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Jun 5, 2007 07:36 PM

Not a Good Night for Sushi in North Central Phoenix :(

I have been looking forward to trying Hana for sushi. My boyfriend
HATES fish (folks, he's never even tried it, go figure LOL) anyhow I
actually get him to come along to Hana with me, he even agreed to sit at the
sushi bar as long as he could order from the menu! I was shocked! Who
took my bf and left this guy! LOL So...we arrive at Hana and ask to be
seated at the sushi bar we are then told the Sushi Chef was not in
tonight! What was that? Come again? They said they were only serving off the
menu. I was surprised to say the least, having never heard that a chef
wasn't there! I was really dissapointed. We opted not to stay and he
said he'd still do the sushi thing with me and where to next? So we went
up to Mr. Sushi or Akihana, whatever name it's under now.

Mr. Sushi, was not good. The sushi was marginal. I was surprised,
especially since it has received consistantly good reviews here. Based on
sushi alone I would not go boyfriend will never go back. His
dinner was a whole other experience. He ordered the teriyaki chicken
dinner which came with miso soup and a salad. He wasn't drinking the miso
soup, I asked him if he didn't like it and he said it tasted
"different". So I took a sip, it was watered down, barely any flavor. His dinner was not memorable and he doesn't want to go back, ever. LOL

Such a wierd night. Has anyone been to Hana and not had the chef there?
Do I need to call ahead of time?]

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  1. i'm surprised by that as well..... wierd. i guess you DO need to call ahead of time. but i do know they only have one sushi chef, so if something happens to him i suppose there's no sushi chef. and also, i know that they don't see themselves as a primarily sushi place.... they see themselves as an eatery that also has sushi. sorry you had such a bad experience.

    akihana is gone, but next time, make the drive to kampai, or in a pinch, even the fish market isn't bad.

    9 Replies
    1. re: hzp

      Thanks for your response.
      I still can't wait to try Hana, I will call ahead the next time I go. The experience there wasn't bad, just wierd the way they handled it, no big deal.

      Mr Sushi was the bad experience! LOL

      1. re: Lala0310

        Why should a patron have to call ahead? Shouldn't the restaurant provide adequete backup for situations like these? If you are an Asian restaurant that relies on sushi as one of the primary components of your offerings, isn't it up to the owner to provide a consistent dining experience to anyone no matter what night it is?

        Am I missing something? I'm reasonable, I can handle being wrong. :)

        1. re: mamamia

          I agree - had they not provided me any incentive to return, I probably wouldn't try it again for at least six months. But that's just me.

          1. re: mamamia

            i've given up on being "reasonable" since we all have a separate idea of what that is and it seems manners, etc are so long gone in this world :) (remember when you could walk your child at the park without even worrying if someone was going to curse around you?). i'd say if this was you know... a chain or a bigger restaurant.. sure.

            I will say this about hana. They're small> They're family owned, and they seem to really embrace that idea. They're consistently busy now, and that seems to be fine for them. They like having regulars, and getting to know people, making people happy. They didn't seem to embrace the idea of a second sushi chef since they're so small, and again, they really see their second chef as Kaz, who does the menu items. They want people to eat off the menu and see sushi but as one component.

            I was there last week and they mentioned they were closing for three days for Memorial Day and how important it was for all of their workers to get to be around their families.

            I don't know, i guess i really embrace that about them too. Sure, it means that you've got to call or check the website (i assume on the second part) and I might suggest to them that they get email addresses from customers and shoot them an email when the sushi chef is off or they're going to close, but otherwise, I don't mind too much that they're keeping it small and close to the belt.

            its a small, neighborhood place and I really consider it a gem.

            1. re: hzp

              "its a small, neighborhood place and I really consider it a gem."

              Which is why I won't mind calling ahead next time and also why I am still looking forward to eating there.

            2. re: mamamia

              I agree with you. I shouldn't have to call ahead. I was thinking cause maybe they are so new and family run that sometimes he may not be there. Funny thing I didn't mention. The host, he was very new, saw the look of surprise on my face that the Sushi chef was not there said something about the chef being a "rockstar" or something or other. LOL Yeah, okay whatever, that didn't help! LOL

                1. re: Lala0310

                  Well, when we were there on Friday, he was regaling us with the tale of how he was in a Jack-In-The-Box commercial when the introduced teriyaki chicken. I guess he was in the background twirling knives around. He made some pretty good bucks on it from the sounds of it.

          2. Having never been to Hana, I'll withhold judgement on this specific incident. I do have a question, however: If the situation had been the opposite -- the sushi chef was in, but the other chef was out, how would that be perceived? Would it be acceptable to tell customers that they can sit anywhere they like but that they can order only sushi, even if that meant the sushi chef was overwhelmed with orders?

            1 Reply
            1. re: silverbear

              i think it's kind of a bummer but great sushi is very reliant on the skill of the chef. there is a ton of prep work that goes along with what we see them do in front of us. in some cases it even involves going to the fish market that morning to purchase the product.

              we for one will wait for yuki-san at kampai even if there are open spots in front of the other chefs (especially other than aji-san) regardless of the wait. i have yet to see a small, neighborhood place that has been able to regularly pass that skill along to apprentice chefs. when it does happen, it's after a long period of time.

              you can see more consistent skill at places like nobu but those places have tons of capital and resources behind them. you also see additional locations of those places (like nobu, sasabune, etc.) get opened by long, long time apprentice chefs.

              it also sounds like it is a small place in the beginning of its lifespan so i wouldn't expect they have all their contingency plans formed yet.

              i for one am very eager to try and kind of like the fact that they don't cut corners when it comes to sushi.

            2. Koji was sick Tuesday, I tried to go in and was denied of sushi. I went in today and got about 2 courses before he left feeling ill. I hope he gets better real soon so I can have more raw fish!

              1 Reply
              1. re: AZBconcierge

                The mystery is solved, thanks! They probably should've just told us that on Tuesday. But they are new.