Thursday, October 23, 2008

Ken’s Sushi & Japanese Restaurant- 10.16.08

Here is the latest installment of Nashville Eats It’s ABCs.  Coming right at you with no apologies and no regrets.  The straight talk express is chugging it’s way into the station and taking no prisoners.  All we can do is hope for change.  Spare change, that is. To feed our bellies.  So today we’ve arrived at the letter K.  
Friends, may we introduce you to Ken’s Sushi?  Thank you, we will.   

This is the true confession of a self-described “adventure eater”….  I have been a lazy eater of late and feel like I have lost my edge.  I used to keep notes of strange little restaurants that I’d drive past in hopes to drag Hank and Eddie off to some far away culinary land and taste the bounty of the unknown eatery.  But that seems likes like the distant past. These past few months I’ve been all about the quick, easy, painless and bland lunch.  Maybe I’ve had too much on my mind lately.  Or maybe it is that I still remember that mystery illness from that dad-blame Indian buffet in England …  (probably the later).  But surprisingly, Ken’s Sushi sounded like a fine idea for lunch today.    

I’ve been to Ken’s probably a dozen times before.  It is one of those places that you either love or vehemently don’t love.  The vibe and décor is less than appealing.  Cheap chairs, bad lighting, linoleum floor and not particularly inviting.  Some folks claim that is it inexpensive and a good bargain for great sushi.  Well, I don’t really agree or disagree.  Let’s just say that I’m a moderate as it pertains to Ken’s.    

Today I went “all-in’..  and going “all-in” at a sushi place means flaunting my love and ability to eat slabs of raw fish in front of people who shudder and wince at the thought.  Namely Eddie. (Hah!) I ordered the sashimi and received squid, tuna, salmon, yellowtail and some other thing that I’ve had multiple times but never remember the name of.  
The food was good.  However, the setting was less than good. So, if you want good, quick, dependable sushi for lunch, Ken’s might fit the bill.  If you’re looking for great sushi and a great vibe during lunch, there are better.  Ken’s = passable.    

Sidenote:  A few days ago when hanging out at my regular morning coffee haunt (Crema – Nashville’s BEST coffee shop), I was introduced to Jim Ridley of the illustrious Nashville Scene.  This is one good guy so I wanted to give a shout-out to Jim and say thanks for his fine work in the field of culinary journalism.  I can only hope to have his job one day... (hint hint)       

This was my first visit to Ken’s Sushi in the Vandy neighborhood.  This was my last visit to Ken’s Sushi in the Vandy neighborhood.  Ok...the only thing I could think about while sitting in the restaurant was how in the world this place got a health score of 89!?!  The floors were filthy...probably hadn’t been washed in months!  The back dining area, where we were seated, seemingly doubled as a storage area with clutter spilling out from behind a partition wall...and while walking out I couldn’t help but notice the dirty chest freezer behind the sushi bar.  I’m sure I could go on...but you get the picture.  I’m not asking for perfection when it comes to cleanliness...but please put forth a little effort.  It’s really not that hard!   I’ll get off my soapbox for a second and talk about the food.  

I got a California roll, a spicy tuna roll and water to drink.  It was fine...probably would have tasted much better if I wasn’t so hung up on the dirty floors!  With tax & tip...the total came to $11 and change.  Honestly...I would have rather saved $5 and picked up sushi at Kroger and ate it back at my office.   

Here’s a quote from me that Ken’s can use for their marketing...FREE OF CHARGE!    
“If you like eating at dirty’ll LOVE Ken’s!!!” -Hank   

I will proudly admit that I am not a fan of sushi; not that there's anything wrong with it; just not my thing.  Thankfully, Ken's menu has a decent variety of non-sushi options.  The Bento Box was tasty and very satisfying; and appropriately priced too.  Both the exterior and the interior were noticeably grimy; especially in the back dining/storage room.


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