I hate to be so negative, but this was truly one of the worst eating experiences I have ever had.
Please forgive my diatribe, I just have to vent-
Last night a friend and I decided to investigate the wildly popular Todai buffet in Redmond.
I heard stories of all you can eat lobster, crab, sushi, and a myriad of other ocean related bites.
People seem to love the place despite the $22-$26 price tag.
When I walked in to Todai, it was fairly busy but not overwhelming. The food appeared to be of decent quality
Most food stations were very clean and well stocked.
My first small complaint was that drinks besides water were not part of the $22 buffet. I accepted this and ordered water.
On to the food.
We decided to start at the "Fresh Bar". I proceeded to take a few pieces of sushi, some crab, and a bit of salad.
The salad and the crab were ok, pretty edible. Sadly those were the only dinner items I would ever touch again.
The sushi was absolutely disgusting, the rice was dry and crumbly and it had no flavor even close to sushi rice.
The fish on top did not fare well either, it was very poor quality and somewhat warm... I tried to choke a few pieces down, but promptly quit. Across the table, my dinner companion seemed to have a horrified look on his face after he tasted his sushi.
We both decided to abandon the "Fresh bar" and move onto the hot items. Perhaps Todai would redeem themselves.
The lobster was in two forms, Garlic Lobster claw and Half lobsters grilled. The claw was covered up in some garlic slime that made it impossible to hold on to and open up. By the time I managed to retrieve a morsel of lobster, my hands were covered in slime. The half lobster looked a little better, until I tried to cut into it. I had no idea that lobster could be tough. I literally had to fight it with a knife to cut a piece of the tail. Once I cut a piece, I chewed and chewed and chewed.
By this time we were pretty disappointed in our meal, but the disappointment soon turned to hilarity when I tried my next dish: Cream Cheese Salmon. They took a piece of tough salmon, covered it in Kraft singles, smeared cream cheese on it and baked it.
We promptly gave up on the hot dishes.
Desert was a mixed affair. There were two highlights in desert. The butter cookies and the vanilla cup were pretty good. Everything else for some reason was nearly frozen, making it nearly impossible to cut through or eat. Many deserts had strangely textured cake layers as well. I ordered a peach crepe and it contained very low quality canned peaches. When I was eating my crepe, I had a very disconcerting taste of seafood as well.
Overall, the only good things that came from the evening is the fact that now every other thing I ever eat will taste wonderful and that I can warn other people of this establishment.
I 100% agree with your findings. I live in Redmond so I decided to see what all the lines at the town center were all about. The sushi was absolutely horrid! In fact, all the food was major disgusting. All I could do was stare at the patrons who seemed to be enjoying their dinner (hence the lines, I guess). Are these people from the planet Neptune? Have they ever had a decent meal in their lives? I think the idea of "all you can eat" turns people into human garbage disposals but I couldn't wait to get out of there. It's crowded and noisy and the food is the worst. What is to recommend here? If you want all-you-can-eat Sushi, try Sushi 10 in Bellevue. It's a million times better (though it can't compare with I Love Sushi in quality). Or better yet, go to McDonalds and get a fishwich. Yes, even this is better.
I had a similar experience at the Todai in Portland. I can't figure out why its so popular.
Todai's sushi reminds me of what sushi might taste like if McDonalds starting putting it on their menu: McSushi. No matter what kind of sushi you choose, it all has the same flavor and texture. Major yuck.