All-you-can-eat ecstasy, McSushi Blues
By ROD WONG
Blast San Francisco Bureau
300 Carlsbad Village Drive,
(located in the Wherehouse shopping center) off highway 78.
We stumbled onto this sushi treasure purely by accident. It's located in
the back corner on the second floor of a small shopping center. We stood
outside of Sushi Taisho for a couple of minutes trying to decide if the
advertised $19.95 all-you-can-eat sushi was just another sushi buffet
with little selection and brown colored nigiri, or if it was really as
advertised. Feeling the hunger pangs, we decided to give it a try.
Service was lousy for a restaurant that wasn't exactly brimming with
people. When we stepped in, we had to wait two minutes before we were
An alarm began to ring in my head as I scanned for the buffet, but I
couldn't find it. Before we sat down, my girlfriend inquired what all
you can eat meant and the waitress said, "Just select the items on the
menu. Take a seat at the sushi bar?"
We were puzzled. Did she mean, select the items on the menu and eat as
much as you want at the sushi bar?
My girlfriend continued the attack.
"Is the uni included?" she asked, as we sat down at the sushi bar. I
thought the answer would be a definite no and we would get up and walk
out, but the waitress pointed to the menu and, sure enough, uni was
We scanned the menu and started salivating: hamachi, unagi, salmon skin,
California roll, tuna, scallops, clam, gyoza, tempura, soft-shell crab,
and chicken/beef teriyaki.
And so we ordered all that we thought we could eat: three orders of uni,
three orders of hamachi, and an order each of unagi, California roll,
tuna, scallops, clams, gyoza, ocean roll and soft-shell crab.
The chef served us the hamachi first. The fish looked fresh and very
little rice was used in the preparation. I gobbled down a piece and was
impressed. We decided to mark a couple more items down on our order and
got an ocean roll and a snow crab roll. Next up was the gyoza, which was
steamed and not very good. Then the sushi started, and we were in sushi
All the sushi were prepared nicely and were exquisite. The only bad
choice was the white fish, which we added after we finished all the
sushi. It was not bad, but the chili sauce used for sushi is not really
to my liking.
The restaurant limits patrons to 90 minutes of eating and sitting time
-- and we barely beat the clock. But an hour and a half is the perfect
amount of time $19.95 for all you can eat made fresh at the sushi bar. I
left a large tip even though the service was bad. My green tea ran out
after the second plate of sushi came and was not refilled until we
flagged down the waitress.
388 Eastridge Mall #A-21,
Other locations include Puente Hills, Woodland Hills, Studio City, Beverly Center, Cerritos, Orange, Glendale, Arcadia, Montclair, and San Diego
2.5 star rating.
Todai is quickly becoming the sushi chain in California and chances are
you've either seen one or will see one soon.
I dined at the one located in San Jose (inside Eastridge mall) and was
quite impressed by the atmosphere and the service, but the sushi is
typical of buffet fare: decent if fresh, but not a lot to choose from.
Todai is billed as a seafood buffet, but the main draw is the sushi.
There are two sections (three if you count dessert), one of which is
salads/sushi/cold dishes and the other is hot seafood. I made a beeline
to the sushi first, since I was craving for unagi. Unfortunately, there
was no unagi. I did have the California rolls, which were good. I also
tried the tempura roll, which was basically a salmon roll with Tempura
batter. There was quite a selection of nigiri, but no hamachi, so I just
went with the salmon and tuna. The fish was pretty fresh.
I went to the hot seafood line for my second round but wasn't very
impressed with the choices. There was miso soup, which I expected since
it was a Japanese restaurant. But I didn't expect to see egg flower
soup. The miso soup was close to empty and the egg flower soup was still
nearly full. I grabbed some vegetable tempura, which I am now convinced
should be served straight from the deep fryer. Unless it's tempura udon,
I like my tempura crispy, but this stuff was soggy.
I thought about grabbing some lobster, but passed since I did not feel
like laboring for claw meat. Had it been lobster tail, it would be a
much different story. I did grab what was billed as scallops. It had the
scallop shell, but the filling was some strange concoction with no
scallops and quite a bit of cheese and mayonnaise. I also had the crab
bake, which was extremely greasy and not very tasty.
I decided to go for the dessert since I was starting to feel full and
didn't want to take more chances. The dessert selection was quite
interesting. There was fruit, Jell-O and some pastries. I had a little
bit of gelatin and a cream puff. For some reason, Jell-O and cream puffs
go well together. I was told that this Todai was not as good as the one
in San Diego. But I don't think I'd want to shell out $12 to go to this