All you can’t eat

Chef Daniel’s Siena Tower: spicy ground yellowfin tuna, spicy crab, avocado, rice and two kinds of flying fish eggs.

Chef Daniel’s Siena Tower: spicy ground yellowfin tuna, spicy crab, avocado, rice and two kinds of flying fish eggs.

Photo By Allison Young

Sushi Saga is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Sushi Saga has taken over an oddly shaped space in the corner of the Siena Hotel Spa Casino that looks like it was probably once part of the coffee shop. The look is modern, but the red booths and carpets paired with yellow chairs made me feel like I was in a McDonald’s, albeit a fancy McDonald’s. Sushi Saga offers an a la carte menu as well as an all-you-can-eat menu (AYCE). I met my friends Judy, Annette and Brett there on a Sunday afternoon. We were all pretty hungry so we decided to do the AYCE option ($19 for lunch, $24 for dinner), even though I was a little concerned about the limited choices on the AYCE menu. It excluded any signature rolls and even basics like upside-down shrimp.

When our waitress finally came over, she brought another AYCE menu, meaning our table of four now had two menus. Um, thanks? As she darted off, I managed to call out for water. Brett and I had signed up for the Siena’s rewards program as we noticed a billboard offering, “buy one AYCE sushi, get the second at half price.” When she returned to collect our orders, Brett showed her the rewards card, but she indicted she didn’t need it until the end.

We placed our order and waited and waited and waited. For a lunchtime crowd, one sushi chef and one waitress does not cut it. After about half an hour, I realized the only way I was going to make it through this lunch was with the assistance of alcohol. Somehow, I managed to flag down our server to order a large Sapporo ($8). Before anyone else at the table could place an order, she again scurried away.

About 35 minutes in, the sushi chef brought out two rolls, apologized for the delay, and indicated they were very busy. Yes, who knew that on a weekend at lunchtime a restaurant would be busy? The two rolls brought out, the Nevada and the Priscilla, were large and looked good, so we thought things might be turning around. Instead, both rolls were missing key ingredients like scallops and cilantro on the Priscilla and mango and seared tuna on the Nevada. About this same time, another sushi chef arrived, and we again foolishly assumed things would speed up and improve. Cue another 20 minutes while we waited for our nigiri and remaining rolls.

Every roll we ordered seemed to taste the same, except the Ninja, which was deep-fried and just tasted burnt. We realized the rolls all tasted the same because they were all missing ingredients. While the fish was fairly fresh, they skimped on it. Additionally, the rice would not stay together, causing a huge mess.

We all wanted more sushi but at this point, but we had been at the restaurant for well over an hour and were just done. When our server finally brought the bill, I offered up my rewards card. She told us we didn’t get the discount because we hadn’t all ordered drinks. This might have been helpful to indicate when we first showed her the card, but then again, that still would have required she actually take our drink order. She agreed to discount one meal—probably based on my large beer and exasperated look.

Don’t bother with Sushi Saga. The AYCE menu is limited and overpriced, the sushi isn’t that great, and the service was horrid. There are far too many sushi restaurants in this town to waste your time here.