My husband and I had a rare moment last night – we went on a date in the city, complete with babysitter, a free advance movie screening, inexpensive parking, and a late-night dinner. Being that it was a “school night”, we opted for something fast and relatively inexpensive: sushi. Unwilling to experiment with someplace new, having hubby in tow and all, I decided to re-visit Asahi Sushi, a sushi spot that I reviewed four months ago. You can check out that review here.
My second look at Asahi Sushi actually had a little more premeditation than I casually just described. The other night, I had a conversation with a friend of mine about repeat reviews, and the scarcity of them. With so many products, places, and restaurants, who has the time to do repeats? I certainly don’t. However, last night I reconsidered my position and decided to redeem myself on the re-review front.
Cutting to the chase.
Unfortunately, I was disappointed on my second visit to Asahi. Initially excited about the feast, my taste bud hopes were deflated after the first bite of my shrimp tempura sushi, a staple for me on any sushi outing. The lightly battered indulgence that wooed my on my first visit was substituted by a heavy slightly gummy impostor. I quickly glanced around for the powder sugar as my roll was more of a shrimp-filled funnel cake more than anything else. When I quietly complained to my husband “oh wow, this batter is way too thick”, he attempted to silence me by replying that I was being picky. “Umm, no dear. I was here before and it didn’t taste like this.”
Restaurants have the pressure of attracting new customers and creating a following of loyal ones. The recipe for this achievement is quality food and consistency. Asahi Sushi missed the mark this time around on the latter point for me. To their credit, the shrimp shumai was tasty although the accompanying sauce was a little thick. Their Maryland crab roll was as delicious as it was on my first visit.
Every customer’s experience matters.
In addition, I wasn’t impressed by the “attentiveness” of the sushi chef and this may just be my biggest point of contention. On my previous visit, the owner, J.C., prepared our rolls. On this visit, his accompanying chef (whose name I do not know) was our preparer. Neither he nor J.C. followed up to ask us how our rolls were. Had they asked (even to my husband’s dismay), I certainly would have told them. As a matter of fact, the waiter didn’t even ask how our dinner was and this is not service that I am accustomed to in restaurants. It reeks of arrogance when you don’t inquire about my dining experience and it doesn’t make me feel like a valued customer. That oversight is a determining factor in my decision making process to patronize a restaurant again.
On my first visit, after sharing my business card, I was asked about my dinner. I had no intentions of re-introducing myself as the evening was meant to be a casual dinner, non work-related. (Then I had to think to myself – when I go out, when is it ever not work related?) But it shouldn’t matter if I’m a travel writer/blogger or not, pen ready or ink-free, every experience matters.
There are just too many fish in the sea – pun intended.
As we were leaving the restaurant, I glanced over at the deep fryer to take a peek at the tempura batter. Lo and behold, it didn’t have that watery consistency that I’m accustomed to seeing in tempura batters but resembled more of a fritter consistency. I smiled to myself. I may not be a sushi expert yet, but I’m learning. And one thing that I do know, and I know it very well, is how shrimp tempura should taste and feel. And since shrimp fritter roll was not what I ordered, Asahi Sushi gets a thumbs down from me on this one.
** Photo courtesy of Asahi Sushi.