Chris didn’t even think we should bother “reviewing” this restaurant since we were so not impressed.
Last week, we were on the east side of East Lansing with no particular plan. I mentioned there was a “new” asian/sushi place in the same strip mall so we decided to check it out. All I could remember from the review I’d read, several months ago, was that it was busy thanks to the student population (now on summer break) and the ambience was pretty lush.
The restaurant, Ai Fusion, opened in the fall. It has the same owners as Ukai Japanese Steakhouse, which also serves sushi.
The restaurant had a pretty upscale feel with a cushy couch in the waiting area, several private rooms, ornate chairs and a large sushi bar centered in the main dining room. On the down side, there were several flat screen tvs scattered about. Tonight, game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals, that was okay but to me a high end restaurant shouldn’t be catering to the sports fans.
Second disappointment: they serve Pepsi products. Yes, I could have had hot tea or even sake or beer but it was a weeknight and tea doesn’t quite cut through the spicy sauces I like as much as a carbonated beverage will.
Chris had teriyaki chicken. I had spicy tuna roll and a Bettina Roll from the sushi menu. I’m almost positive I also marked yellowtail with scallion too but it didn’t come and we didn’t get charged for it. The rolls are pretty big so that worked out for the best anyway. The spicy tuna roll was just tuna mixed with some spicy sauce. It was very spicy and I was disappointed to not have any cucumber or avocado. The Bettina roll is shrimp tempura and avocado wrapped in rice then topped with more spicy tuna. If I’d know how spicy this was going to be, I wouldn’t have ordered more of it. I may be more particular than I realized but I don’t like it when the tuna is diced up and mixed with the spicy sauce. I can’t help but suspect the sushi chef is using lesser quality tuna and is covering that up.
Dinners and sushi are served with salad and miso. The salad was a bit more than the usual iceberg lettuce and carrots- mine had red bell pepper and celery. Topped with the typical ginger dressing, which I thought was overly sweet but Chris was happy with. Miso soup was your basic run of the mill; I much prefer when they add a little seaweed or scallions in to the broth.
When I asked Chris how he’d rate this restaurant he said “3 out of 10.” Then he said he didn’t think it was worth blogging about. His comments was “it wasn’t great but it probably won’t make you sick.”
Consensus is that we might return there, for the sushi only, if we got a positive review from someone else or if the line at another, better, sushi place was too long. Ambience was a plus, non-sushi dish was bad, sushi was okay. service was average.
Other places in the area that serve sushi:
San Su on Hagadorn. I’ve been there and like it but its quite busy. They recently moved in to larger digs
Omi Sushi – In Downtown East Lansing. I have not eaten here but Chris has. They seem to have a lot of the sushi rolls that he likes- tempura everywhere!
MIdori – Under new management since my last visit. I felt they were a little over-priced but the rolls were fresh and tasty.
Akagi Sushi – Never been, don’t know much about.
Best sushi within a decent drive (both price and flavor) is in Flint:
Sagano Japanese Bistro, 2065 S Linden Rd, Flint, MI 48532
Service can be a little slow but they have great prices, a nice variety and a separate dining area with hibachi grills (Classic Japanese steakhouse) if you want your entertainment with dinner instead of after.