All you can eat may be more than you can stomach
Article By: Colleen Johnson
Photo By: Ben Welland
It’s often been said that less is more, but in the case of Hokkaido’s all-you-can-eat sushi, more is less. With most all-you-can-eat (or AYCE) sushi joints, you go in with the understanding that you’re making a trade-off – the quality of the food is not as good as you would get in pricier sushi restaurants, but you get to eat as much of it as you want. Sometimes this trade-off goes too far and the food is of such poor quality that it doesn’t matter that there’s a lot of it since you don’t want any of it. This is the case with Hokkaido Sushi.
Hokkaido’s gotten a few things right. The Byward Market location is great and the decor is pleasant enough. The place looks clean and modern. There’s plenty of seating, with big comfortable booths for couples, and even a few tables for one by the window – ideal for a quick workday lunch. The service here is surprisingly good considering the restaurant’s AYCE format. Servers here are responsive and quick to refill your cup with hot brown rice tea.
Unfortunately, it all goes downhill once your food hits the table. The tempura here is oily and flat tasting. My date and I tried the sweet potato, the broccoli, the mushroom and the tuna tempura for good measure. None of them were especially good. The udon soup was easily the best of the things I’d ordered, but even that wasn’t quite right. The pork dumplings in the soup had been deep fried and then thrown into the salty broth, where their greasy exterior got quite soggy.
The barbequed eel donburi was unpleasantly fishy. The eggplant teriyaki was incredibly bland; it was nothing more than a whole, mushy eggplant that had been split down the middle and then drizzled with a sauce that could be seen but barely tasted. Perhaps the most disappointing of all was the sushi. None of the rolls were tight and some were beginning to fall apart on the plate. The spicy sushi rolls and the shrimp tempura rolls were as dull as the seaweed salad sushi was odd.
There’s far better sushi to be had in this city. For my money, I’ll satisfy future cravings for AYCE sushi somewhere else.
272 Dalhousie St.
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