Sake 2 Me Sushi
13951 Carroll Way
Tustin, CA 92780
I have a weird relationship with sushi. I have been to some high end sushi places. I have been to some bottom of the barrel sushi places. I think that more than any other food I can think of off the top of my head, the more money you are going to spend on sushi, the better the quality is going to be. I definitely can appreciate great sushi, but it's kind of wasted on me. I never leave these high end places being crazy full, and my wallet is not as hefty after leaving these high end sushi restaurants as well.
For me to get my money's worth when eating sushi, I tend to try all you can eat sushi places. The trouble with these AYCE sushi restaurants is that usually the quality is not anywhere close to traditional sushi restaurants. I had read a few good things about Sake 2 Me Sushi in the OC Weekly, and also on the Monster Munching blog, written by the great Edwin Goei. He's been blogging about OC restaurants since 2003, so if he likes a place, I should definitely give it a shot.
We were going to be meeting my good friend Angel, and his new girlfriend Rebekah, on a recent Saturday night. We planned on meeting at 6, but of course we were running late. Surprisingly, Angel and Rebekah were on time, and put our name in to get a table. If Rebekah can get Angel to be on time, we love this girl already. Sake 2 Me Sushi is located in the same shopping center as Mimi's Cafe, on 17th Street in Tustin. It is not seen from the street, so just head to the back of the shopping center if you are headed here.
After about a ten minute wait, we were seated in the loud dining room of the restaurant. This restaurant is deceptively larger than it looks from the outside. They maybe have forty or so tables inside. There was also a lot of activity going on here. Lots of staff taking orders, running food, and filling drinks. Our waiter came over and asked if we would all be having the all you can eat option, and we all replied in the affirmative. The AYCE option runs $22.95 at dinner, and four dollars cheaper at lunch. As with most all you can eat sushi places, you are given a paper to mark your selections, divided into rounds. Let's find out if we got our money's worth here.
Before we get to our selections, we were given this Crab Nacho to start. A very generous serving of crab is placed on top of a wonton, with green onion, and two sweet sauces. This whetted our appetites for our very large first round order that was on its way.
Yes, I am sure for you sushi purists out there, all of these fried hybrid rolls are making you cringe. Our first round consisted of; Green Mussels, Pepper Tuna, Spicy Scallop, Viva Lake (deep fried roll with eel, avocado, shrimp, and crab), Baked Lobster, Golden Tiger (a deep fried roll with cream cheese, avocado, shrimp tempura, and spicy crab), and lastly a Volcano (which is a California roll with cooked salmon on top of it). Yes, this was just round one, but there were four of us, so we made quick work of this. We really liked everything here. Favorites included the volcano and the baked mussels for me. I was surprised that the pepper tuna was so fresh, cut well, and not perched on a big bed of rice. Most AYCE places really overdue the rice.
Our second round of sushi was even bigger than the first. This go around we had; Mixed Tempura, Gyoza, a Mexican Roll (spicy crab, cucumber, and avocado), Philadelphia Roll, 911 Roll (spicy tuna roll with avocado and hot sauce on top), a Hot Night Roll (shrimp tempura, cucumber, and spicy tuna on top), Scallop, Red Dragon (California roll with spicy tuna and crunch on top), Dynamite Roll (California roll with crab, scallop and shrimp), and just for good measure, Shrimp Lover (shrimp tempura roll with shrimp and avocado on top). Again, all of these were pretty solid. My favorites were the 911 roll and the hot nights roll. Anything that had a spicy kick to it was one of my favorites.
Yes we went on to have a third round, which was smaller than our first two. The fried rolls and rice really creep up on you very quickly here. As is my custom when eating at an AYCE sushi place, I total up what the meal would have cost, based on the price on the sheet. We did pretty good at Sake 2 Me Sushi, eating $45 dollars worth of food per person. This trip we saved $23 per person having the all you can eat option.
We left Sake 2 Me Sushi very full, which is my goal at these all you can eat joints. Is this the best AYCE sushi place we have been to? No, but it is right up there. Sushi snobs will probably scoff at this place, but I was pretty pleased with mostly everything here. Angel and Rebekah thought it was good, but they did not seem wowed by this restaurant. Our server kind of got lost near the end of our meal. Our drinks sat empty for long periods of time, and it took forever to get the bill and pay it. We hear that this place can get crazy on Friday and Saturday nights, but just get here before 6PM, and you should have no problem getting in with just a minimal wait. Definitely worth a visit to quench your sushi cravings, while not emptying out your wallet.
Out of five race cars, (because Tustin is not only home to this restaurant, but also the Marconi Automotive Museum), five being best to zero being worst, Sake 2 Me Sushi gets 3 race cars.
For more information about Sake 2 Me Sushi, go to their website here: http://sake2mesushi.com/