Davis Sushi Buffet Japanese Restaurant
707 Second St.
Hours: Lunch: Daily, 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Dinner: Daily, 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Food: 2 1/2 stars
Ambience: 2 1/2 stars
The neon lights flickering the words SUSHI BUFFET stopped me in my tracks. I passed it by on a hazy night of bar-hopping. Could this be? Could Davis really have another all-you-can-eat sushi joint? The next morning, to make sure that I hadn’t imagined it in the midst of a little dancing and a lot of drinking, I did some research on Google to find that the restaurant really does exist!
Davis Sushi Buffet, located at 707 Second St., opened for business June 1. It is co-owned by Andrew Nguyen and Chef Henry, a Davis local and award-winning chef. Like its competitors, Davis Sushi Buffet offers a wide variety of Japanese dishes, fresh seafood and of course unlimited sushi.
Although I probably should be watching the pounds since it is swimsuit season and all, I couldn’t help but try out the new all-you-can-eat sushi buffet. So instead of taking a trip to the ARC, my roommate and I decided to venture out to Davis Sushi Buffet for lunch. We convinced ourselves that walking back-and-forth to the sushi boats would be plenty of exercise.
Since it was a Wednesday afternoon, there were no lines and we were immediately seated. If you plan on visiting on a busy day, the restaurant allows you to make advanced reservations by calling ahead.
Although all the seats at the bar were full, the host seated us at a table just 2 feet away. From its interior, Davis Sushi Buffet is more aesthetically pleasing than its counterparts with its modern feel and slightly classier vibe – well, as classy as a buffet can get.
The cream-colored walls contrasted well with the dark, wooden tables seemingly imported from Asia. What I liked most was that the ceiling lights looked as if they had silver leaves and branches wrapping around them. They added little lighting but a lot of pizzazz to the place, contributing to the already clean and comfortable atmosphere.
Like other buffets, you’re free to start filling your plates as soon as you’re seated. At sushi buffets, though, the plates are placed inside little wooden boats that float clockwise around the sushi bar. Patrons are invited to grab the plates directly from the boats or order them from the chefs and workers. Each plate holds about three pieces of sushi or various Japanese appetizers such as teriyaki chicken skewers, edamame (green soy beans) or fresh oysters.
The first plates I grabbed were the teriyaki chicken and the spider roll – sushi that has fried soft-shell crab, cucumber and crab meat topped with tobiko (flying fish caviar). Since we were also allowed to order anything from the menu at no additional cost, I ordered a plate of soft-shell crab and salmon sashimi (raw fish).
I engulfed the piece of sushi in my mouth with one bite. The rice was soft and the soft-shell crab inside was still crispy. It was quite tasty and definitely nothing less than what you would get at Fuji’s. The teriyaki chicken was a little dry and did not live up to par. However, all was better after the soft-shell crab and sashimi arrived.
The crab was crunchy on the outside and soft, warm and flavorful on the inside. I hardly even noticed that it was actually a small, whole crab completely deep-fried. The salmon sashimi was equally delicious. After squeezing a bit of lime over it, the softness of the salmon felt as if it would melt in my mouth. Also worth noting is its obvious freshness, in comparison to sashimi I’ve had elsewhere that arrived slightly brown and very unappetizing.
My roommate ordered a plate of tuna sashimi, sushi and potstickers. The tuna and sushi were just as tasty as the ones I got. The potstickers, however, were outstanding. My roommate took one bite and her eyes instantly widened. I had very low expectations since the potstickers I’ve had at other places weren’t even as good as the frozen ones I got in bulk from Costco. With her recommendation, I took a bite and I have got to say – they are to-die-for. Its skin had a light crisp and the inner flavors just immersed in my mouth.
Although there was much more we wanted to try, our stomachs just couldn’t hang. Or perhaps, there was too much hanging. Before leaving, we enjoyed a cup of warm green tea (50 cents a cup per person, but well worth it!) and a couple bites of fresh fruit: watermelon, orange wedges and cantaloupe.
All-in-all, Davis Sushi Buffet had great food and variety for its price – $12.95 for lunch and $16.95 for dinner. If you’re tired of waiting in lines at other restaurants, coming here is in no way a compromise. The sushi is equally appetizing, but the service is far superior. The workers are on constant patrol to take orders and deliver them to customers within mere minutes. Although I’d hoped to shed some weight by walking to the sushi bar, I have no complaints here.
If you’re looking to suppress that sushi craving at an affordable price with excellent service, check out Davis Sushi Buffet. Better yet, come on your birthday and eat for free! I’ll be coming back in two days. I might gain 5 more pounds but hey, it’s my birthday and I’ll eat endless sushi if I want to.
THUY TRAN can be reached at email@example.com.