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worst sushi

It must be said- I ate at Jae's on Boyleston and it was so bad, I thought they must have given me a bad piece of tuna (I got the spicy tuna roll for takeout as I work nearby). I will say the manager was kind enough to offer me another lunch on the house and remembered who I was when stopped by for round two. I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt but again, the tuna was nearly inedible! I threw it out. Nothing is so off putting as bad sushi. I appreciate their effort to accomodate me but I was disapointed to learn that it wasn't a one off.

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  1. Never had sushi at Jae's. The worst sushi I've had in the area was at Kotobukiya (the sushi, not the grocery of the same name), and I've given them at least three chances. It's always been very fishy smelling and tasting, though fortunately it didn't make me sick.

    Other places which I found about as bad were Yokohama (Brookline Village) and Shilla (Cambridge, Harvard Square). Barely a step up from these were Seiyo (Boston), Apollo Grill (Boston, Chinatown), Umi (Boston, Fenway), and Yama (Wellesley).

    The best I've had was at Oishii (Chestnut Hill), with other good ones being JP Seafood Cafe (Jamaica Plain), Village Sushi (Roslindale), Uni (Boston, Back Bay), New Ginza (Watertown), Oga (Natick), Ginza (Boston, Chinatown), Sakurabana (Boston, Financial District), and Sapporo (Newton Center), as well as three Brookline spots, Fugakyu, Tsunami, and Super Fusion.

    For me, Hana Sushi, Kaya, and Blue Fin (all North Cambridge), Cafe Sushi and Takemura (Cambridge, Harvard Square), Billy Tse (Boston, North End), Takeshima and Mr. Sushi (Brookline), Shogun (West Newton), Suishaya (Boston, Chinatown), China Sky (Wellesley), Osushi (Boston, Back Bay), and Chung Ki Wah (Medford) represent varying degrees of the middle ground.

    Would be interested to know other people's rankings.

    23 Replies
    1. re: bachslunch

      I'd say Kaya and Douzo in Back Bay are both middle ground, with Douza being on the high side but still not great. I agree with you on Billy Tse's as well. I live in Salem, MA so Asia has the best sushi, followed by Asahi Japanese Steakhouse and ending with Bankok Paradise. Asia is not out of this world, but it is pretty damn good for the area.

      1. re: idreamofrivers

        i've had truly awful sushi at kaya and atrocious service. i've given up on it.

        fugakyu is usually good, but the last two times i was served salmon roe (ikura) that was so old it was scary. don't ask me if "i'm sure", when it smells. just take it off the bill, tyvm.

        i've always had very good sushi at douzo, but that chef has been serving me for years.

          1. re: pdude

            Taste of Asia, right on the main drag Washington Street in Salem, MA.

        1. re: bachslunch

          I have had terrible sushi (specifically inedible spicy tuna that was mealy) twice now at Takemura in Harvard Square. Surprisingly, and I'm not sure if this counts, I've had really good sushi at Whole Foods on River Street (and they make some with brown rice as well).

          1. re: eastiefoodie

            I concur that Whole Foods on River Street has some pretty fine sushi. It is always fresh for sure.

          2. re: bachslunch

            While you're on a roll would you care to comment about Ginza on Beacon and St. Marys in Brookline? I have a gift certificate to use.

            1. re: ginnyhw

              i know i'm in the minority here, but i actually love ginza. i prefer the chinatown location since it's a bit cheaper, but the quality seems identical at the brookline location. one caveat: i generally get maki rolls as opposed to sushi/sashimi. but their maki rolls are my favorite in boston--always served warm, with unusual ingredients like carrots that are a nice surprise.

              1. re: alyssap99

                i don't think ginza chinatown is as good as it used to be. i prefer the brookline location because it feels more spacious and the fish has seemed fresher there than downtown.

                nobody has commented on o-sushi in copley place. recently had some very good sashimi there, but my other experiences had been disappointingly inconsistent.

                1. re: hotoynoodle

                  I agree re: having had better sushi at the Brookline Ginza in recent years.

              2. re: bachslunch

                Wow! I admire bachslunch for having so much sushi experience. I don't have guts to try so many places as bad sushi to me is worse than not having it at all.

                I also love your ranking: put Oga far behind Oishii even though I feell Oishii is not as good as it just opened.

                I really want to go to a restaurant that is comparable to Oishii. Do you think I will be disappointed if I go to JP Seafood Cafe? Is JP Seafood Cafe Japanese-run?

                1. re: sheila

                  JP Seafood is very good, but it is not comparable to Oishii. If you are looking for an Oishii-like experience, I think you will be disappointed.

                2. re: bachslunch

                  Takeshima has gone way downhill recently and no longer even reaches the middle category, in my opinion. I heard there was a change of ownership, sadly for the worse. On the other hand, the new Gari, a couple of blocks away, is a welcome addition to the scene!

