That’s right, this is the new sushi buffet place in Hayward! If you’re a Hayward-ite, you’ve driven by this numerous times; it’s the corner spot on the 2nd floor of the new shops surrounding the movie theater on B Street. And if you’re not in Hayward often, now you know that we have something mildly awesome — buffet sushi!
Let’s talk logistics. How does a sushi buffet work? I was skeptical because if there aren’t any patrons, the stuff sits there. And that’s no good with any food, let alone raw fishies. We went on a Sunday night and it was packed by the time we left (we were there early), and it’s been pretty full every time I’ve driven by. So, that will keep the food fresh right there, as long as it’s fresh to begin with.
Which brings up the second concern. Is the food fresh? The buffet is pretty cheap — $15 per person for dinner — which didn’t give me a whole lot of faith in the quality. I mean, sashimi is expensive and here I can eat all I want. How are they making money? I think I figured it out. The sashimi is good — not Genghix good, but way better than Safeway* — but I don’t think everyone is eating it. About half of the buffet is standard Chinese style hot dishes — chow mein, fried rice, broccoli beef, egg rolls, sweet and sour shrimp — which is considerably cheaper to make and more filling to eat. Add a bunch of cheap, fatty, greasy foods and, voilà, you’re back on budget with your sushi buffet.
Not to say that the food there is bad…everyone loves fatty and greasy. And if you’re not in the mood, that’s what the sushi is for. Boyfriend and I consumed a fair amount of sashimi (raw fish by itself) and a few types of sushi (fish on a ball of rice) along with a few other things (baked scallops, edamame, fried coconut shrimp, asparagus). We thought it was great!
Let’s go over the layout. There are 5 or so main stations of food:
- Appetizers: edamame, seaweed salad, other stuff
- Salad: green salad mix, crab legs, shrimp, hard boiled eggs, dressing, misc fixings
- Sashimi: tuna, salmon, butter fish, seared ahi, a few others
- Sushi: plain sushi (raw fish on rice ball), fancy rolls (California rolls with extra stuff inside and/or on top), and deep fried rolls (they sort of taste like donuts!)
- Seafood: more crab legs, coconut fried shrimp, baked scallops, oysters, clams, grilled salmon
- Chinese food: the stuff I mentioned before (chow mein, fried rice, broc beef, sweet and sour whatever, etc.)
- Fruit & Dessert: variety of fruits (bananas, apples, melon, oranges, etc.), pudding, tapioca, jell-o, soft serve, donuts, cakes, tarts, etc.
I love buffets because I love choosing things. Pictures of our plates are below. Summary of foods eaten: the edamame was good, though not warm (darn!); seaweed salad was really good; sashimi was great (especially considering the price); I didn’t love the sushi rolls I tried, so stuck with the sashimi; baked scallops were really just baked seafood and were ok; the veggies in the Chinese area were fine, didn’t try much else.
And as for the best and the worst? The miso soup was the worst I’ve ever had, which was surprising. The boxed kind from Trader Joe’s is better, seriously. But, the donuts in the dessert area (sadly, this is where I focused at the sushi place) were amazing. I usually don’t even go for dessert at an Asian place (sorry to stereotype, but it’s true), but these were heavenly.
Overall, I think this place was nice. It was strange to get a view of Hayward from a 2nd story commercial building (see below), I couldn’t think of a time this has ever happened before. The patrons were a step up from the Hometown Buffet, the atmosphere was nice, the spread was exciting, and the sushi was definitely good. I recommend this place if you like sushi/sashimi and/or Chinese food!
*Yes, sometimes I get the sushi packs at Safeway for lunch at work. They make them fresh, there’s high turn over and I’ve never felt ill afterward. The sushi they use just isn’t the best; it’s not terribly tasty.