Oranj Sushi BarJune 20, 2012
I always find it weird when restaurants decide to name themselves after everyday objects, but obscure the spelling to make themselves seem upscale and trendy. And that is what happened when Oranj Sushi Bar opened up in West Edmonton Mall.
When I first saw the signs that a new Japanese restaurant was set to open up on Bourbon street this past holiday season, I was actually quite excited to see that another type of cuisine would be available in the mall. The only traces of Asian cuisine in the mall really don't cut it for me - Tokyo Express, Edo Japan, Pho Hoa.. etc. etc. cause in the end, they're all considered to be fast food. But for a sit-down Japanese restaurant to be situated amongst burger bars and family restaurants? A nice change.
That was until the place officially opened. I had friends that stopped by to try things out, only to say that the food wasn't fresh, or they had run out of rice, or run out of fish, amongst many other things. It was obvious the small restaurant had not fully anticipated the possible traffic they would encounter in one of the world's largest shopping malls, or maybe they did and were incredibly understaffed. Either way, I decided not to visit until they had settled in and started to be comfortable.
I stopped by for lunch with a friend during a weekday around noon - and the restaurant was practically empty. The wooden interior with bright accents of orange make the restaurant feel very modern and upscale, but the dimmed lighting gives it a sense of invitation and intimacy. Unfortunately, this wasn't enough to draw a busier lunchtime crowd.
Flipping through the menu, the offerings are numerous, and the prices are relatively expensive for what you get. I don't mind paying more for food, but the quality needs to reflect the reasoning for higher pricing. Lisa had ordered the vegetable roll, which she said wasn't bad.
Wanting to have a light lunch, I opted for their version of Dragon eyes. Unlike the one at Mikado, this one has asparagus in it, which really didn't do anything for me - especially since the crunch is being contrasted with the soft rice & salmon. I like the Mikado classic with the green onion, which gives it a kick of extra flavour. The ORANJ sauce both lining and drizzled on the roll had a bit of spiciness, but was overly sweet. And you know how much I hate when my food is supposed to be savoury but turns out sweet... (or now you do!)
While the food was just mediocre for us, the service was probably on par with the food. Our server did check in here and there, but it took forever for us to get the bill and finally leave the restaurant. I do understand that their location is prime - Bourbon street is packed on the weekends - and the high prices are probably required in order for them to continue running and paying the high price of rent. But when customers feel that the prices aren't justified by the prices, the kitchen really needs to step things up. The food here seems alright, but for the prices they're charging, I'd rather eat somewhere else in the city.