Saturday, May 16, 2009

Kai's Restaurant

One Friday night I had a craving for sushi and Japanese food. I knew Yume was a long waiting list and Kamakura was the same. I was too lazy to drive over to Angelfish on Bay Farm and so I decided to eat at Kai's Restaurant on Park Street. I heard several positive opinions of Kai's food, so I wasn't worried about going in.

The interiors were pleasant inside with colorful kimonos and mounted Japanese paper in frames. The floor was a nice tile or stone floor with various colors of gold, black and browns. Once you get over the cafeteria style seating, the dining room is a casual and comfortable area. It was interesting staring at the black tile wall at the back, since it was checkered with gloss and matte tiles.

The drinks ordered for the table was hot green tea and cold sake. The woman who served us was the owner of the restaurant. Unfortunately, she was not knowledgeable about the sake selection and asked if we wanted hot or cold sake. She failed to ask if we wanted sweet or dry, and milky or clear. The group didn't know what sake to order and left it to the owner where she brought out a milky white, cold, unfiltered sake. It was a sweet sake and did not sit well with me. I am not a fan of milky sake to begin with, but did not want to spoil other people's enjoyment of the beverage.

Food wise, my group wanted to order sushi, but there was none to be found on the menu. The food selection was varied, but the menu didn't have sushi or sashimi. It appeared the kitchen specialized in making rolls and teriyaki. In the end, the food that was ordered for the table was age dashi, karaage, deep fried soft shell crab and two rolls. The first dish that came out from the kitchen was age dashi with the sauce. The sauce was very light and slight in flavor. The age dashi didn't have the traditional bonito flakes on the tofu and was not served in the sauce, the sauce was on the side. The age dashi was fine, the tofu cubes were fluffy and light, unusual for this dish, but a welcomed surprise. The deep fried crab soft shell crab was brought to the table as whole pieces. It was a bit difficult to eat because the first bite was the legs which somewhat freaks me out. The taste of the crab was good and the sauce was mayonnaise, sesame oil and soy sauce. The karaage and the two rolls came out to the table last. Everyone was shocked to see the amount of sauce on the rolls. One of the rolls was unagi on top with fake crab in the middle with avocado. The roll was difficult to manage because the unagi kept on falling off when you picked up a slice. The sauce on the unagi was too sweet and thick in viscosity. The chicken karaage tasted good at first when the meat was hot, but after it cooled down, there was a strong taste of oil and not so much of chicken. The chicken was palatable to eat, but it was a boring dish. This was the only dish that did not have a sauce. The other roll was full of raw fish of hamachi, salmon and maguro that sat in a heavy mayonnaise and soy sauce mixture. The smell of the roll of the raw fish did not smell fresh. I first questioned the smell because it was a strong odor which isn't a good sign for fresh fish. Each bite I took from the roll, I could smell the fish. I then thought to myself and hoped that I was not going to get sick from poorly handled uncooked seafood. After two pieces, I stopped. I could not eat any more food even though I was still hungry. Just looking at the table and the food, it was not appetizing and so I put my chopsticks down and was done for the night.

If you are seeking fresh, raw seafood and sashimi, do not come to Kai's. If you are hungry for teriyaki and rolls, than the food is mediocre. I would not recommend this restaurant, but the owners are very nice and genuine, their personalities make up the deficiencies in the food.

1 comment:

Winston said...

I used to go to Kai's when I was in highschool over a decade ago...mainly because they had the best deal on the island: $4.50 teriyaki chicken plate.

Now that i'm older...i can't eat their food. I also have a new rule thanks to Kai's: If you don't see the fresh fish in the front, don't order the sushi.

The anything other than a california roll is disgusting. I just found your blog today, and I like it. Keep up the great work.