I very recently had family visit from the east coast to attend my culinary school graduation. As both the mentioned school and I both reside in Pasadena, I thought I'd indulge in a special meal at a wonderful local establishment in celebration of my graduating. I've passed my Maison Akira daily for the past 18 months, and have read very positive reviews in the Zagat. Thus I was very disappointed to find the food and service so lackluster.
The first indication that thing might not be up to measure was a mix up regarding what salad course was ordered. This was quietly tolerated, as was the failure to then provide adequate silverware for the next course for some of us dining. We awaited our entree course hoping that this was where the meal would really shine. Unfortunately for the 5 out of 7 diners, it was not to be the case. 2 of us did order the signature dish of Chilean Sea Bass, which was admittedly excellent. The remaing 5 however, all left disappointed. My duck was cooked to medium well, rather than the medium rare requested, and was sauced in a thin and flavorless liquid. The diver scallops were served with a limp lukewarm noodle, and topped with an huge portion of neon green roe that was not included in the menu description of the item(much to the chagrin of my gastronomically timid sister). A salmon dish, while flavorful, was dull in it's appearance and plating.
Dessert followed...which was the final blow to our collective opinion of Maison Akira. Both diners who ordered the Mixed Berry Feuilletee were brought a simple bowl of mixed berries. The flourless chocolate cake was little more than an overcooked souflee turned out of it's mold.
In the end this bland mediocrity totaled over $600 in cost. In stark contrast, the prior evening the same group had a stellar meal at the wonderful Saladang Song for a mere $150. Sometimes it seems, you just don't get what you pay for.