January 14, 2012

Recipe: Sushi Mido in Shawnee, KS

Author: Chris Perrin

Sushi Mido

(By the way, I go off on a tanget for a bit.   If you’re just here for the review, go down to the break!)

I was in the mood for Dim Sum this morning…but I had one obstacle standing in my way: BWD, Jr.  Ever the Chinese buffet connoisseur, BWD, Jr. wanted to get Chinese from a buffet and I wanted to go some place real.  So, we decided to go to the all-you-can-eat sushi place instead.  (Yeah, I don’t get it either.)

But … All You Can Eat Sushi???

Yes, all-you-can-eat sushi.  I know what you’re thinking.  When you’re paying $17.95 for all the sushi you can possibly stuff down your gullet (did I mention they’re learning to fear me there?), the first thing people think is: wow, the ingredients must suck.  You, know, that’s not an unreasonable thought.

Anytime you go to an all-you-can-eat anything, you can feel assured you’re sacrificing quality over what you would get in a by-the-plate restaurant.  However, in an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant, you have a leg up over most other buffets because the sushi is hand rolled.  So whereas that vat of beef with broccoli sitting in a steam tray has likely been given all the care shown to the garbage as its tossed in the dumpster (note: I don’t know if that’s true.  I am sure there are some places that really put effort into their buffet offerings, but I think about 99% of “Chinese” food was is made is a Cisco lab somewhere), the sushi you get at an all-you-can-eat place has been hand crafted.

Plus, Sushi Mido is pretty smart about how they do their all-you-can-eat.  First, you can only get rolls, which are full of rice and more filling than individual nigiri or sashimi and, while I haven’t done an extensive survey, the ingredients that form the rolls are pretty limited: crab, fried shrimp, cream cheese, cucumber, etc.  So, my assumption is that Sushi Mido buys a lot of stuff in bulk.

All of which leads up to something I figured out today

If You Turn Your Nose Up at All You Can Eat Sushi and Order Rolls Anywhere Else You Obviously Like Overpaying for Fish*

Well, at least you live in the Midwest.

Really, this insight hit me when the first artful plate of sushi arrived at my table.  Looking at the rolls they present, they’re essentially the exact same rolls you get at any other sushi place, even the really fancy ones like Ra or Nara, where hip KC-ers go for sushi.  Let’s face it, in the middle of the country, there are only so many outlets for sushi-grade fish.  Plus, once it finds its way into any roll, whether it’s a fancy lollipop thingy at Ra or the Midnight Fantasy roll at Sushi Mido, it’s still a sushi roll.  At that point, you should be judging the individual roll, not the style of restaurant.

Okay, so all tangets aside, let’s get back to why we’re here.

Sushi Mido Review

Now that I’ve waxed poetic about the nature of all-you-can-eat sushi, let’s talk about Sushi Mido specifically.

Sushi Mido’s Food

I enjoy Sushi Mido.  I really do.  I like going there when I’m hungry or need to comfort my soul with sushi rolls.  As you can see the presentation is quit nice and the flavors are, on the whole, pretty good.  (With that said, if Shogun ever had all-you-can-eat night, I’d go there in a heart beat and put them out of business with the sheer quantity I’d consume.)  It’s the kind of place I’d go with friends to hang out, but perhaps not the sushi place I’d take clients who I wanted to impress.

Today’s lunch was highlighted, as always, by the tempura asparagus roll.  It’s a six piece roll filled with a single strand of tempura asparagus.  I wish I had ordered two because they do a nice tempura fry on the vegetable and it’s so good with salty soy sauce.  (Normally I also order the tempura sweet potato roll, too, but today I branched out.  More on that in a bit.)

I also ordered a Spicy Girl roll, a Natto maki, and two other rolls which, sadly, escape me now.  The Spicy Girl was really good.  It had spicy tuna, a spicy mayo, crab stick, and I think avocado (yes, I should have written this down, sorry.)  I also had a nice roll with shrimp tempura on the inside and topped with spicy tuna.  I liked it.  BWD, Jr. did not.

Sushi Mido’s Service

Oh, Sushi Mido what am I going to do with you?

I have yet to come away from this restaurant feeling like they wanted me to be there.  This lack of service starts with the owner (who once sat across the aisle from me eating.  I asked him a question, got a one word answer and never was looked at again) to the sushi chefs to the wait staff who range from below average to plain mean.

Even the sushi rollers themselves get low marks in the customer service department.  As mentioned above, today I ordered a Natto maki roll.  I got an Oshinko (Japanese pickle) roll.  Everyone makes mistakes, I get it.  I didn’t even complain, despite the fact I just don’t care for it (at least what passes for Oshinko at American Midwest Japanese venues.)  What does irk me is they never made me the Natto maki.  Sure, it’s all-you-can-eat joint so I could have just asked for it, but it’s kind of the principle of the thing.

Still, the worst is the wait staff.  For instance, the gentleman who waited on me today who has been working there longer than I have been a customer (well, unless he started working there on that day last July when my shadow first darkened Sushi Mido’s door) who can’t tell me what’s in the rolls and doesn’t bring a spoon for BWD, Jr.’s rice.  Smart kid, but he can’t quite eat rice with chopsticks yet.

On the other end of the spectrum is my favorite waitress there, who I will call S, who seems to take great umbrage to the fact that some people might order a lot of food at an all-you-can-eat restaurant.  How do I know S gets upset?  Well, she makes snarky comments when you hand over the sheet on which you mark what you want and then stands by the sushi chef and complains about what her customers orders.  The first time S did this, she was standing right by a table of about six people who had added more rolls to their order twice and was loudly commenting either about them or me since we were the only two tables in the restaurant.

Oh, and after convicing myself I made this up and she was talking about something else, she did it again the next time I ate at Sushi Mido.  Though not about my ticket.  I think S recognized me as a regular at the point and now limits herself to being generally snotty when collecting my order. 

Sushi Mido…Go At Your Own Risk

All of which leaves me scratching my head.

There’s  a lot to be said for paying $18 for $30-50 worth of sushi.  On the other hand, a little friendliness and competence wouldn’t hurt either.  So, I keep going back because it fills a niche in my eating-out routine, but I’m not going to say if you never go, you’re missing out on the meal of the century.

So, if you dare…enjoy!

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