Woo Chon5085 S McCarran Blvd.
Reno, NV 89502
There’s a guy who works at Woo Chon who takes the zany, aggressive sushi-chef shtick to the whole next level. When my brother and I first arrived and were seated, he was in the middle of a (seemingly) facetious debate with a girl who looked about 20. She was requesting a sushi roll, The King’s Beach Roll, and he was refusing. I assumed he was just kidding around and would eventually make her the roll, but the scenario dragged on for so long it soon became apparent that he really wasn’t going to make it.
The incident had apparently begun when the chef had given the girl a tantalizing bite—the end of one that he had made for someone else—and she liked it so much she requested one of her own. And he refused to make it.
“I can’t make it,” he said. “The other guy made it, and he went home.” The other chef, as if on cue, reappeared behind the counter. “Didn’t you go home?”
The other chef, without breaking pace or cracking a smile replied, “Yeah.”
This might all seem a little rude—but at the time, and maybe you had to be there, it was quite funny.
The first chef—the aggressive one—suggested that the girl talk to “those two handsome guys,” meaning, of course, me and my brother.
“I’ll hook you up, fellas,” he said to us. “Five dollars and I’ll hook you up.” He gestured to a couple with a newborn baby, “See. I hooked them up.”
The girl, laughing, but clearly starting to get frustrated, asked the chef his name.
“Tony,” he said, obviously lying, “If you’re going to call and complain, complain about Tony.” The fact that “Tony” had made the roll for someone else—a regular customer—and was refusing to make it for this girl seemed to suggest that he was favoring the regular customers to the expense of everyone else. He eventually explained that the roll had a preparation time of over 20 minutes (and the girl had been close to being done before her thwarted attempt to order the roll) and that it was an a la carte only item. He offered to buy her one the next time she came in, and this seemed to put her at ease (she had said that this was her favorite sushi place in town).
After she left I asked, “So, is Tony your real name?”
“What—are you from the IRS?” He eventually told us his real name is Jun.
Kooky chefs aside, Woo Chon has a nice ambience, refreshingly bereft of any trace of sports bar, unlike some other sushi joints. The decor is low-key and understated but stylish.
The sushi is a little run-of-the-mill. Certainly not bad, but not extraordinary either. We both had the $19.95 all-you-can-eat dinner special. The regular sushi ($3.50 a la carte; I had sake, unagi and tobiko, among others) are fair, the long rolls ($4.00 to $8.50 a la carte), like the signature woochon roll (tuna, crab, and avocado deep fried) and the cheap-joke viagra roll were good but tended to rely a little too heavily on hot sauce and sesame and other such accoutrements.
Still, the sushi was good enough that I took full advantage of the all-you-can-eat deal and overate—and even if the sushi is a tad mediocre, Woo Chon earns some extra points for atmosphere and a very entertaining sushi chef.