Friday, Victoria and I headed out to Gekko Sushi for a fun bestie’s lunch. We decided on a little sushi joint down in Old Fourth Ward near City Hall East and the Ponce City Market. Arriving at noon, we both scored super great parking spots adjacent to the building. Many other reviewers have bemoaned the parking, but we didn’t have an issue.
The restaurant itself is a trendy little joint, well decorated, and definitely a comfy lunch place. We were seated immediately and the service was pretty great. Our waitress seemed on top of things for the most part – water was always filled, plates were cleared away quickly, and food arrived right on time. Granted, they were the very opposite of busy so not sure what would have happened had the place been hoppin’!
On to the food! A little disclaimer first: Japanese cuisine is not something I normally eat in-town. We live far too close to Buford Highway and other surrounding ethnic areas that generally (but not always) serve better quality food for way less money. Also, having an Asian husband means he’s very picky about where we eat Asian food. Just like I’m super picky about Southern food. Not always fair, often biased, but it is what it is. Second, I worry about a restaurant that always has some kind of half-off deal going on. To me, that screams no confidence in their food and a problem with over-pricing.
Moving on – we shared a calamari salad. The salad consisted of mixed greens, fried calamari, and a sweet chili sauce dressing. This little guy could have been a big hit especially since the chili sauce had a great flavor to it and a lovely kick, but they DROWNED the salad in the sauce. All you tasted was the sauce and the calamari became a dripping, soggy mess. Fried calamari should always be crisp. So I suggest ordering the sauce on the side.
(The beek teriyaki version of my meal – just with a spring roll in the gyoza’s place. Pictures both courtesy of Gekko’s website and FB page)
For my main course, I went with the tonkatsu bento box lunch special. The bento comes with tonkatsu, white rice, a veggie spring roll, 4 pc California roll, salad, and miso soup. A very fair amount of food for $9. I was a bit disappointed to see the spring roll instead of the advertised gyoza – why isn’t their menu correct or why don’t they inform you of the change? But I quickly got over my issue because the spring roll was maybe the best part of the meal. It was quite flavorful. Sadly, everything else was sub-par. The tonkatsu was over cooked, almost burnt. The salad was drenched in ginger and suffered from the same soggy problems as the calamari salad. The miso soup was so SALTY. I had to drink it so slowly. And the sushi tasted like Publix sushi. The rice was utterly forgettable.
If the food had been half the price or if I had been able to use the half-off deal, I would have dealt with the problems much better. But this is just another example of a trendy in-town restaurant with meh-food and prices that are too hard to swallow. Not worth the drive with Buford Highway so much closer.
(Another note: Victoria asked if she could substitute her California roll for a Veggie roll – fairly simple request. The waitress suggested she just take the California roll without the crab meat. Victoria agreed to this and asked for extra carrot. Homegirl told her no, that everything was pre-made. You know what that means? Nothing is fresh.)