Kirari Sushi in Scarsdale - Very Strange
I went to Kirari in Scarsdale Saturday night. The place was 3/4 full with groups of teens, mostly girls, and a few elderly couples. We were the only people in the place who were between 20-65. It was loud, cell phones ringing and people talking. At first they tried to put us in a weird small, very narrow room up front with 4-5 two person tables that was very cramped. I think it used to be a coat check area or something. To get to the tables you would have to sort of slide along sideways. And it had no decorations on the institutional pale blue paint. The color made me cold just looking at it.It seemed like a kids section, later that was exactly what it became. One older couple had been stuck all the way at the end and the rest of the tables were teens and young adults. I felt so sorry for that couple. They looked like they wanted to cry.
The sushi, soup, sunomono, etc. was less than mediocre. The only good thing I can say was that the fish was fresh, but it was also tasteless. Each different type of fish tasted like the others even though they looked different. It seemed like the fish had been soaking in cold water for hours or something.
The sushi chefs don't know how to cut fish properly. Every one of the few dozen pieces we got was a long, very long, 6" by1" wide and 1/4" thick. Almost stringy looking and impossible to eat without biting in half and slurping the fish. The rice was a tiny blob 1/5 the size of the fish. There was no balance in the pieces of nigiri at all. It also looked just terrible. The worst part was that the fish was room temp, but the rice was warm.
The maki was very poorly made as well. The way too small rolls were so poorly rolled that severel pieces fell apart when picked up.
I ordered what should have been a decent chilled sake and they brought the wrong one. Three times I showed the waitress which sake I wanted by pointing to it on a list. She tried to say that it was the correct sake but I know enough English and Japanese to read a sake bottle label. I didn't make a fuss and finally drank it. My friend got hot sake. I warned him that it was from a machine but he got it anyway. It was such poor quality and way overheated that it had turned yellow and was undrinkable. And he can drink anything.
The sunomono had only a drizzle of the sweet vinegar on it. It should have had a small pool so that the fish could soak in it. Basically it was a small bowl of sashimi. Which I wouldn't mind if that was what I ordered. Also the fish pieces were cut very small. So small that you had to eat 3 pieces at a time to get a small mouthful. I mean they were around the size of three dimes or two nickles stacked.
The waitress was a bit strange in how she handled things, and service. She came to our table several times, put down dishes of other peoples food to free up her hands and then put down a glass, or bottle of sake, or water, and then picked up the plates of food and took them to other tables.
We never ordered anything besides sushi deluxe and apps because the experience was so weird/bad.
All in all this place was one of the strangest sushi places I have ever been to. The weird ambience, ugly barred decor, strange service, poor quality food, etc. was enough to keep me from ever returning. This place has become a teenagers hangout. I got the feeling it is the type of place where the parents drop off their kids to eat while they go somewhere else to have a real dinner. Then come back to pick up their kids.
It is such a shame because the place that was there before was really great. Homestyle and Izakaya style food, very good sushi, and a fantastic sake selection with around 30 types, and Japanese beers that I had only seen in Japan, not in the States. What a total bummer.
I have visited twice this month. Both times were very good. But the teens can be a problem between 7 and 9, so go early or late.
I do love Azuma, but it is the quickest $50pp sushi dinner imaginable. Tsuru used to be a weekend lunchtime favorite of ours until they tried to seat us next door to the bathrooms when we were the first patrons to arrive at the restaurant on a rainy Saturday (but I still miss the place).
I've always enjoyed the sushi and the people there have always treated me very nicely. I've never stopped and said to myself, "boy that sushi is sure cut strange."
I've been to some pretty garbage sushi places around Westchester, but I've always enjoyed what I've been served there. There are some pretty fanatical people who sometimes eat near me at the the sushi bar, order far more elaborate stuff than me, and they are quite vocal about enjoying it. I usually have a mix of straightforward rolls and some of the special rolls they have (my favorite is the Black Hole Roll).
Food is a funny thing -- expectations vary wildly. One man's gold is another man's garbage.
I've been going to Kirari for a very long time, but I've never been there on a weekend. I can tell you that when I go on Mondays or Tuesdays, it is most definitely not the same as you described. Maybe there was some event going on -- a birthday? -- whatever, but I've personally never seen anything resembling that teen crowd as you described when I've been there on weekdays. Who knows why it was like that, and in all probablity, they may have not been prepared.
Since they were closed for a month very recently, they are just getting back into the swing of things. I noticed they had some new help who was not there pre-closing.
Perhpas it's best to go to the Kirari during the week for a fairer sample.
RE: Azuma -- people tell me they don't like children there.
It wasn't a party, just 4-5 small groups who didn't interact with each other. But it seemed like a usual thing, the kids were obviously all very used to the place. It wasn't crowded, just 50-60% full with lots of waitresses and sushi chefs.
But you say nothing about the food. Is the sushi always so mediocre and strangely sliced and presented?
I wouldn't ever go back. There are so many other, more interesting, and better places in the area.
Head 5-10 minutes to hartsdale and there are 4 very good japanese places. Each with their own pros and cons but all better than the garth road places:
-Tsuru's on central avenue heading twoards white plains from hartsdale avenue
-Kazu-on hartsdale avenue
-Fujinoya right around the corner of hartsdale and central avenue. .
-Azuma in hartsdale village