buyer beware

(This includes all the bay area and norcal i.e. the area covered by this board). Any stories of deceptive practices by restaurants? Here’s one of mine. i was at Oyama sushi in Greenbrae (Marin cty). I ordered toro off the blackboard specials list. I asked them what kind of toro it was, they said it was otoro (the fattiest cut). What they gave me was not otoro, it was not even toro, it was plain old bluefin tuna. When i pointed out to them that it was not toro, they didn’t even bat an eye, but just lowered the price on my bill to the price of bluefin tuna. I heard the chef say in Chinese to the server, “we don’t have toro today”. Deliberate attempt to fool the customer and charge an inflated price. I would not have ordered it if they had told me upfront that they only had tuna, not toro. Of course they didn’t bother changing the blackboard listing to say that they were out of toro. Buyer beware!


a pet peeve revolves around shrimp tempera.
shrimp is sliced lengthwise without breaking the connecting tissue, , creating a
very long puffing tempera with very little protein.
seen it @Ray’s Sushi, old hayward location, Amkara, Dublin, Ca.
Ray’s never responded. Amkara did, ignored them.

Trying to understand how, if the whole shrimp is cut lengthwise (except, presumably, through the entire length- ie - attached at the tail) you’re getting less protein. What “connecting tissue” are you talking about?

I can’t recall ever seeing this, but it sounds like the idea is that if you create a super-long shrimp by slicing one in half lengthwise, you can use significantly more batter when frying it. So it’s not that that one shrimp has any less protein than one fried conventionally, but rather that frying it this way can allow you to fill the customer up on batter.

This helps an unsavory restaurant skimp on the number of shrimp going into the dish while (because there’s so much volume taken up by the additional batter) not serving them something that looks like it’s obviously shortchanging them.

Ah! I was thinking individual pieces, not the overall portion size. Personally I LIKE shrimp cut this way in a dish.

So you’re eating sushi at a place where they speak chinese in the kitchen?

not less protein, last connecting tisse probably at head-end of shrimp, not tail end, just seems more logical.

supermajority of japanese eateries are owned by either korean or chinese, few japanese owners these days.
associates speak their native language thruout the restaurant, not just in the kitchen.

not sure if less shrimp is given, don’t otder this anymores.
too much batter yes. smothers any shrimp taste.
panko batter is the best, not the flour only batter.

One of our local food writers just did an expose on the bogus farm to table claims made by local restaurants and the whole bogus farmers market scene. The farmers market situation is something I’ve been telling people about for several years but seemed to fall on deaf ears


Hmmm. I’ve always left the tail end attached. The two sides of the body twist in cooking and the result is very pretty actually. YMMV.

I went in with a very open mind but this experience was a real contrast to say kusakabe or even koo (sf)

Kakui Sushi, 2060 Mountain Blvd, Oakland (Montclair Village)

2014: everything was fine until my DH’s 10-piece hamachi sashimi entree showed up. First of all, the hamachi was pure white with a light pink top. As hamachi isn’t white, this was rather suspicious. DH took one bite, and immediately said, “This doesn’t taste right. The texture is strange somehow.”

He gave the rest of the slice to me. The fish was fresh, but very mild; not buttery as good hamachi is. Instead of the soft texture hamachi has, this was firmer – not chewy or hard, just very firm. He finished it as he loves sashimi, but wasn’t in love with it.

Then they brought him a bowl of white rice, and he thought it tasted strange, too. He passed it to me. I took one small bite and said, “It’s spoiled.” I called the waiter over and handed him the bowl to return to the kitchen.

They brought another bowl of rice, but this one was also spoiled. The off-taste was faint but when you eat as much rice as we do, it’s unmistakable. Rice spoils very easily once cooked; if you’re going to keep it overnight you need to cool it down fast and refrigerate it ASAP.

We weren’t 100% sure about the fish until I checked it out when we got home. I told him, “Yup, that wasn’t hamachi. That was escolar - which is half the price, retail.”

We’ve never returned.

Escolar is pure white in color. Pearly white. Easy to identify. Usually sold as white tuna

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also known as “butterfish”, can lead to runs to the john. escolar is a very cheap fish…

Excuse my racism, but I think there’s a big difference between a sushi restaurant ( even a low end place with rolls ) run by japanese, and those run by koreans and japanese, or with mexicans in the house.

In the mid-peninsula, when I want inexpensive rolls, I go to Yokohama in RWC. I hear Dashi is good, but I haven’t been in many years. Yokohama might be a modest japanese place, but it has japanese staff and cooks, and I think it’s a cut above.

Perhaps I should have heeded the warning signal that there was no shout of “irasshaimase!” when I entered. I had a much better experience at Village Sake in Fairfax (also Marin cty), which appears to be at least partially Japanese staffed, although the owners /exec chef are Caucasian.

I won’t excuse your racism because that is what it is. There are seven times as many Chinese in the Bay Area as Japanese, and Chinese have traditionally cultivated cooking as their #1 survival skill in the diaspora, so there is obviously a much larger pool of potential chefs who are not Japanese. And every Japanese sushi chef is not a Jiro Ono. As for Mexicans, I wonder if any of your favorite restaurants (other than racially pure sushi joints) do NOT have Mexicans cooking much of the food you eat.


Thank you. No excuse for racism.

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I’ve never had any adverse reaction to the wax esters but it’s certainly a possibility if you eat too much.