All-You-Can-Eat Sushi Quest: Mizu
Dinner: $23.99 +tax
Lunch: $13.99 +tax
(Add $2 on Fri-Sun & Holidays)
* Data is for Dinner Menu only (Click Here for Lunch Menu)
Types of Sushi: nigiri, maki, hand rolls, pizza
Sashimi Options: 7 (salmon, white tuna, red snapper, surf clam, crab stick, mackerel, egg)
House Special Rolls Available: 18
Vegetarian Sushi Options: 13 regular rolls, 2 House Special Rolls, 2 nigiri (+egg)
Tempura Options: shrimp, “crab”, eggplant, pumpkin, mushroom, sweet potato, broccoli, zucchini, (calamari – on appetizer menu)
Kitchen Selections: teriyaki & grilled items, deep fried items, fried rice, udon, ramen, Thai dishes, skewers, steamed dumplings
Dessert: ice cream (green tea, red bean, mango, vanilla), pudding (coconut, taro, mango), deep fried banana
Mizu All-You-Can-Eat is located on Portland Street in Dartmouth (on your way to Cole Harbour). This is the latest addition to AYCE sushi in Halifax, and the dining room sparkled with newness. The restaurant was relatively empty at 6:30pm on a Sunday, so we had the undivided attention of the servers, who were mostly quite friendly and helpful. They explained the contents of the plates as they brought them to the table. Pitchers of water ensured my glass was never empty.
The ordering system at Mizu is quite different than what we have previously encountered. Instead of a big ordering sheet, there are small pieces of blank paper at each table. Guests are required to write the alpha-numerical code of each item, followed by the amount desired. This is rather tedious and there is more room for error – especially if you have bad handwriting or dyslexic tendencies.
We did experience more mistakes at Mizu than at other locations. However, the servers were totally cool with bringing us the ordering sheets to determine where the error was made. Mostly it was our own mistakes. In the case where the restaurant made a mistake, our server simply removed the unwanted dish from our table. No problemo!
Included in the all-you-can-eat menu at Mizu are, interestingly enough, Thai dishes! Unfortunately, we had our stomachs tied up with sushi fare and didn’t get to try any of them.
First up – an order of sashimi.
I love the attention to aesthetics, especially the little swirls of fish. The red snapper was a little tricky to separate from its tightly wound construction, but everything was fresh and lovely. The mackerel was not too vinegary. It was everything I want in a mackerel.
We ordered a round of nigiri: unagi, salmon, red tuna, tomago and one piece of octopus for a curious diner. These pieces were medium sized – perfectly sized, in my opinion.
This is the first time we’ve encountered tuna as a AYCE nigiri option. This is also the first time we’ve seen red (Yellowfin) tuna.
Our teppanyaki items were pleasing – chicken skewers, bacon wrapped asparagus, beef rolls, teriyaki chicken. All were enjoyable. The bacon was not cooked to everyone’s preference – some people really liked it while others complained.
The cheese wontons had a thick cheesy centre that reminded us of party dip. I think this was the best rendition we’ve seen so far.
I’m realizing now that deep fried is the standard for gyoza, and it’s been pretty consistent across the board.
The deep fried tofu was just small and sad.
Sushi Pizzas are the most attractive we’ve seen thus far – they look pretty much exactly as depicted by the menu photos.
The Three Colour Roll contains mango, salmon and cream cheese. This roll would have been pretty solid if it wasn’t for the mango, which was under-ripe.
Everyone was intrigued by the Avocado Peanut Roll – I’ve never heard of such a combination! Crunchy, slightly sweet roasted peanuts and creamy avocado – the effect was perhaps best pronounced by Denton, who began to giggle uncontrollably. In spite of myself, I noticed a lingering giddiness after eating this roll. It might just be one of the “must-order-items” at Mizu, but I don’t think I’d eat much more than one piece.
There are 2 varieties of deep fried roll available: the Volcano Roll and the Deep Fried California Roll.
The Volcano Roll is described as “Deep Fried Assorted Raw Fish: with Spicy Sauce and Eel Sauce”. A couple of us agreed that this roll gave us the impression of eating fish ‘n’ chips. There was a substantial portion of cooked fish in a crispy batter. I enjoyed this roll a lot.
The Golden California Roll is just that – a deep fried California Roll, with “special sauce and mayo”. This roll had positive reviews, but I couldn’t help but be distracted by the slimy cooked cucumber.
The Spicy Salmon Roll was my favourite roll of the day. It was a fresh ball of simplicity in my mouth, with the perfect proportion of avocado and salmon. This may even be the best Spicy Salmon Roll we’ve had so far.
The Strawberry Banana Roll came recommended to us by a friend, but I think Talix described it best when she shrugged and said, “There are things in my mouth”. If you like strawberries and bananas, you will like this roll, I guess. But the combination is no more than a sum of its parts.
My beloved Salmon Skin Roll (not pictured) was disappointing. The skin was cooked to the point of being crunchy, so that there was no delicacy of flavour/texture and just this obstinate singularity of crunchy mass.
To make matters worse, a couple of the rolls fell apart on us. One of the particularly bad offenders was the Mango Roll. Don’t be fooled by its suave appearance – this roll is stuffed with fake crab, tempura bits and unripe mango and doused with that too-sweet mango sauce. It’s nice to look at, but it fell short of our expectations.
The Mizu Roll (not pictured): Spicy Salmon, Mango, Shrimp Tempura, Tempura Bit, Avocado, Wrapped with Rice Paper, was a crowd favourite.
The Pink Lady Roll is a roll packed with imitation crab salad with a sprinkle of tempura bits and topped with smoked salmon. I think this roll would work better in a sandwich. Way too much artificial crab for me.
The Brother Roll is on the small “Weekend Only” menu with no description, but it contains mango, crab stick, tempura bits and shrimp, and is topped with spicy salmon. This was actually one of our favourite rolls of the day.
Some other “Weekend Only” items we tried:
“Crystal Shrimp Dumplings”, which were entirely too thick and gummy.
Sashimi Beef, served in a tightly wound ball on a bed of raw onions. The beef was well marinated, and a tasty departure from the usual flavours encountered in a sushi dinner.
For dessert, the deep fried banana comes highly recommended.
We had a great experience at Mizu, and I would definitely go back!
Favourite Rolls: Spicy Salmon, Brother Roll, Volcano Roll, Avocado Peanut Roll, Mizu Roll
Other Favourites: Sashimi & Nigiri (esp. Red Tuna, Salmon & Mackerel), Teppanyaki items (esp. Grilled Asparagus in Bacon Roll), Cheese Wontons, Deep Fried Banana
The Good: Variety, Portions, Freshness, Novelty, Aesthetics, Atmosphere, Service
The Not-So-Good: Ordering System, Structural Integrity (of some rolls), Unripe Mango/Crunchy Salmon Skin