Tuesday, February 28, 2012

You get what you pay for - Azuma Sushi & Robata Bar

Lunch time.  Where to do?  Such ‘weighty’ decisions to be made each day.

Today, Groupon Now helped me make a choice! 

$20 for $40 worth of food at Azuma Sushi & Robata Bar. 

Checked out their menu online.  The appetizer menu looked so good:  cold soft tofu, grilled whole squid, pork belly - Berkshire pork belly, tofu skin, egg, shimeji mushrooms, Japanese mustard.  They had me at pork belly!  I still have my pork belly obsession after trying it at South City Kitchen in Atlanta. 

We wanted to try their robata (Japanese grill) dish, so we ordered the Combo 6 kinds ($16) with gesso squid, caledonia shrimp, pork belly, angus new york strip, shiitake mushroom, and shishito pepper.

An order of Crazy Irishman Roll ($12) of salmon, tuna, avocado, green soybean paper flash fried, spicy mayo, unagi sauce, green onions, and masago.

And one order of Azuma Beef ($17) – angus new york strip simmering in iron konro.

We must order at least of $40 worth of food!  Yes, we are on a ‘diet.’
The roll was the best dish we ordered, but even so, it was nowhere comparable to Kaneyama’s.  The wasabi had no kick.  At all.  I ate the raw wasabi and nothing, no pungent, no tingling, just like green flour paste.  Yuck! 

On the robata, I liked the grilled squid the most.  It was crunchy with just a bit of chew, neutral flavor.  Everything else was so mediocre.  The beef was tough and chewy.  But most disappointing was the pork belly. Berkshire pork is known for its flavor and tenderness due to its high fat content.  These pork pieces were so lean and dry and flavorless and had no fat on it whatsoever.  I wondered where the ‘belly’ went.

The Azuma beef was again, tough, chewy with a sweet teriyaki flavor.  It’s the worse dish of the meal.

For $17, it tasted worse than any dish on Fufu Cafe‘s $5.50 lunch special.  However, unlike Fufu Café, I hope Azuma wouldn’t serve you a dish that they had mistakenly served to another table, let it get cold for 10 minutes, fetched it and tried to serve it to you. When you told them that you wouldn’t eat something that’s been sitting at someone else’s table for 10 minutes, they brought the dish to the back of the restaurant, (spit on it for all you know), brought it back out 30 seconds later, and tried to sell you that it was a new dish, which normally took 20 minutes to steam.  Like you would be so stupid not to notice the same dumplings with the same soy sauce stain at the exact same spot on the dish. 

While you were disgusted with their tactic, you wouldn’t want to be such a cheapskate making a scene for a $4.50 dish.  Principles be damn, so you went ahead and forked up the money to pay for it.  What’s more, you wouldn’t even dare stiffing them on their tip because the next time you came there, there might be spittle in your food.  And yes, you would go there again because you just couldn’t beat a $5.50 lunch for such awesome greasy artery-clogging food.

But I digressed.

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