Last night Ethan and I tried Kaya, an Asian eatery and sushi bar on 104th and Roe (roughly.) I went in with high hopes for a new sushi establishment that I had never heard of. Perhaps there is a reason I have never heard of it. Ethan got chicken fried rice while I tried the tofu bi-bim-bap (sp?) and a few sushi rolls. All of it ranged from nothing to write home about to plain lousy.
The chicken fried race was the best dish, though it was just some rice, soy sauce, and canned mixed vegetables (green beans, corn, and carrot cubes) that we were fed in school cafeterias. I nibbled on a green bean and I could taste metal. The bi-bim-bap was a scoop of white rice with some al dente vegetables and a few rectanges of very overly friend tofu. Nothing was seasoned. The flavor was improved greatly by the addition of a paste of soy and siracha.
Most disappointing was the sushi. I ordered a shrimp tempura roll, a spicy tuna roll, and two maguro (tuna) nigiri. I tend to judge a sushi restaurant by the quality of its spicy tuna and its maguro, which is why I’m not going back anytime soon. The maguro had no flavor and the rice was packed too lightly to eat fish first. The spicy tuna was not spicy and was rolled with a underripe avocado that was too tough to eat. To make matters worse, the tempura seemed to be rolled in sugar making the tempura roll very sweet. Last, the rolls were not packed tightly at all (probably due to the lack of rice) and kept falling apart, scattering sushi innards across the plate and in my soy sauce.
The experience was not all bad. The wait staff was very pleasant, the food was served quickly, and the price was very affordable. If only the food had been better.