Let me start this review by saying that, although I enjoy traditional sushi very much, I don't consider myself to be a sushi snob. I love my kampachi as much as I love my spicy tuna tempura roll or any creation containing jalapenos. So, last night when a friend and I were in the mood for sushi but didn't want to throw down a ton of cash, I remembered reading about Zip and decided to give it a try. I got the impression that this was a creative sushi place, with many cooked dishes and various rolls. I was right.....notice I didn't write "good" rolls or "delicious" dishes.........
We arrived at the eclectic space at around 7:30. We had reservations to sit at the bar but there wasn't a single customer inside, and only one couple outside on the very nice patio out back. We sat down at the bar and the sushi chef was welcoming us loudly, although I raised my eyebrow and wondered what language he was trying to speak. He did the usual "irashai mase!" but the rest of his sentence trailed off into some incomprehensible nonsense. No big problem there, but he kept doing this all night and I figured out he wasn't Japanese at all, couldn't really speak a word of it, and that it was an act. I know that Zip is advertised as Fusion and Korean owned, so I wasn't expecting a Japanese sushi chef but it was amusing that someone would try so hard to pretend.
Anyway, the fish in the case looked good, so we ordered one order each of salmon sushi, albacore sushi, one lobster roll and one white fish tempura roll, figuring we would try something new. Good thing we didn't order any more food- the sushi was very big- big rice, big fish, you name it. This sushi chef kept pressing down on the fish to make it stick to the rice and I found it extrememly unappealing. The rolls came out and, I kid you not- they were as big as a baby's arm. Wait, scratch that. As big as MY arm! The white fish tempura was in the roll, piled on top of the roll- it was everywhere and very oily. The lobster roll was about 10% lobster and 90% rice & vegetables. The flavor was ok, but I wouldn't call this sushi. It's product, just cranked out and dumped into big piles on a plate and served up. There were several flies in the restaurant which I kept swatting at, there were no soy sauce bottles on the counter (I just walked to a table and grabbed one) and the hostess was on the phone to a friend the entire time we were there.
To me, sushi is both a culinary delight AND an artform. Not that sushi has to be presented with gold flakes on beautiful plates, just that it should be made with skill and thought. The only really good thing about Zip is the large cold sake (400 ml) costs $7.50, which is a steal. The food, however, makes me queasy just thinking about it.
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