Extra credit resturant review
Extra credit: restaurant review
The Sushi Factory is nestled in the Meridian Park Plaza in South San Jose, amongst a family grocery store and smoke shop. From the outside it is remarkable only for sporting a small bell tower above the uniform brick complex, and for the oriental lanterns in the window.
On entering, one is struck by the ambiance of the simple but clean layout. There are intimate booths, generously spaced tables, and a comparatively long bar where customers can watch the chefs make fresh sushi. There is a huge round table in one corner for large groups. The oriental theme certainly contributes to the atmosphere but is not overdone and even seems an afterthought in spots.
Sushi Factory’s main claim to fame is its all-you-can-eat deal for $24.95, but the catch is that customers can only order three rolls each at a time and have to finish everything or be charged extra. Groups may share to get a larger variety but only if everyone orders the all-you-can-eat.
The menu is a clever twist on the norm, being laminated so customers can mark what they want on the page. While some Yelp reviewers brand the Sushi Factory a fake with high prices and Americanized parodies of Japanese cuisine, it actually has a comparatively expansive menu for a Bay Area sushi restaurant.
If it is overly priced, the portions are at least generous. The all-you-can-eat deal is almost not worth it. The portions being what they are, eating just the three or four rolls required to break even is enough to fill all but the most devoted eater. Sadly no to-go bags are allowed for this deal.
If it is unauthentic, the menu lends it character through the many colloquially titled rolls: the 49er roll, the San Francisco roll, the Sharks roll. Most come in 6-8 pieces and cost between $6 and $12. First timers will want to try the Super California roll, also known as the Crazy roll.
A California roll is primarily crab and avocado wrapped in steamed rice and seaweed paper. There are little orange fish eggs sprinkled on top called Tobiko which adds a smoky-salty taste. Normally served cold, the Crazy roll throws tradition for a loop by deep-frying the whole thing and adding a tangy house sauce to the top. Sushi fanatics may argue that deep-fried sushi is as authentic as a California accent, but try a few pieces and you won’t care.
The one hitch is the service. Although not authentically Japanese owned, the management seems bent on hiring immigrant workers who can’t read their own menu. Customers are often rushed through ordering, with any questions about the menu being grunted away or outright ignored.
Although the chefs are a credit to their position for both the quality of food and the show they put on making it, the servers are overwhelmingly rude and abrupt. On a typical visit don’t expect to see the server between ordering and the food arriving, or after until the check comes. Thankfully, the food does come fairly quickly, usually within 10 to 20 minutes depending on the size of the order.
Check the bill before adding a tip, as this place tends to include the gratuity in the total. On several occasions, servers have been known to question the amount given, literally following customers to the door asking, “Is this all?” For groups of more than two or three people, expect an apparently mandatory 18 percent gratuity charge.
The Bay Area is not lacking for sushi bars, and each one will make its faults known to the more than casual connoisseur. The Sushi Factory is a local favorite where the quality of the food arguably rolls the competition, but with the price hikes and declining service it is perhaps best saved for a rainy day.
Fast Fact Sheet
Address: 4632 Meridian Ave
San Jose, CA 95124
Phone number: (408) 723-2598
Hours: Mon-Thu 11:30 am – 9:30 pm
Fri 11:30 am – 10 pm
Sat 12 pm – 10 pm
Sun 12 pm – 9:30 pm
Price Range: $6-$30
Takes Reservations: Yes
Parking: Private Lot
Outdoor Seating: No
Good For: Lunch, Dinner
Alcohol: Beer & Wine Only