Wednesday, 20 November 2013

168 Sushi Japan Buffet is not actually a Buffet

To really enjoy yourself at 168 Sushi Japan Buffet you must let go of your usual restaurant expectations. Like having one attentive server who looks after your table. Or where you pick a single meal off a menu. Or where shoveling food into your face as fast as possible is considered uncouth.

As my title says, this place isn't a buffet, rather it's an all-you-can-eat deal for a flat rate (23 dollars for dinner at the time of writing). The price includes as many dishes, carbonated drinks and desserts as you think you can finish.  Alcoholic beverages are available for purchase.

You order by choosing items off of a picture menu (you may have to request one if it isn't stuck in an office-style inbox at your table) and marking the quantity of each dish you want on a form:

There's a nice balance of sushi/sashimi with other types of meat and noodle dishes (terkyaki, udon, spicy beef, etc). Members of our party who do not eat sushi came away satisfied with the spicy chicken:

Once you've filled out your order form, one of the interchangeable staff will swoop it up and your dishes will begin to appear in random order.  Other posters do better justice to rating the sushi, suffice it to say it ranges from sublime to slightly disappointing. Better than mall sushi or Loblaws sushi.

After placing your first order, your challenge becomes the timing and quantity your second (third, forth...) order. How many dishes do I still have coming? How much more can I eat?  When do I need to submit my form to avoid any gaps in the conveyor belt of food entering my belly?

I can't end this post without sharing a rumour I overhead in the ladies room during my last visit. Apparently 168 Sushi hired a washed-up set designer best known for getting fired from Lexx to style their interior. I think they got it right. Lots of mirrors and faux-modern light, almost like a trip to Japan, if by Japan you mean Ricky Schroder's Bar Mitzvah hall.

And yes (exaggerated eyeroll) the sticky floors are intentional. I'm embarrassed for you that you had to ask. There might have been a fountain too, I was too busy guarding the number they gave to our party on a mini-post it that I forgot to really absorb and fully appreciate the ambiance when we came in. Let me just say that this wall art would somehow have worked:

Bottom line: good value for money, good variety, good place for groups (even if some don't eat sushi), entertaining experience.  The fine people of Ottawa seem to enjoy it too:

168 Sushi Japan Buffet on Urbanspoon

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