I sent this picture to Jeri last night via cell phone
She sent back a message, "where did you find sushi?" It turns out that there are three sushi places within 2 blocks of each other in downtown Davis and when I checked the Davis Wiki this morning I discovered there are actually nine sushi restaurants in Davis! We decided that between now and May 18 we will check out four of them.
Last night we were at Jusco, which is across the street from one of the most popular sushi places in town, because of its all-you-can-eat sushi bar. It always has a long line outside it at noontime.
I don't know how long the lunch line is for Jusco, but it also has an all you can eat buffet, though not "buffet" in the traditional sense. You don't stand and choose your own food. Instead they give you a laminated menu and you mark what you want from the buffet, then they go off and get it for you.
The first thing I noticed about Jusco is that the menu of this sushi house included things like pot stickers and won ton. How that would have tickled our Japanese daughter, who thought it so funny to find Japanese items for sale in Chinatown in San Francisco. Here in this country we seem to group all Asians into some homogeneous group and think nothing odd about serving sushi with won ton. (I do admit, though, that I wonder how authentic the cream cheese wontons actually are. Do they serve them in China? I had no qualms about ordering them both before and after my sushi--I love anything fried and anything with cream cheese and when you fry cream cheese, it's like dying and going to heaven! And when it's part of an "all you can eat" menu, you don't feel guilty getting a second order.)
Jusco's decor is not plush, like Osaka was. There are booths with vinyl seats and high tables. Walt looked like he was sitting in a hole. There is no sushi bar. The counter where they collect the money has stacks of boxes of soft drink cans surrounding it. There is a nice mural of swimming fish on the wall. The lights hanging from the very high ceiling have faux orchids wrapped around the cord.
I was all prepared for a new sushi place with my "Sushipedia" for the iTouch, which shows you pictures of various types of sushi and explains what it in them.
No need for that at Jusco. There are several plastic cards on the wall of each booth which explain what's in things like a Panda Roll, Kitty Roll or an Orange Sherbert [sic], things which I suspect are unique to Jusco (but I'll find out as we travel around some of the other sushi places).
We ordered the cream cheese won ton and pot stickers to start with, then moved onto the sushi itself, with maguro (tuna) and ebi (shrimp). Walt ordered two types of salmon, smoked and not. I had to get spicy tuna, which has always been my favorite at Osaka and we ordered something called a Rainbow roll which had crab (probably krab) and other stuff inside it. It seemed like a lot of sushi and I was concerned we might not be able to finish. One thing about Jusco is that it really is all you can eat, but they charge you extra if you just eat the fish and leave the rice behind! Fifty cents for each rice ball left on your plate. Never heard of a restaurant with a penalty for leaving food before!
I have to say that overall it was OK, but not outstanding. I love the maguro, but where Osaka's tuna was thin, tender and seemed to mold itself around the rice, Jusco's was thicker, firm and lay on top of the rice and it was difficult to pick the two up together. The shrimp didn't seem as fresh and it was at Osaka. It even looked tired.
The biggest disappointment, though, was the spicy tuna. At Osaka it's like a tuna salad, nicely flavored, that comes on top of a nori (seaweed) wrapped bit of rice. I just love it. But at Jusco, the "spicy tuna" was a role with rice on the outside (no nori), very spicy (too spicy for me), black pepper flavored and with a chunk of celery that kind of took over the flavor. I didn't like it at all.
The edamame, however, was the best I've had. I don't know how quality of edamame can differ, since it's just cooked soy beans, but I just loved the edamame at Jusco.
It was all OK, but Jusco would not be my choice of a place to go every time we want sushi (though the price was much cheaper). Next week, for David's birthday, we'll try one of the other places in town as we continue our quest to find a replacement for Osaka.I did learn, though, that the original owners of Osaka sold the place a couple of years ago. so the people who closed the doors and walked away were not the people who started the restaurant in the first place. Those people still run their restaurant in Woodland, 10 miles away. We may have to drive in there to see if the quality is as good as we remember, especially if I can't find the right kind of spicy tuna at the 9 restaurants left in Davis.