PSA: Asuka has a summer special: all-you-can-eat sushi for $19.95. It’s everyday before 9:30 PM. Go eat sushi! (They have had similar specials throughout the years, usually during the summer, but not always. -Erik, May 2014)
You will now be returned to your regularly scheduled review.
Tuesday, May 9th around 7 PM, and Wednesday, May 10th around 9 PM
The Place: Asuka Japanese Sushi & Steak House
MMMM…sushi!! We’ve been to Asuka several times and it is my favorte sushi in town. Since we had only been there for sushi before, this time we decided to try the teppanyaki, or as they call it, hibachi. Basically, teppanyaki/hibachi is where up to about 10 people sit around a big flat grill where the grill master (who usually doesn’t speak very good English) does some fancy stuff with knives and fire to prepare your food in front of you. I had seen this done before, and it can be quite spectacular, but had never actually eaten the food.
As soon as we got there we noticed the sign on the window that said something like announced their all-you-can-eat sushi special. I got so excited, and even tried to convince Erik that we should have sushi that night. He did not cave, but instead we decided to come back the next night for sushi with our friend, Neeraj.
In the front room there are both regular tables and are tatamis, which Erik just informed me are the mats that the Japanese use to sit on the floor, and they are often used to sit at short tables to eat. We have yet to sit at a tatami, but there are 3 or 4 of them (be warned that you have to take off your shoes to sit there). (The place has since been completely remodeled. I don’t think they have the tatami tables anymore. -Erik, May 2014)
Then the back room is full of hibachi tables. In both rooms there is a bunch of kitschy Japanese decoration on the walls, and of course there is the obligatory fish tank with a few koi and a turtle. Unfortunately the turtle didn’t really have a place to lie that was above the water, and so had to swim up to the top and tread water in order to get a good breath. I should’ve mentioned that to somebody who worked there…maybe next time.
For the hibachi, you basically choose your meat and they grill it for you. We decided to go all out and get the Sea & Land Combo for two, which included steak, chicken, shrimp, scallops, and salmon. It came with soup, house salad, vegetables, and steamed rice (or fried for $2 more, but we opted against that).
The salad, on the other hand, was pretty good. It was just some iceberg lettuce, onion, and cucumber, but it had a great orange oriental sauce that was quite yummy.
Then came the grill. You really need to see the pictures to get it. There were 5 other people at the table, and so all of our food was prepared together in front of us. I’ll describe the actual grilling in the next section.
First let me tell you, there was a LOT of food. We thought that we would get maybe half a serving of each meat, but we actually received pretty much a full serving of each dish. There was a mix of veggies, too, so we definitely had to take home leftovers. I’m a weirdo and eat almost all of my leftovers cold. I have to say that these were some of the best cold leftovers ever!
While there was a lot of food, unfortunately it all tasted the same. Individually they tasted good, but by the time I got to the 3rd meat covered in teriyaki sauce, I was sick of it. It was way too much of a mediocre thing. I probably could have eaten more if there was less sauce on everything.
Oh, I almost forgot the other sauces. There were 3 sauces that we were supposed to use to dip our food in: one I can’t remember (dang it, Erik doesn’t remember either), a spicy mustard sauce, and the third was a sauce that they just called “yummy yummy sauce” which was basically thousand island dressing. It was yummy, but in general I preferred my meal with out any of the sauces.
Then the next night we went for the sushi. We arrived around 9, and they said that the sushi bar closed at 9:30, even though on the sign outside said it closed at 10. So we hurried up and ordered. We were worried that Sushi buffet would mean that the sushi would be pre-made, but we were happily surprised to find out that we got to order anything off of a special menu, which was basically everything on the main menu minus some of the specialty rolls. I got some salmon and tuna nigiri (fish on wad of rice), and a California roll to start with. Erik got tuna, salmon, mackerel, red snapper, and a Nagasaki roll. Our friend Neeraj got an eel roll, a tempura roll, and a cucumber roll. I don’t think that he realized that you get 6 pieces in every roll.
Everything was great as usual. I love California rolls, and I think Asuka does it the best out of the 3 places I’ve been to in town (Mikado and Sushi Bar being the other 2)
Then for the second round we ordered a few new rolls to share: the Fantacy Dream and some other roll that I don’t remember. The 2 new rolls weren’t bad, but weren’t to our taste. One had roe on it, which feels really weird in the mouth and can get stuck in your teeth. mmm…fish eggs in your teeth. By that point we were all so full that we had to fight over who wouldn’t eat the last few pieces. We had to finish, though, because if you don’t you have to pay one dollar per item left on your plate. It was rough, but we didn’t have to pay for anything extra.
Over all I am glad that we went back for the sushi. Unfortunately we forgot to take any pictures during that trip. They tend to do a really good job on the presentation of the sushi, so I’m trying to convince Erik that we need to go back soon to get more sushi. I mean, come on – $20 all you can eat! I will definitely update if we do go back soon.
For hibachi, the lady who took our orders was very nice, although a bit hard to understand. We asked her what kind of soup we had received, and after her repeating herself three times, we gave up.
The grill master spoke even less English. He asked us how we wanted our steaks done, and it was almost like he was reading it phonetically off of a card. Maybe he was. He wasn’t fantastically fantastic on the grill, but he was still fun to watch. He started by setting the entire grill on fire (beware if you have long hair covered in Aquanet), and then proceeded to bounce an egg off of a spatula for the fried rice. Then came a huge platter of our food that he carefully arranged on the grill. He made a flaming volcano out of rings of onions and fancily sliced and diced the food. All of the food was cooked together, but then portioned out, mostly evenly.
The servers were all quite friendly, even on the next night for the sushi.
For hibachi it was quite expensive, but reasonable for the amount of food that we received. The Land & Sea combo for 2 people was $46.95, but like I said before, it was a lot of food.
The sushi is normal about $4 for a pair of nigiri, so we definitely got our money’s worth with the $20 all-you-can-eat.
I don’t know if I’d go back for the teppanyaki/hibachi. I guess if we had each just gotten, say, the chicken hibachi, it wouldn’t have been as expensive, it wouldn’t have been such a big deal it was drenched in sauce. But since we had 5 different meats, the sauce just made them all taste the same.
Sushi is great. I’d come back here everyday if it wasn’t so expensive. I guess I’ll have to settle for one a month, maybe more during their summer special.
How often would I go back?
For hibachi-every 6 months. For sushi-once a month (more if it was cheaper) (what’s this?)