At 15 Charles Street East sits All-You-Can-Eat Sushi joint Masa. Everyone loves alliteration. It’s catchy, sometimes borderline annoying but eye catching in a headline nevertheless (who doesn’t like phonetic repetition it’s like harmony to our ears!) If I were a food writer and putting this restaurant review in a flash magazine or newspaper I’d dub the experience, “Mediocre Mess at Masa.”
I drove to the restaurant with my friends Justin and Kyle. As I approached the doors one of them mentioned how the last time they had eaten at the establishment they had fed themselves in under 30 minutes. With a smile on my face and leap in my step I pranced into the restaurant with hopes of an exemplary All-You-Can-Eat experience. Don’t hold your breath.
The joint was sparse. I stared across the room and pouted at the large aquarium featuring two fish who appeared intoxicated. We sat down into our chairs and instantly commented on how we felt as though our bottoms might just fall through the cushion. Looking across the restaurant it was apparent that the chairs had passed their expiry date.
You can order anything off the white menu for approximately 18 dollars per person (including tax). The pink menu is a few dollars more per person and has a larger selection and fancier options. We opted for the former. Wallet smiles #getyourpenout
We then started to scratch down all of the items on the menu which we wished to devour. We ordered the following:
Japanese Fried Rice
Tempura Tofu, Chicken, Shrimp and Yam
Japanese Pork Cutlet
Red Snapper Sashimi
Spicy Salmon Roll
Shrimp Tempura Roll
We waited an alarming amount of time to get anything at our table. A small bowl of lettuce which was a precariously dressed was dropped at our table. I wasn’t aware that Kyle had ordered the salad and laughed out loud as I thought we were meant to share the few greens wilting in front of our eyes. As time passed we then received a whole slew of deep fried items. I nibbled on the Japanese Fried Rice that I ordered and immediately noted its mediocrity. It featured a total lack of fixings and had globs of hard white rice throughout. Fail. Our tempura plate featured a few slices of fried crab meat which we never even ordered. We also received a plate of Teppanyaki Vegetables which we also never ordered. I was a bit bewildered. The server looked as though he was on a diet of crushed Ritalin and miso soup. The night continued to slip down the drain as we realized we couldn’t really trust our server (or the kitchen) to get anything right. It was clear even the server was aware that things weren’t running like a well oiled machine. We mentioned on several other occasions that we had food at our table that we didn’t even want. He quickly snatched up the unwanted bowls and ran down the hall. I always get a bit worried when the front of house of a restaurant serving raw fish can’t simply get our orders right. It makes me wonder how diligent the kitchen is regarding their back of house food safety practices.
Two gentlemen came up to our table and confirmed that their experience was just as disappointing. It started to become somewhat of a laughing matter as they told us that they saw the server put down plates of food at several table to then be told by patrons that they did not order the food. Apparently he then just placed the food at another table in the dining room. It seems as though the food here just circulates in space without much thought.
I am always an optimistic diner. I always give every kitchen and front of house a chance to do their best without passing any judgment from the get go. The “last straw” so to speak was when I ordered one last salmon roll and received one end nub of salmon sushi. No sushi chef would dare serve the end of a sushi roll in Japan. These scraps are typically thrown in the garbage to be composted or served to the local cat or dog. I stared at my little nub which consisted of a disproportionate amount of seaweed to rice with a tiny spec of raw salmon in the middle. I attempted to bite through and pulled the seaweed with my teeth as if it were an elastic band. The rice fell into my soya sauce filled bowl. I threw my chopsticks on the table and washed my hands of the Mediocre Mess that is Masa.
When our waiter slammed the bill onto our table at the end of our lackluster feast he chirped what sounded like, “Sex again!” I looked up at Justin and laughed. Apparently he was trying to say “Thanks Again.” Rolls Eyes. Masa is not an All-You-Can-Eat restaurant. It would be better described as All-You-Can-Bare.
#149 restaurant reviewed in Ontario since moving to Toronto in 2010.