Went to Todai Buffet today under peer pressure. It was my 2nd visit. And here it goes
The host led us to our table and took our drinks order. Then we immediately went for the sushi/ salad station that always has the longest line.
SALAD / SUSHI STATION
A variety of salads greeted us first --
Cucumber & seaweed salad
Oriental chicken & mandarin orange salad
Braised mini octopus
Watercress, almonds and shrimp salad
Creamy seafood salad
Adjacent to the salads were the Sushi station. I can safely say that most of the sushi chefs were Mexican, as well as the chefs behind other food counters. They were quite busy making nigiris out of rice mold. (And thats why Todays nigiris are always shaped like a stick, at least on the rice part.) Anyway, the usual nigiris or makis include
Salmon Roe, Tamago (egg), White tuna, Spicy tuna (ground tuna mixed with spice over rice), Hokigai, Akagai, (surfing clams), Tuna, Salmon, Saba (mackerel), Ika (calamari), Taco (octopus), and Roasted Eel.
Common tuna maki, cucumber maki, Salmon/Cream cheese maki, pickled daikon maki and some others I didnt even try this time. (Well, I didnt like them last time I visited so I kind of kept away from them today.)
Personally I didnt care about Todays sushi. They were in odd shape. The fish doesnt taste sweet or fresh and has already lost the moist on the surface.
On the side note, I noticed that many people there ditched the rice after consuming the raw fish. Consequently their plates were full of leftover rice camouflaged with some other food on top. ;)
At the end of the sushi station, we found some more cold salad style of sushi mix. Chunks or strips of tuna seasoned and mixed with onions or greens, etc. Also the pickled ginger, wasabi and spicy mayo were here, too.
Lo mein, Fried rice, (neither looked promising), Gyoza (Japanese for Pan-fried Dumpling) with sauce, baked seafood, Steamed fish (probably tilapia), Spicy deep-tried shrimp (quite salty). And filet mignon with broccoli tasted fine but the beef was always gone missing and the broccoli looked so lonely.
SOUP & NOODLES
Two kinds of soups Miso soup, Seafood soup.
Two kinds of noodles as well Tempura Udon and Tokyo Ramen. Just tell the chef which one and how many bowls you like and wait in front of the counter for a few minutes to claim your noodles later on.
The Tempura Udon has round, thick noodles and the chef will put in a tempura shrimp in your bowl. Tokyo Ramen has a different soysauce-based broth and has a slice of BBQ pork in it.
Soggy, piles of tempuras shrimps, sweet potatoes, vegetables, the usual caliber. They also provide finely ground taikon and tempura dipping sauce (kept warm in a thermal pot) alongside.
FRUITS / MISC.
Fresh pineapples, oranges, honeydew and grapes as well as steamed endaame, cold tofu topped with bonito flakes and chopped scallions, etc. Pineapples and oranges were so sweet that I thought they were the most delicious items on the buffet. :D
Choices of blueberry, peach and banana, with or without whipped cream. Powdered sugar, chocolate syrup was available as well. The crepes are simple but nice.
Ice cream (chocolate, butter pecan, green tea, etc., one or two varieties each day), Colorful jell-o, Cream puff, Éclair, mini cookies and an array of cakes and deserts cut into bite sizes. Most of them were refreshing and not too sweet.
In all, Id say if youre serious about eating sushi, you wouldnt be happy at Todai. But if you want variety and the freedom to roam around in a rather big space, then you will have some fun. Its conversation-friendly and non-smoking all over.
I was told that they would add in Tepanyaki, crab legs and more luxury items for dinner. Or if you go for lunch over weekend instead of weekdays, there will be some chefs special items as well.
Todai Sushi & Seafood Buffet Schaumburg
E-109 Woodfield Shopping Center (JCPenny entrance)
Mon-Sun 1130 a.m. 2:30 p.m. (line usually starts to form before 11:30 a.m.)
Sat, Sun & Holidays: $14.95
5:30 p.m. 9 p.m. (winter)
6:00 p.m. 9:30 p.m. (summer)
Fri: 6 10 p.m. -- $23.95
Sat: 5 10 p.m. -- $23.95
Sun & holidays: 5 9 p.m. -- $23.95
All prices exclude beverages and tax.
Complimentary Meal Certificate (good for future visit, requires valid ID, must be accompanied by a paying customer)
Seniors 65 & over: 20% off (Dinner only)
Children under 5ft (under 12yrs): 50% off
Children under 4 ft: Lunch $5.95, Dinner $6.95
Children under 3 ft: Free.