Again, it seems like I was swept away by school. It’s been an incredibly crazy past month or so, and I really feel irresponsible when I can’t update as much as I can. I’ve gotten a job recently with the University, so I’m a full time student plus a staff member for the school!
But, because I’m a student, that also means we get…that’s right! Spring Break!
This break couldn’t have come at a better time since I’d been scrambling with papers due the entire week before. For Spring Break, my roommates and some friends of ours took a road trip to Toronto. It’s about a five hour drive from Ann Arbor and pretty much the opposite direction of Chicago. I think in terms of culture…well, in my opinion, there wasn’t much of a difference. Toronto, though, is probably about the food.
So our first stop was at Hachitarou (photo from Yelp by Jennifer K.)
Hachitarou’s business is pretty interesting. It’s basically an eat all you want for a flat rate, but unlike a regular buffet, you order what you want off a menu and your server brings it to you.
Our party of eight ordered twenty-something items off the menu. Taste-wise, I have only a few complaints. The menu offers a variety of different sushi and side dishes. Some of the things we got were pretty unusual. The salmon head was probably one of my favorites, and there was even beef sashimi.
I’m not sure if it was only our dish, but the beef sashimi was still frozen. This was the first thing I tried and immediately set off warning bells in my head. In my opinion, sashimi should never be frozen. It shouldn’t look frozen, it shouldn’t taste frozen, and the person eating should never feel like she’s biting into ice crystals. I know there are a variety of health hazards, but really…couldn’t they defrost the beef better? Even though it was an interesting idea, it could’ve used better preparation…
I loved the sushi though. These were prepared properly and the presentation was very nice. No ice crystals here!
This I absolutely loved. It’s slices of pork (shoulder butt, I think?) wrapped around enoki mushrooms. It’s a perfect appetizer, and from the looks of it, the chef deep fried everything. Just a few seconds in hot oil and voila! It’s very simple, so I think I might be trying this soon! Perhaps not a deep fried version, but still something very similar.
The food kept coming, so I pretty much gave up on photos and tried to eat everything instead. Because each serving is relatively small, you get to sample lots of things. Hachitarou is different from a lot of American buffets in the fact that they actually charge you for leftovers. If you don’t eat the rice that the sashimi tops, you have to pay the dinner rate instead of the lunch rate.
I think the cost per person is USD$11ish. It’s a relatively reasonable price I suppose, considering how a lot of this is seafood. This place automatically tacks on tip though. This is a bit of a problem since the service we got wasn’t even all that great. Granted, they’re busy, but I happen to know for a fact that a lot of the items that I wanted never got to our table. The waitresses also weren’t exactly polite, and it took quite awhile for them to clear off the empty dishes despite us leaving it stacked neatly at the end of the table so it was easier for them.
Hachitarou also isn’t great for great parties. If you find yourself going, I might recommend going with maybe four people max. They don’t have much space–that or they purposely stuck us in a more cramped space. It’s also rather dark in there, which makes it hard for pictures and, well, lots of you probably already know, I like eating in bright places. Maybe they were aiming for a izakaya atmosphere, but their service failed in that aspect.
Overall, food was 4.5/5 and their service was 2/5. I would return, but probably only for the food. I probably wouldn’t expect much from the service provided there though.