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Scattershot sushi 

Sushi Jet’s scattered service leaves a more lasting impression than its food.

click to enlarge Sushi Jet’s Green Dragon roll is perfectly fine.
  • Sushi Jet’s Green Dragon roll is perfectly fine.

Sushi Jet has managed to do the unthinkable and survive the Crown Diner Curse of 5171 Salter Street and crawl its way up to the bright lights of Spring Garden Road. Late last year, it traded places with its sister restaurant, In Spring, which is still holding down the Metro Park location.

It's barely past 5pm when my friend and I head in for dinner before an early movie, and the back half of the restaurant is already mostly full. The space is airy, with comfortable booths lining the walls and simple, modern tables and chairs that mesh well with the streamlined Machine Age decorative echoes of former tenant Deco that pop up around the Asian prints on the walls.

We're quickly asked if we want all-you-can-eat or if we'd prefer a traditional menu. We choose the latter and are ushered to a booth in the empty front of the restaurant where we're left alone for around 15 minutes, the playlist switching from Bruno Mars to Taylor Swift and back again while we twiddle our thumbs and try to get our server's attention. We spend our time trying to read labels on the taps and figure out what beer is in the fridge since we have no drink menu.

When our server eventually returns, we place our order, stopping her in her attempt to beat a hasty retreat so we can order drinks, too. The Sapporo draught we identified across the room doesn't pan out as the taps are broken, so after she lists our options we get cans of Asahi Super Dry pale ale. She leaves, only to come back again to clarify our order; she can't remember one of the items. She returns again a minute or two later to ask "would you like something to drink?" After a moment of genuine Groundhog Day-level surprise, we both start to stutter "Asahi" and she tells us she suddenly remembers.

I legitimately don't understand why servers choose not to use notepads. A notepad doesn't get in the way of a nice human interaction, and servers certainly shouldn't feel they need to be computers that wear tennis shoes. There is more to question about the service at Sushi Jet, though.

Once the food starts coming out of the kitchen, it comes fast and in an incredibly haphazard order. First we get maki rolls, then tempura, then more rolls, then our main courses, followed, finally, by the miso soup and salad appetizers that accompany one of the meals. This lazy, "ready when it's ready!" scattershot service—sending plate by plate whenever it's ready, no matter the order—absolutely does not work in a sushi restaurant setting. It doesn't really work in any setting, even though it has become somewhat commonplace these days. It is bullshit. It is not convenient for restaurant guests to all eat at different times. It's only convenient for a poorly-run kitchen.

The way this food was delivered made the meal feel harried, and made us, as diners, feel rushed. There's comfort in the custom and routines of a well-considered meal. And that was missing here. There is more thoughtfulness in a McDonald's employee arranging the components of a Big Mac combo on a tray than there is in tossing a bowl of miso soup on a table at the end of a meal.

Frankly, the food barely requires mention. Sure, there is something great in having a yam tempura ($6.79) appetizer that cuts out the need for the sad compromise of eating the soggy zucchini coin, and Sushi Jet's tempura batter is light and airy. The unagi don ($14.99) is fine. The beef short rib teriyaki ($13.95) is fine. The Green Dragon roll ($10.99) is fine. The miso soup is fine. The salad is fine. It's all fine; it's just as middle-of-the-road as 90 percent of the Japanese food in Halifax.

Sushi Jet
5518 Spring Garden Road
Mon-Thu, 10am-10pm;
Fri-Sat, 11am-11pm; Sun 12-10pm

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