A recent trip to Toronto came with some interesting discoveries,…
Sushi Feast Japanese Restaurant
561 Hespeler Road
Cambridge, Ontario N1R 6J4
Cost: Weekend and holiday AYCE $25.99 per person
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It’s like the late Yogi Berra might have put it: “It’s AYCE all over again.”
Well, I don’t think Yogi said all those things granted to him, so he probably would not have said this either. However, the man who won something like 14 World Series with the New York Yankees may well have been bored by all-you-can-eat sushi (AYCE).
This Cambridge location – someone told me it was worth a trip – gets slotted in that category: typical. Perhaps even boring. Actually, there is a brief bit of interest that keeps it from going flatline: the fetid fish pool in the one corner near the entrance. How is that any kind of attraction or amenity?
The menu is, of course, huge with a half-dozen salads and soups, two dozen appetizers, the same number of entrees, at least a dozen single-piece sushi selections (including butter fish), 20 or so handrolls, just under a dozen single-piece sashimi, about 30 maki, udon and some special rolls like Philadelphia and Spider that add up to about two dozen. There is even more on the menu than all that.
Is any of it terrible? No. Is any of it really interesting? Not really. Is it worth driving to the blight and mayhem of Hespeler Road? That’s unlikely – especially if you might be passing five or six other AYCE places (which you probably are) that are closer to you in order to do so.
So the food is typical AYCE; let’s leave it at that. What I find most curious about these places is, with only a few exceptions, how disengaged the staff seem to be, at least in the front-of-house. They just appear so unhappy. They don’t care, it seems, and sometimes they even seem slightly mad at you. They end up begrudging your being there; they, I believe, impede your ability to AYCE by denying your orders or messing them up.
Now, I’m not exactly sure what I once saw – and I don’t want to jump to any conclusions – but I watched a windowless white panel van screech to a halt (in a city here in our region) and disgorge about eight young women dressed in garb redolent of AYCE waitstaff; they then trudged into a sushi place where they evidently worked. I’m not sure what that was – and I’m hoping that there is a perfectly logical explanation for it. Maybe it was a one-off. I dunno, but it’s made me uncomfortable ever since when I see unhappy staff.
At Sushi Feast, I felt similarly uncomfortable. There was rarely a smile and only the merest and reluctant communication about the menu or the food. The fact that my tea mug was possessed of an overpowering smell of bleach wasn’t particularly appetizing, but at least it was something different.