Sunday, July 28, 2013

I'm undecided on Koi Sushi

Koi LaSalle
Koi Kingsville
My wife and I really dig Sushi, which is odd to me as I generally don't like any fish besides tuna. That's besides the point though. Pretty much every time I post or talk about eating Sushi someone mentions that we should try Koi Sushi. We finally got around to doing just that, twice, and I'm not sure exactly how I feel about it.

Koi Sushi has two locations locally, neither of which are actually in Windsor. Their first and main location is in Kingsville and their secondary location is out in LaSalle. We tried the LaSalle location first and got to experience one of my biggest restaurant pet peeves: closing early. We showed up at 9:10pm for dinner one night and were turned away due to them being closed. Double checking the hours on the door it said they closed at 10:00pm. Now I sorta get closing up 15 minutes early or even closing down the kitchen half an hour before close and, in these cases, I think you should just set your posted hours to show what time you stop serving so you don't piss people like me off. But closing 50 minutes early, that's too much! It was months before we even considered going back but we eventually did.

Negimaki appetizer
We went nice and early the second try. The place looked great, good atmosphere, clean, lots of room. One of the things we noticed was lots of kids. That's a good sign. Our waitress was very attentive and full of information. We pointed out it was our first time and asked for some recommendations. They strongly suggested the $20 all you can eat dinner. This I found odd, as nothing on their website said this was an all you can eat Sushi place. Since the selection on the all you can eat menu was way smaller than the regular menu we decided on a la Carte. The food came quick enough and looked rather good. We got the following rolls: Firecracker, Koi, Beef Crunch and Crispy Crunch. I apologize for the sub par pictures but all I had on me was my iPod touch.

Normally I really love tempura on and in my sushi. I love the crunchiness. What was really unique here is that instead of tempura they had potato crisps. This was a really odd unique taste. We also got a beef Negimake appetizer which while good wasn't nearly as good as the Beef roll we got. 

Our four rolls at Koi LaSalle
Overall the sushi was good. It wasn't the best we have had but it was no where near the worst. It was pretty far on the fusion style with lots of hot rolls, deep fried items and western toppings like the potatoe. I would say for traditional Sushi it was below my expected average but if I was getting all you can eat it would have beat my expectations. As a nice final touch they gave us a coupon for 20% off for trying the place and to encourage us to come back. 

There was one final piss off though. No debit. This one ranks up there with closing early for me. It's 2013 people, get a debit machine. No the ATM at the front will not do, especially since you are going to make an extra buck or two off me for using it. Yes that's right no Debit but an ATM with a $1.75 stupidity fee. That is just not acceptable to me and left both my wife and I with a rather bad taste for Koi right when we are leaving. Not the final experience you want to leave your guests with.

So a few weeks went by and we plan a weekend date night. We decide to head out to Kingsville for this but decide we don't want to hit Jack's Gastropub for dinner, though we do want to head there after for a few craft beers. Now when we heard that Koi was great it was always in reference to the Kingsville location and not the LaSalle one. So we figured we would give it a shot. We should have just ate at Jack's.

Three of the rolls at Koi Kingsville

The Kingsville Koi was very similar to the LaSalle one in many ways but did have some differences. The place looked very modern and there was very loud techno/dance music playing. The menu was somewhat different. They also offered $20 all you can eat sushi, which my wife and I debated getting for a long time. Eventually though we decided to go a la carte again as there were some rolls that sounded really good that weren't on the other menu. The chairs were hard and uncomfortable and it took over half an hour for them to take our order, we listened to loud annoying Techno while waiting. 

For this trip to Koi we decided to try the following rolls: Slater, Samurai, Rainbow and Volcano, Vampire and Dragon rolls. No appetizer this time around as the rolls were the best part about our LaSalle trip. We also ordered Green Tea and were surprised when we were served hot water and two cups with tea bags in them. Come on, I'm at a sushi place and you don't brew the tea for me? There was one thing that made me really happy, the potato thing seemed to be a LaSalle thing, there was lots on the menu with actual tempura. 

The food took forever but looked great. Thankfully I even remembered my camera this time around. Again the food tasted rather good. The Samurai roll in particular was great. The Volcano roll was one of the most unique rolls I've ever seen and tasted good. Their Rainbow roll was the best of the bunch. I wasn't that big a fan of the Slater roll as I found it fishy but my Wife loved it. Man those chairs sucked though and now the techno has lyrics. Did you notice something? How many rolls I just described? How does that compare to the number we actually ordered? Right, they forgot a roll. 

The very cool looking Volcano Roll
So after waiting far too long for someone to check in to see how our meal was, we pointed out our missing Vampire Roll. A waitress apologized and said she would get right on it. Not our waitress mind you, as far as I can tell she went home or something as I never saw her again. 10 minute later we asked again, and were told it would be just a moment. My wife who was facing the sushi bar saw our roll get made and then get delivered to a table that was eating all you can eat. The manager was out on the floor asking people how their meals were (actually rather good to see), when he came to our table we noted that we had now been waiting 25 minutes for a roll they forgot to serve us. He said he would fix it right away, 10 minutes or so later we finally had our Vampire roll. OMG garlic. It was good but not so good eating three pieces in a row. Would have been better if we were eating it mixed with everything else, if it had come with the rest of our meal.

So we finished up and had to ask for our bill. I hate having to ask for a bill. It came, and then my wife and I had a flashback to LaSalle. Sure enough there was an ATM by the door. Seriously people, don't do this! 

The Vampire roll we waited for
Back to the bill; I'm one of those people who just takes a bill, reads the total on the bottom does some quick math to figure out a tip and then pays. Thankfully my wife is one of those people who actually read the things before paying. I say thankfully because this is when we realize we didn't get our Dragon roll either. Wow, seriously, two rolls missed? There is no way in hell we are wasting another half hour or more here waiting for one more roll. We note this to the manager, he fixes the bill and apologizes. On a good move: he gives offers us free desert. We turn this down, at this point all we wanted was to get out of here and head over to Jack's for those beers. The manger was cool enough to toss us a 25% off coupon to encourage us to go back. 

So yeah, overall we did not have the best experience at Koi Sushi. The experience in LaSalle was fine and the food was good but not great. The experience in Kingsville was pretty horrible but the sushi was actually significantly better than LaSalle. I really have mixed feelings about the chain. For a special night out to have sushi I think I will pass and instead hit up somewhere like The Sushi California (that I just featured in my latest #FoodPornFriday post). I may consider going to either location for all you can eat sometime, since we do have two coupons we could use. I do worry that they won't get our order right though.

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