Bar Chi Sushi disappoints with lackluster menu, service

April 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

Reduced price appetizers, drinks, maki rolls, and sushi
Mon – Wed 3-7pm
Thurs-Sat 3-7pm, 10-12am
All day Sunday

Bar Chi's lychee martini is very strong for a seemingly fruity drink. | Photo by TPham

Today I went to Bar Chi Sushi’s all-day Sunday happy hour with relatively high hopes; after all, it is ranked number one on Yelp’s Austin Happy Hours. To my disappointment, it did not hold up to my expectations.

Located near Second Street and Colorado, my girlfriends and I decided to go there for dinner only to find that it was almost impossible to find parking and since there was no valet, we simply parked in a nearby parking lot, which cost $7.

Right off the bat, the hostess told us the wait was 10-15 minutes; however, as time passed, it seemed that he had forgotten about us because there were several empty tables. Once we reminded him again, he promptly sat us down in the indoor seating area, which I thought was very nice.

The happy hour menu was a decent size—there were about 7 items per list of sushi, maki rolls, drinks, and appetizers. We wanted to try the agedashi tofu for the appetizer, but the waitress told us that they were out. We opted for the gyoza, which were dumplings, edamame and fried calamari; each dish ranged from $3-4.50. I then got the Austin and spicy tuna maki rolls, which were $4 and $4.50, respectively. The delicious gyoza had about 6 dumplings, and we liked  them so much that we ordered another one. The edamame was heavy on salt, but the fried calamari was really tasty. I found both maki rolls to be mediocre—the spicy tuna wasn’t as fresh as I wanted it to be and the Austin roll was a little bland even though there was spicy tuna on it.

The interior of Bar Chi. | Photo by TPham

We ordered an apple martini, lychee martini and a cosmopolitan, which were $4 each. They were all very strong, especially the lychee martini. The sake bombs, which were $1.50, oddly came in plastic cups.

Halfway through our meal, someone from a nearby table broke a glass on the ground, but no employees cleaned it up until about 5-10 minutes later. I found this completely unacceptable.  Our water was never refilled (we had to ask someone to do it every time), the sushi was mediocre, the drinks were okay—I really wanted to like this place, but I actually give Bar Chi a thumbs down.

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Sushi Zushi: happy hour for those with larger wallets

April 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

Fifth Street Commons (West Fifth); at the Domain

Mon-Fri 3-7pm
Draft beer $3
Hot sake $3
Wine and signature cocktails $5
Appetizers, comfort food and sushi rolls $2-$6

Cucumber saketini

I absolutely am the biggest sushi fan, but ever since I’ve been in college, I’ve had to drastically cut down because it’s so expensive. I’ve been dying to try a new sushi place for happy hour since Kyoto’s on Congress closed. A friend and I went to the Sushi Zushi location on West Fifth, near mopac, around 6:30. The décor was very modern and clean, and there was no wait. We found street parking right in front, but there is ample parking in the garage and behind the building.

The first thing you’ll notice when you sit down is how HUGE the regular menu is. Literally, it’s a 20”x16” sheet of paper covered with dishes in teeny-tiny font. It’s incredibly overwhelming. Lucky for us frugal drinkers, the happy hour menu is a fraction of the size.

I come to sushi happy hour more for the rolls than the drinks, primarily because I don’t really think anything alcohol-based complements sushi very

Spicy Tuna Roll, Key West Roll

well. However, on the suggestion of the waiter, who was very nice, my friend ordered a cucumber saketini and I had a blackberry smash. These drinks are almost a little too fancy for their own good—they’re very visually appealing, but don’t plan on getting a buzz with these. It might get pricey if you’re looking to get a buzz off of these drinks. The cucumber martini, which is the resturant’s most popular cocktail, tastes incredibly refreshingly and a little healthy. My blackberry tasted like carbonated fruit juice with a drop of liquor.

Blackberry Smash

Sushi Zushi’s happy hour menu is nowhere online, but includes several basic rolls, California, Philadelphia, and some of their appetizers. As an appetizer, I decided to try the Crawfish Dynamite which is baked crawfish served with masago caviar and spicy mayo. I found it to be tasty, but there was a lot of grease and the mayo overpowered the masago and caviar. For a $5 dish appetizer, it was very small, possibly meant for 1-2 people. We also tried the Key West Roll, which had shrimp tempura in it and it was mediocre. I probably won’t get it again if I go back. We also tried the spicy tuna roll, which I found to be much better than the Key West.

My friend and I decided to split a spicy octopus roll, which is not on the happy hour menu, and it was AMAZING. Incredibly simple with a focus on the octopus’s texture and the spicy mayo in it really brought out some good flavors. We wished it was on the HH menu.

This isn’t the cheapest of places, but it’s a good deal for sushi, which is always pricey. Next time, I want to get the cucumber saketini, the octopus roll, and the spicy salmon roll.

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