After a decently successful all-you-can-eat sushi experience about a week ago, I decided to find another one in a reasonable price range to try out and landed on Hanabi Sushi & Rolls on the northwest corner of West Sahara Avenue and South Fort Apache Road.
For my appetizer, I got soft shell crab tempura. It didn’t have as much crab meat as I would’ve hoped, but I still thought it was decent because it wasn’t over-fried and the sauce had a nice flavor to it.
Next up was some oysters. These were probably the worst oysters I’ve ever had from a restaurant in my entire life.
They were completely drenched in an extremely strong mixture of soy sauce and vinegar, so much so that there was no oyster flavor left and it was just shrivelingly intense saltiness and piercingly intense sourness shooting into my sinuses as if I had just taken a pure shot of a repulsive concoction of liquid smelling salts. To compound the problem, the oysters were extremely gritty, so it tasted like I was just biting into sand while my nose was falling off.
My next plate consisted of three limited specialty nigiri options, two pieces each per person: bluefin tuna, sweet shrimp, and Hokkaido scallops. As you can see from the photograph, I was accidentally served salmon instead of scallop. Regardless of the error, all six pieces of nigiri had high-quality fish and tasted good.
Right afterwards, my baked green mussels arrived. This was also a bit heavy on the sauce, but nowhere near as much as the oysters—the mussels were actually edible, and I could tell that I was actually eating mussels.
Next to arrive was the rock and roll, a no-rice roll with assorted sashimi wrapped in cucumber.
The fish quality was good, and I appreciated that the sauce was served on the side for this one so I could control the portion. Rock and roll usually isn’t served with a special sauce, and I never really found out what exactly this particular sauce was, but I lightly dipped my roll pieces and it definitely enhanced the overall flavor.
As you might expect, I like to order dishes with more fish than rice to get better value for my money, so I got three miniature bowls of poke salad—salmon and octopus, as pictured below, as well as one with yellowtail, which isn’t pictured. The poke salads had a nice zest to them without overpowering the fish; the flying fish roe on top also added a nice touch.
Next were four pieces of yellowtail nigiri and four pieces of squid nigiri. Both of these were great.
The portion size of the yellowtail was large compared to the amount of rice in the nigiri, and the yellowtail had a very strong and fresh flavor.
The squid was probably some of the best I’ve had. It’s tricky to describe the texture of squid nigiri to someone who hasn’t had it. The exterior is a bit firm; once you bite into it, it retains just enough firmness that there is a small amount of resistance against your bite, but it is still soft and tender enough that it is easy to chew. When first putting it in your mouth, you almost feel like it’s about to pop, but when you bite down, it doesn’t fully surrender to your teeth and still maintains its form. That description is what I would consider being “squid-ey,” and the squid from this restaurant was very “squid-ey” in a great way.
My next plate had three more “one order per person” dishes: sea urchin, salmon roe, and sea trout. Again, as you can see from the photograph, there was another error in my order and I didn’t receive sea trout. I’m not actually even sure what I received, but it was extremely fishy and had a strong ocean taste. It wasn’t bad though, and it added a bit of flavor variety to my lunch because I usually don’t order dishes that are so aggressively ocean-ey.
Uni is my all-time favorite food, and this uni did not disappoint. The seaweed holding the uni and rice in the gunkan together was a bit stronger than usual in flavor, though it wasn’t so strong that it affected the ability of the uni flavor to shine through.
For dessert, I got some pineapple sorbet. The size of the scoop was generous, and it was fairly unremarkable—which to me, was a good thing. It was exactly what you’d expect from straightforward and good-quality pineapple sorbet without any oddities.
Similarly to the other all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant I went to a week ago, I showed up at an unusual time between lunch and dinner when it’s not that busy except for some delivery drivers showing up for pickup. I was the only customer in the restaurant throughout my entire meal, and consequently, I got great service.
|Dinner all-you-can-eat||$ 33.95|
|State and county sales tax (8.365%)||$ 2.84|
The table to the right shows how much I paid.
I went before regular dinner time started, but I still paid the dinner price for all-you-can-eat so I could order the premium items that aren’t available at the discounted lunch price.
I’m a fan of omakase and other “chef’s choice” experiences, and when I go to a sushi restaurant, I’m not too picky about choices and all I care about is eating great fish, so I didn’t mind the mistakes with regards to the wrong fish coming out on two occasions. However, they are still technically mistakes that should not have been made.
Excluding the oysters, I liked everything else, and this restaurant is definitely on my “recommend” list if you’re focusing more on nigiri. I noticed from some reviews online that people were dissatisfied at the pricing of this restaurant relative to its quality, but I disagree with them—I think their all-you-can-eat price is reasonable considering the ratio of fish to rice, the quality of the fish, and the available selection of premium fish options.