Montreal sushi buffets: Odaki versus Kanda (incumb.)
For some weird reason, I've been in the top ten Google hits when looking for "Odaki Sushi". Odaki is already an uncommon Japanese term (might even just be a typo from a real romaji). Anyways, there are not a lot of reviews on Odaki sushi, just people blogging about it within the Montreal-based blogosphere. My review is by no means a review. All I did was complain that the food wasn't good, and that while well-groomed, the staff was unexperienced, I haven't been back since then (January or February, I think).
To Kanda, either, since I heard rumours that they increased their price to something outrageous, like $30-something (which proved to be totally false - unless they backed off). Been yesterday, and it's as good as usual. However, paying $28 (taxes, tips, tea incl.) all-you-can-eat is only a few dollars shy away from a regular "high-class" sushi place. Kanda does offer sushi that, while un-original in flavours, is generally good. It used to feature a smoking section, where we were parked twice b/c the dining room was too busy, but that's a thing of the past with the new smoking law. Unlike Odaki, the side dishes are fully part of the buffet. At Odaki, at least when I went, one was limited to a certain number (ten?) of side-dish items (teriaki chicken/salmon, shrimp tempura...). Odaki had vegetable tempura, which Kanda doesn't have (but they added small fish, and squid), although they were not the eggplant or sweet potato you usually find, but weird stuff like from the frozen vegetable mix you get at Cosco (brocolli, cauliflower ... carrots? o_O).
Both places bear huge similarities. They are both run by Chinese, they charge $20 for the buffet from Sunday to Thursday, and have that trendy environment with the well-groomed staff. Among people questionned, Wee prefers Kanda, Tenzin prefers Odaki, and so do some people on the dragon boat team. I've really got to try Odaki again (although it will be b/c other people drag me to it), to decide whether I just had a single bad food experience.
(Are both the two only known sushi buffet in downtown, that I know of. I realized that the city keeps being bigger than I thought.)
(Edit - 2007/01/13 - Also, seeing that this is a fairly popular post, I shall point out that I've been back to Odaki in the Fall (and Kanda too). In the meanwhile, Kanda expanded to more locations in the Greater Montreal. Odaki's sushi is probably on par with Kanda's, but offered a lot more variety in the side dishes they had. If I remember well, the scheme was that at each round, you were limited to a number of side dish items, whatever they may be. Kanda is also feeling the competition, so I think, and expanded their selection of side dishes.
I think that sushi places shouldn't be chosen for their all-you-can-eat aspect, because the house will always win (and you can only stuff that much rice + fish into your stomach). Sometimes, I'd rather pay $5-10 more, just to enjoy eating, rather than try to insure that they don't make money off me. But in Montreal, sushi can't be as good as in Vancouver, for proximity to sea, or even Toronto, with the bigger Asian population, even if you include "authentic" places, the ones owned by Japanese. I use quotes, because I feel like it isn't because you're Japanese that you will absolutely make better sushi. "Authentic" probably means more of the traditional sushi types (which don't exist in Japan, anyways) and less of stuff originating from fusion cuisine (the Vietnamese rolls/sushi), and is a matter of taste. I am a purist, so I like the former; therefore, I prefer Isakaya, on Du Parc, say (where, ironically, I had ramen soup, on my last two visits).)
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