                  1. re: BobB

                    I actually found the Gari sushi kind of middling (suffered from two of my pet peeves: rice was not super-great, and catering full steam ahead to the mango, lobster, and cream cheese fads). The rice thing could have been an off moment (but still...). As for "trend sushi", I'd rather they pay more attention to some standards, or at least show some more imagination in picking ingredients aimed at east coasters.
                    On the plus side, though, they have a great nabeyaki udon--chock full of stuff, with some unexpected "guest" ingredients. But that's not what this thread is about :)

                  2. re: bachslunch

                    Kaya is the worst extant sushi I've run across... not because the fish is so bad, but because their lack of knowledge of what sushi IS is demonstrated starkly by their use of a sweet Chinese style soy. This is the only reputable place that fails to understand that sushi soy is entirely different stuff. Verily it was the Chow Mein of sushis.

                    Luckily, whatever became of "Rock and Roll Sushi" (Guyhama?) on Boylston? That was chum quality fish. I recall going there and depositing the white fish into a napkin from my mouth as my friend did just the same.

                    Hana is a nice spot. I like Blue Fin (never had serious problems there as others report). The only truly fancy sushi I've done is Uni but I hope to try Oiishi soon.

                    1. re: DulcetTone

                      IIRC, Uni doesn't serve sushi-- they only do sashimi and other varieties of cooked dishes. Try O Ya if you want sushi; approximately the same price range as Uni.

                      1. re: DulcetTone

                        Is Kaya reputable? I went to the one in Porter Square for lunch and it was possibly the worst (non-sushi) meal I've had in the past three years. Lovely architecture though!

                        1. re: aventinus

                          Kaya's Korean menu is definitely much better than their Japanese food. Never been to the one in Porter Sq, but working in the Back Bay for many years, often ran to their Boylston St location for an Asian food lunch fix. Their sushi, while not terrible, is definitely not great either. But at least it's better than their udon - ugh!

                      2. re: bachslunch

                        It's sorta tough to compare all of the sushi places in Boston as if they're all on the same playing field. And if I try it's basically a combination of quality, cost, and environment. If were comparing steak houses, we could basically throw cost and environment out of the equation since all are very similar. Sushi restaurant comparsions... not so easy.

                        I disagree with ranking Seiyo below Billy Tse's. And I actually rank both Osushi and Seiyo higher than Douzo. (although after starting off very poorly in my book, Douzo has climbed upon return visits). Seiyo is a reasonable and above average option.

                        I have not been to the CH Oishii, but Uni and the SE Oishii are of course "better", you get what you pay for.

                        I still like Fugakyu and do not like the chinatown Ginza (expensive for the quality/environment).

                        1. re: icculus

                          The one time I went to Seiyo, the sushi was frankly borderline, clearly not fresh though not rank awful like at Shilla, Yokohama, or Kotobukiya. I'm very hard pressed to recommend the place to anyone, especially as there are so many worthy options. Billy Tse's was notably better, though not to my taste in the top tier.

                          Myself, I think the CH Oishii is the best I've had locally. Haven't been to the one in the South End, though.

                          1. re: bachslunch

                            Fair enough. I go quite often and have had good luck with the quality/price ratio, but I do have friends that aren't fans. The white tuna there was awesome this past fall.

                        2. re: bachslunch

                          As with other replies, I don't have nearly the same breadth of experience as bachslunch. I have had numerous fine experiences at Oishii in Sudbury, and Shogun in West Newton is a long-standing fave. Shogun doesn't have nearly the variety of fish that other restaurants offer, but the selection is always fresh, and chef Ito-san makes terrific combinations (e.g., avocado salad, dragon roll). With Oishii I am more likely to order straight sushi / sashimi.

                          I for one am not at all a fan of Fugakyu, neither Brookline nor Sudbury locations. It's inconsistent, with the food seeming more like it comes off a low-care production line. Likewise Oga never really got it done for me.

                          Curiously, the sushi buffet Minado, in Natick, does all right - even though it truly is a production line! As with Oishii - although not at all in the same league - I prefer the sushi / sashimi to any rolls.

                        3. That is disappointing to hear; I've had sushi many times at Jae's and it's always been great.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: cambridgejen

                            Oh, I just realized that we're talking about different locations - I've only been to the one on Comm Ave but it's always been excellent.

                          2. I've had the same experience at the Boylston St. Jae's. Not just the sushi - the entire menu and the service was a poor shadow of what I'd expect from Jae's. I don't know what happened there.

                            Luckily, the South End Jae's has remained consistent. Whatever affected Boylston St. didn't seem to infect the other one.

                            1. The worst sushi is to be had a couple doors down at Typhoon!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: tamerlanenj

                                Yeah, typhoon's pretty low, and I agree with above that shilla and takemura in harvard square are dismal too. (Shilla is the only place I've ever gotten a bone in a piece of raw fish) Even the cafeteria sushi at MIT is better than these places (and that's REALLY not saying much)

                                In spite of its apparent popularity, I put Blue Fin in porter in this camp too--I've never seen worse rice than the dried out separate rice we got there, maybe it was a, um, fluke (so to speak) but the rest of the meal's ingredients were all so consistently bad (tofu dried out along the edges, overcooked edamame, etc.), I've never been tempted to go back.

                                Given how bad so many boston sushi places are, it's incredible to me that they don't focus on cooked dishes instead (Japanese, or better yet, specialties of their own native cuisine--why do Korean restaurant owners feel compelled to serve japanese style sushi?) I'd gladly trade a mediocre sushi place for an average curry or spaghetti house! But I guess that's a different topic...

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