A Warning... (Zokku - Sacramento, CA)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Dear me, dear me, dear me. And after I had found such a lovely sushi place in Davis, I had to go and tempt fate with some trendy poser; tempting me with its anime logo, fancy drinks, and cleverly named sushi rolls. Who is to blame? Myself for wanting to go? Rob for saying he wanted to go to sushi (was that Hell freezing over?). That circus gypsy whose daughter I ran over with a car, and cursed me as punishment? The restaurant for selling an experience they couldn’t deliver? Three of the four reasons are aptly the cause. I think I’m confusing my life with the movie Thinner on the other, but the experience is comparable.

Regardless, let’s break down the night and the meal. Rob, I, and our friend Eric had decided to head out to Zokku, the newest of a line of trendy sushi places. We hadn’t heard much about the place so we figured on giving it the once over. Upon entering we were awe struck. Were we in a Vegas gambling hall? A tacky night club? A cheesy pickup bar? 1985? The strange d├ęcor that beats your eyes with a bike chain of try-to-hard trendiess is just… wrong.

Big glass cubes building walls from a 1980’s hair salon, uber chic Ikea lights of all kinds, the bar having big pieces of plastic rock that belong in a Vegas tropical themed hotel pool. It was all smashed together. The red walls were the only things remotely Asian. You would never know it was a sushi restaurant. Had you not seen the menu, Zokku’s choice of cuisine could be interchanged with any other kind of hipster offerings.

Rap music blared out loudly over the restaurant. Not that I mind rap, but not with my sushi thanks. Louder still were the annoying twenty-somethings (yeah, I’m 23, shut up) yelling loudly to be heard over the music. It just makes you eager to leave.

The appetizer, my sushi, and Eric’s tempura all arrived at the same time. Aren’t appetizers usually a first course type of thing? The appetizer of prawns with mango salsa and garlic sauce was really, prawns with strips of mango and honey for dipping. Totally wrong.

The tempura was tempura, you can’t botch it and it tasted damn good. My sushi was fine, nothing fantastic. Another designer roll with sauces, avocado, etc. It was tasty, but nothing you can’t get at every sushi place. 20 minutes later, Rob got his teriyaki chicken. Truly amazing, some of the shibbiest teriyaki I have ever had. If only we hadn’t had to wait for it for 20 minutes.

At one point a waiter came to our table pointed to us and yelled to the other staff “As soon as these people leave I’ll just join these tables up for that big group coming in!” sweeping his hand across the empty tables and us in a dismissive manner. Nice to know we were taking up their valuable space.

The sake section had issues. The sakes were not priced in the menu. I hate asking to know the prices as it makes me feel cheap, which I can be at times but I don’t want to acknowledge it. Our waitress gave me the rundown of the prices and it was all reasonable. No complaints there. What did bother me was her complete lack of knowledge of any of the sake. Her friend she called over to help her out was equally clueless. I dismissed the sake idea and ordered a sidecar. Classic drink; all bartenders should know this one. It was all whiskey and lime juice. The glass was rimmed with sugar and there were cherries and limes in the glass, mocking me.

My friend Megan had a similar experience. She and her dining companion had their plates whisked away without a chance to protest that 1) they weren’t done eating what was on those plates, and 2) they wanted more food, which was not offered as an option. The check was brought to them. Upset, the paid it, left, and went out to another place as they weren’t full. She also noted the drinks were all “glowing lime green things that tasted bad."

My summary: Tacky, loud place with okay food, bad drink, and customers are a nuisance to the people working there.

419 J Street
Sacramento , CA 95814

(916) 498-9384


  1. Oh God, that sounds terrible! I had a couple of bad restaurant experiences recently and it is just the worst thing. I always think, "dammit, I could have eaten better food if I'd cooked tonight and I wouldn't have to tip for this rubbish service."

    I'm always very suspicious of restaurants that try to be that trendy. I've found that the food and service are a low priority in these places and they rely on their image to bring people in.

  2. I hate wasting a perfectly good meal at a bad restaurant.

  3. I HIGHLY recommend Nishiki on 16th and P downtown!

    We are sushi-heads and eat there at least 2 times a month.

    Give it a shot and let us know what you think.

    Be sure to try the Spicy Johnnie and the General roll.

    Freshest, most succulent Sashimi in town

  4. Capeless Superman: Honestly, I do like Mikuni's and Dragonfly. They have yet to dissapoint me.

    Ros & S'kat: Seriously! I mean WTF? I go out to enjoy food someone else makes. Not wish I made it myself.

    royarose: I will totally hit that when I get the chance! Thanks for the heads up!

  5. miyagi on fair oaks and munroe is the best sushi in sac.
    -this lil "grrl" wouldn't lie. ;)

  6. Miyagi is good! It's a small space, with lots of traditional rolls. in the shopping plaza with Blockbuster.

  7. Wow. It's amazing that they are still in business, seems like quite a few people had a bad experience there. How rude is it to move someone who is eating or to talk rather loudly about when that customer's table is empty!

    Someone needs to take a few courses on BUSINESS for real!

  8. OMG! i just discovered your blog! I actually managed to read every post you wrote. you are sooo hilarious! i kept quoting you to my boyfriend. PLUS all that entertainment gave me a ton of new bookmarked recipes!

  9. That sounds awful.

    One of my pet peeves is being rushed through dinner...I HATE IT. If I wanted to rush through dinner, I would eat at home....I love the slow pace of a great meal out.

  10. Your salient review inspired me to dig up an old one from my archives and post it on sacrag.com. Thanks for reminding me and all of us that there is no excuse for Zokku. It's a failure on every plane.

  11. My all-time favorite sushi place was Taka's. However, they closed down their S Street location and re-opened their new venture: Zen Sushi. (900 15th street, Sacramento, CA)

    They still serve our favorite: the Zig Zag Handroll - which is incredibly delicious, filled with tempura softshell crab, avocado, rice and garlic sauce. Mmmm...

    Check it out some time.

  12. Oh man, nothing worse than a disappointing dinner. Trying a new restaurant is entertainment and I hate it when it disappoints.

  13. Haha, we went in and waited in the lobby for about 10 minutes, looking around. All we got were a few bad looks, so we just left. Looks like that was a fortunate thing.

  14. Oh, Sushi Unlimited is very good Mikuni-style sushi. Delicious cream cheese rolls.


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