Yesterday, a couple friends and I checked out a new Japanese restaurant in town. From browsing Kokai’s* website a few days before visiting — I always scope out a place before I go — I was pretty excited because the restaurant’s ambiance seemed modern and the menu featured some pretty tasty sushi and entree choices.
Well, one out of two isn’t bad, right? Heh. Well, maybe not if that one wasn’t the food! The restaurant’s size was plenty large for a Japanese joint, with a sushi counter and different types of available seating (e.g., booth, tables), but that’s where the compliments end…
Here’s what went wrong:
- The menu didn’t show any prices, so I had to look up the prices on my phone. Who wants to do that when they’re already starving?!
- When we were ready to order , the waitress asked if we spoke Spanish. Um, hello?! First of all, we’re in a Japanese restaurant… and not only can’t you not speak Japanese but you also can’t speak English?! #onlyinmiami Obviously, what ensued was confusion with our orders that required another waitress to get involved.
- We were told the food would take a while to prepare, but we didn’t realize “a while” meant 45+ minutes after we ordered it. The sad part was that our order only included salad, half a basic sushi roll, chicken skewers, and some fried rice. How can that possibly take 45 minutes to cook? Especially in a restaurant was hardly even 1/3 full! Since I had a couple work meetings starting at 2:00p, I basically had to dine, box, and dash… but mostly box and dash, which left me starving after my meetings were over.
- The pen to sign the checks also didn’t work, so I had to get up and go to the counter to ask for another one because there were no waitresses to be seen in the dining area.
Anyhoo, at least let me tell you what I ordered… the Chicken Teriyaki Bento Box. Two teriyaki chicken skewers, yakimeshi (fried rice) or yakisoba (fried noodle), and half a kani roll (think California roll with only imitation crab), along with a side of soup or salad.
The bento box itself presented well — it looks nice, right? — but supremely disappointed my taste buds, especially after that 45+ minute wait! All I have to say about it is that it — well, all of it except the sushi — was overly salty.
The ginger dressing atop the salad — which by the way, I asked for on the side — was way too salty and there was also way too much of it in proportion to the veggies. The veggies themselves were more like a instead of a salad because I got an extra helping of cabbage instead of lettuce.
The fried rice was also way too salty. I ended up mixing my leftovers with brown rice and white rice for dinner after I got home from work, and only then was the mixture an acceptable amount of salty!
The sauce on the chicken skewers was also too salty. But without the sauce, the chicken would’ve otherwise been bland… and oh so dry! It even taste burnt… and I could see little specs of black on the meat from the grill. Those can’t be good for my health, can they?! Ick and ugh.
The kani rolls weren’t too salty, thank goodness, but they had cream cheese in them… which was… interesting. I’m not generally a fan of cream cheese in my sushi, but usually, the cream cheese is in one location and I can pick it out. In this case, it seemed like the cream cheese was mixed in quite thoroughly with the rice, so I couldn’t do that. I’ve never had sushi like that before, and since I’m generally up for trying new things, that might’ve (sadly) been the highlight of my meal. If you can even call it that. I suppose the roe was a nice touch too… *shrug*
Overall, Kokai is probably one of the worst Japanese restaurants I’ve ever eaten at, so it gets a definite “no” from me. Why go here when I can get better food (and) at a better price at other local sushi restaurants like Sushi Sake? All I have to say… goodbye, Kokai!
9036 NW 25th St
Doral, FL 33172