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Restaurants & Bars 1

Disappointed at Genki (long)

GinnyR | Sep 23, 200301:24 AM

Went to dinner at Genki in Berkeley (San Pablo and Cedar, across from Acme Bakery) this past weekend. I've been there twice before, and have not found it out of the ordinary though Japanese friends swear it is very good. In addition, the prices seem high.

The service was slow. They had 3 wait staff on duty, but the restaurant wasn't full when we arrived, so I can't understand why.

The miso soup arrived - seemed OK, nothing extraordinary. The salad looked dried out - probably from the previous day, and with a strange orange dressing.

They gave our New York roll(shrimp and avocado) to the next table, and after a couple of minutes they retrieved it and put it on ours. A friend of mine says that's a health code violation (can anyone confirm that)? The roll was run-of-the-mill (about $5, I think), but they did do a little nice presentation with two of the six sushi having little shrimp tails sticking out. However, it got a little difficult pulling them off when you wanted to finish your morsel.

My order of tonkatsu was huge ($12.00) The pork covered nearly half the plate, and it also had a little seaweed salad, a piece of green melon and an orange slice. It was greaseless, but the pork looked grey and unappetizing. It was cut into huge pieces, about 1.5" x 4 or 5". The second bite revealed a hefty amount of gristle (cheap cuts of pork, I guess). The sauce came in a red ketchup squeeze bottle (the type you see at hot-dog stands), which struck a jarring note on a table full of ceramics. You were given a small soy-sauce ceramic plate into which you squirted the sauce. It goes against the idea of eating with chopsticks to have to manuever such big flat sticks of pork into a small dipping plate.

My partner was still waiting for his dinner to arrive. We finally flagged down a waitstaff, and asked what happened. She confessed that his dinner had been given to another table by mistake. She apologized and said it would be another few minutes. Another waitstaff came by after she returned to the kitchen and hastily apologized and placed a very small plate of edamame in front of him (complimentary).

My partner had the combination tempura/chicken teriyaki/grilled unagi ($14.50), which was not a total success. The tempura was greasy. The broccoli was one big chunk that made it difficult to fit into the bowl of dipping sauce. The teriyaki sauce had an underlying bitterness and was unplesantly smoky. The unagi was quite good, very tender and tasty. All this arrived in a large bento box with a seaweed salad (excellent, with sesame seeds) and some brillant green pickles (we didn't taste them).

We noticed by this time, that all the other tables around us were automatically getting hot green tea, but we had not been offered any.

Well, given the lousy service and the mediocrity of the food, we won't be going back at all.

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