After reading numerous praises on this board and elsewhere lauding Takesushi as a great deal for high quality sushi, (and possibly Queens' long awaited answer to its need for serious sushi), we went last night, only to pay hansomely for what might have been the worst sushi we'd ever had in our lives.
If it is true, as some claim, that Robin opened NYC's first sushi restaurant in 1982, none of the skills or knowledge that he might have once had are still in play. The meal started with some bland, tasteless and soggy seaweed salad. We followed this up with a bland and unremarkable miso soup and then some terribly underseasoned edamame. Then, when we tried to order sake, the waiter was unable to answer a single question about the sake selection and had to bring a number of bottles over to our table so that we could read the labels for ourselves in order to determine which were cold and unfiltered. Since the staff was unable or unwilling to accomodate our request for a small bowl of noodles or rice for our 3 year old, we ordered a full order of tempura udon for our kid. Sadly, the broth was tasteless, the tempura was poorly prepared (the veggies were badly cut, unevenly cooked and there were bits of onion skin and root in the undercooked onion tempura, indicating that the kitchen prep staff either had no idea how to cut vegetables or simply didn't care enough to make the effort) and the noodles were overcooked.
But the downhill badge of honor went to the house omakase which had 12 measely pieces of sushi on it for $68 and was undoubtedly the most tasteless and poorly prepared sushi we'd ever had in our life: the fish looked hacked to death by a blind sushi intern and was full of gristle, not particularly fresh, thinly and unevenly sliced, limp and without flavor; the maki rolls were unattractively assembled and wrapped in cloyingly seasoned seaweed snack paper and not the proper wrapper for rolls; the uni was memorably unfresh, as was the salmon roe; the scallop impressed only with its rubbery day old taste and texture and the sushi rice was lumpy, poorly formed and starchy. Unbelievably, we've had better tasting and better prepared sushi at most every Chinese owned $1 sushi joint in Queens that specializes in '3 rolls for $10.' When the fried shrimp head that was to accompany the shrimp sushi finally arrived about 20 minutes after we had finished eating, there was no plum vinegar served with it and we didn't even bother asking at that point. And lastly, the monkfish liver that we ordered never arrived, but was included on the bill anyway. And eventhough there was only one other table of diners in the place, and they arrived after we did, it still took over an hour for our 12 pieces of sushi to make it to the table.
So, what's going on here? Our best guess is that the owners are simply too old to run a restaurant properly anymore. They seem unable to competently source their ingredients, prepare the fish with any adequate knife skills, train the kitchen staff to prep vegetables, noodles or soup, or train the waiters to answer even the most basic questions about sushi or sake, let alone to accomodate a request for a kid's portion/side of noodles or rice when we were about to drop over $150 on dinner for 2 adults and a 3 year old.
While Takesushi might have once been a place for great sushi at a great price, it's now a restaurant that has no business being in business. It's simply a rip off that tastes bad and left us feeling sorry for the owners, who clearly aren't up to the challenge of feeding their guests anymore. Arriving at 6 pm to an empty restaurant, we figured that it was the early March snowstorm howling outside that had kept the place empty, but when we left and saw the surrounding Sunnyside eateries full, despite the raging blizzard, we began to wonder if word had already gotten out: stay away.
The one saving grace? It's proximity to Sunnyside's Butcher Block, where we grabbed 2 corned beef sandwiches for $12 that saved the night and finally filled us up with something worth eating.