Houston >Food & Dining > Azuma Sushi & Robata Bar-Rice Village
5600 Kirby Dr Ste 5, Houston, TX | Directions 7700529.720865 -95.418821
Neighborhoods: West University Place, Southwest
Great Sushi, Fun Place – We went to Azuma on a Tuesday at 7pm. It wasn't crowded. We sat at the bar. The food was excellent. This place is worthy of all the attention it receives. The sushi chef's were so much fun and very friendly and even passed around free Sake. Can't beat free Sake.The manager came around checking on the customers.
Crazy Irish Man Roll Rox! – Azuma has good sushi, but some of their menu items are overpriced. My husband ordered the tuna steak tar tar and it had no flavor whatsoever. The Downtown Azuma, on Texas Ave (I believe), has horrible service. They served us our drinks and I guess they figured we'd get drunk and forget to order our food because it seemed like an eternity before they ever returned to accept our order! On the other hand, the Azuma near Rice Village/West U has a great ambience and good service, but definitely be prepared to wait- there's always a waiting list.
Pretty darn good – Compared to some of the places in this area, Azuma is a pretty good deal. The ambience is nice, the restaurant is clean, and the food is good. I've been twice and both times everyone in the group has enjoyed the food. My first time was on a Sunday afternoon. I was shocked at how busy it was. Personally, I think it's a good sign when a place like this is busy during a non-peak hour. My second visit was on a Thursday night. Again, it was fairly busy and the restaurant seemed to have repeat clients. Unlike RA, which I feel relies mostly on looks and has very little substance, I can see myself going to Azuma for a RELAXING meal. The staff is efficient, yet could give off a little more warmth.
Overrated – First off, I usually do not write reviews for restaurants, but after my dining experience here I feel the need to go through the trouble to make a username on this site just to write this one review. Before I made reservations for this restaurant I read the reviews to see how how it is rated, many said they had a horrible host staff and such...but I gave this restaurant a try anyways hoping it would not disappoint me.
I made reservations for a birthday party, when we got there I don't think I've seen the hostess smile once the whole time I was there. I had a few more people that came to join us for dinner last minute, the hostess came over and rudely told me that I had to call back next time if I had more people and we have to spend at least $450 of food if we had more than 14 people, maybe she was rude to us because we look like we just graduated high school and don't think that we deserve the same treatment as an adult that would tip just as well. So we had a total of 16 people that sat down to eat, so they expected each of us to spend about $30 a person, I was outraged, half the time I was going back and forth between the table talking to the waitress to try to resolve the $450 limit problem. Our waitress was very nice and probably if it wasn't her I would've left and cancelled the rest of our food, she tried her best to help take care of the situation and talked to the manager about it. So the bill was roughly about $325 and she said that the manager said that we had to order another $125 to go. My friends saw that was happening and a few of them felt obligated to leave earlier so they didn't have to make us order to reach our $450 limit. On top of that the manager said that if we now as in LEAVE RIGHT AWAY, they would settle it by adding 20% tip of $450 to our $325 bill. I don't know if it is because we are a bunch of college students or what but I don't think anyone should be treated like this. Other than that, waitress was very nice to us.
terrible service and not so fresh sushi – To date, this is by far the worst sushi restaurant I have been to around the Houston area. We arrived for a slightly later seating on a Saturday night, around 9:30. The place was still pretty crowded but the hostess took us to a table that had not been wiped down, felt greasy, and still had the prior patrons credit card slip in the middle of the table. We sat there for about 10 minutes looking at the menu before the waiter approached us to ask if we wanted something to drink. We quickly ordered our usual starters - edamame and miso soup. The miso soup came out lukewarm, with a regular soup spoon, a few measly pieces of seaweed and no tofu. I was starting to have my doubts especially as we had liked the downtown Azuma when we had eaten there. The rest of the meal was a disaster. They brought out our sushi rolls one by one, forgot to bring any ginger or wasabi, and the spicy tuna roll had so much cayenne pepper sprinkled on it, it was inedible. The spicy yelllowtail was fine, a little strong like the fish had been sitting out for awhile, and the Azuma roll was actually pretty good. We also got the sushi combo A. The california roll that came with it on the menu was actually the king crab version, we requested the crab stick substitute which they charged us for, despite it being a cheaper substitute. Half the fish from the sushi combo was inedible. It had the smell of a grocery store fish aisle where the fish has been sitting out on ice all day. The yellowtail actually appeared dirty. Don't even get me started on the lackluster service. After the waiter finally came by when the meal was half done and I asked for a refill on my soda, he took the glass away and didn't return. I eventually had to get up, walk over to the bar where he was chatting with some coworkers and request my soda again. I rarely bother writing reviews for restaurants, even ones that I really enjoy. Do yourself a favor and go to the Azuma restaurant downtown or The Fish, way better sushi and service.
Great place for the weekends or weekdays – No matter what day I go in, the staff are always smiling and happy to serve us. It just makes our night to a wonderful evening. The food is great and never have any issue with food. Except over eating...
Lazy, unhospitable staff – After just moving to Houston from New York I've been eager to find a local sushi restaurant to enjoy. I eat sushi several times a week and have always tried to find a place where I can eat good quality seafood and get to know the staff personally. Azuma WILL NOT be that place. After hearing good reviews about the place a friend and I decided to check it out. We both work in the restaurant business so our eating schedule is the opposite from that of most people. When we arrived it was about 15-20 minutes before their sign said they closed for lunch. We felt bad because we both know what it's like to have someone show up shortly before close but we decided since he was from out-of-state we'd go in anyway. A hostess greeted us at the door simply by telling us that the kitchen was closed. We looked again at the sign on the door to make sure we hadn't read it wrong but the fact was they decided not take in 2 customers because they didn't feel like it. I was extremely offended because neither of us has ever turned a customer away in the years we've spent working in restaurants, especially when according to the sign they were still open. They had an opportunity to make a loyal customer who would come again and again and introduce new people to the business regularly but instead I refuse to ever set foot in there again. Last time I checked restaurants were in the hospitality industry... there is nothing hospitable about turning someone away.
You must try the entree called "Azuma Seafood" – I went to Azuma last night with a group of friends. I did not feel like sushi so I got the Azuma Seafood instead. It was absolutely divine!!! Highly highly recommended. It is a mix of shrimp, fish (not sure what kind, but it was the best part of the dish), scallops, mushroom, some other vegetables and seafoods, etc in a very tasty sauce, plus rice on the side. Yum!
The decor is great, the atmosphere/ambience is wonderful. It gets pretty crowded - we had to wait 30 mins for a table on a Thursday around 7:30pm.
Great Place – I heard so many great things about azuma that i had to come and see it for myself. As i walked into azuma, I was greeted with a chirpy petite hostess with a huge smile on her face. she happily ( I mean very happy) sat us at a table. My server was exceptional! I explained to her that this was my very first time dining at azuma and that i needed some help. She explained to us that the red devil man roll and the crazy irishman are amongst the most popular rolls there. i went ahead and took her suggestion and boy it was amazing! I definitely will be coming back and try some other things out.
Avoid it – I am not sure why anyone goes there, particularly when there are so many excellent Japanese restaurants with better service and more reasonable prices. The sushi was not fresh. It is also strange that they have robata bar in their name, but everything we ordered from the robata grill was either fried or pan seared. All this with an outrageous tab.
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