral and Geoduck. For an AYCE, we thought everything was decent with the right textures and fresh appearance. Of course the knife skills were not exactly neat, but whatever, we were not going to care about that here.
It was unfortunate that the Beef Short Ribs were stone cold because they were decently tender with some chewy parts. We liked how they weren't over-marinaded, hence we could still taste the meat. The thin slices of Black Cod were fine texturally, but the marinade was far too strong and overpowered the delicate flesh. They were also pretty cold. Hygienically-speaking, it was nice to see them use tart tins rather than re-using shells with the Oyster Motoyaki. The small pieces of oyster were fine while the sauce was more clumpy than creamy. The Fried Fish as actually quite good since it was served hot and crunchy. The flesh itself was moist and flaky. As much as it is billed as Fried Scallops on the menu, we all know that it was really fried pollack. Considering this, it was decent being hot and crispy.
Onto my son's favourite, the Ebi Tempura was less than impressive. The batter was laid on thicker than makeup on Christina Aguilera. Hence, it was doughy and not all that crispy. The fact it was on the lukewarm side didn't help matters. Furthermore, the shrimp was soft and lacking any texture. Something interesting on the menu was the "Sundaes". Of course, being curious, we got one each of the Lobster, Scallop and Shrimp. In reality, these were plain sushi rolls topped with various ingredients. Not sure why it qualified as a "sundae". Anyways, they weren't bad since there was a good topping-to-sushi rice ratio. The scallop with lychee was the best of the bunch.
Next up, the Beef Tataki was decent whereby the slices were thin and nicely raw with only small ring of sear. The dressing was tangy enough. I was surprised with the Popcorn Oysters as they were crunchy while moist inside. I didn't like the Fried Smelt though as it was cold and not crispy. The Chicken Karaage was plenty crunchy though, albeit a touch overdone. The only roll sushi that we ordered was the Cheezy Roll with processed cheese. Yah, I didn't really like that either. The rice was more like regular than sushi rice. We found the Gyozas acceptable with a thin crispy skin while the filling was a decent mix of pork and veggies. The Chicken Teriyaki was pretty typical to this type of AYCE, but the NY Steak Skewer was strange as the meat had been tenderized to the point it was bouncy rather than chewy. Lastly, we tried the desserts including once each Coconut, Mango and Baked Tapioca Pudding. Pretty standard stuff, but at least there was selection. In the end, this visit pretty much validates the quantity over quality argument. However, it was more than edible, so I'll give them that.
- Although not great, it's okay for AYCE
- Lots of choice
- Service was surprisingly decent
- Most hot items were lukewarm
- It won't be mistaken for real Japanese food