Portland >Saburo's Sushi House Rstrnt
The huge portions, low prices, and proximity to Reed College explain the long lines (even in the rain), but the casual, neighborhood camaraderie of the joint brings people back.
Terrific Sushi worth the wait.
A couple of weeks ago my wife said she wanted to meet me for dinner at this sushi restaurant we hadn't tried but she said her fellow employees had raved about. I went on Citysearch and read the most interesting group of reviews. It seems that it was either the worst in the world or the best. The wait was said to be an hour, the sushi was terrible and the service awful from the downgraders.
First, the wait: There is a reason people are willing to wait. This town has never been known as a waiting town, so that should tell you something. The wait worked out because next door is a charming wine bar with a couple of decent microbrews, and you just hop up from time to time to check their list that is posted outside.
This restaurant is a hole in the wall. Many of the reviews commented that you had one shot at ordering. It seems that these people thought that with all the people waiting, they should linger, order a little, and then order a little more...get a grip aristocrats...this is not an aristocratic restaurant which you might have noticed when you looked in. What they do have is terrific sushi in HUGE portions for the price. Is it the best in the world? Well no, that would be in Tokyo, or New York(Nobu), but it was fantastic. Not even comparable to most of the sushi places in this town like the conveyor belt joints like Marineapolis. Yes you will probably over order. Unfortunately for us our 17 year old son was around when we got home and he cleaned us out. Darn, no breakfast. We were stuffed and the whole bill with beer was $50 with tip. My son ate for free a full meal.
The service was very good and polite, but they do want to accommodate the many people, that are waiting patiently, as possible. If you can't read and mark the wrong things on the menu(think Florida voting) at least in this case you will get a new dish that you will probably like, not George Bush.
So if you like great sushi and don't have a broom up there, you will love this place.
I have been back twice since then and am going tonight. Four times in two weeks and I live 10 miles away!!!!
Poor Service and uncleaned fish.
The last few visits to this restaurant made me to decide to write a review. The services were extremely poor. My son ordered a tempora shrimp, but they gave us a tempera shrimp noodle. We told them it was a wrong order, but the server said we marked our order wrong. It's not their problem. But the way, the order system is rediculous, you can easily mark it wrong. Any good restaurant which cares about customer will gladly to give you the right dish that you want to order. The noodle was horrible. We also ordered oysters in half shelves. I never seen the raw oysters was so big and so horrible. For your information, the smallest oysters are better. I really did not want to eat it. Again, they did not care. The Sashime dish was very disappointed as well. It looked it was the leftover trims. When you pointed it out to the server who said that's the way it was.
The worse part was we all got very sick the night we went home. I think the health dept needs to inspect their facility because we were sick twice.
Just because they gave you a bigger portion doesn't mean they should treat their customers this way. They keep raising their prices. They think their customers love their food so much that they can apply the strangest rules to them, such as you can only order once, so most people tend order more than they should. They only accept one check or one credit card when you pay. Why do they care how the customer pay? It is too inconvenient to them?
You want the big portion, do yourself a favor, go the Asian grocery stores where you can buy the sushi grade fish yourself. They are frest and cheaper. To stay in business, most restaurants provide good food and GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE. I wonder how long Saburo will stay in business if they continue treat customers so poorly. I will NOT go there again!
Sorry to hear that you had a horrible experience, unfortunately we are busy restaurant. We have a disclaimer in the front page of the menu that anything mark wrong we cannot take it back. We suggest customers when they order is minimal that if they could please try and order enough for everyone because our chef work extremely fast, but we have many tickets and the second orders do not come out right away.
SOOO Bad!!. How in the world did this place get rated so highly? I tried it based on it's high rating on CitySearch and my mouth actually feels assaulted. It smelled funny to begin with and it tasted worse. Old fish, mushy rice and imitation crab should say it all... but if you count artistic display I could go on. The rolls were sliced sloppily and each piece varied greatly in thickness and a couple of the rolls were thicker than my wrist - unable to be picked up with chopsticks. It tasted and smelled so bad I could not eat it. I was reminded that sushi is an art that not everyone can do. DON'T EAT HERE IF YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT SUSHI!!
When we have 60 people outside is very hard to take our time to make the best display, because most of our customers understanding we have our chef working as fast as they can to feed our customers.
Poor service... Food is ok but not worth the wait..
The fish was fresh and the flavor was ok to fair, but personally I think the size of the portions was a downside. When I go out for sushi I like trying as many different kinds of nigiri as I can , and maybe a couple of rolls. But there, after 2 or 3 orders of nigiri and sharing a roll with my friend, I was too full to try anything else and had to take the rest of my food home. Most sushi dishes, like rolls and nigiri, are supposed to be eaten in one bite (one exception being hand rolls of course). Some things just shouldn't be super sized
My other problem with this place was, unlike most good sushi restaurants, you can't add anything to your order. You have one shot to order your food and if you do decide you want to add one or 2 more items, they will make sure you know that you are a huge inconvenience to them. I really didn't appreciate this considering I waited 45 minutes to get seated, and another 20-30 to put my order in
Yeah I know, this is supposedly normal for that place. But honestly for me, it wasn't worth the wait at all. Sure, it's definitely cheap for the portion sizes, but personally Id much rather spend a little more for better service and be able to have a little more variety.
Excellent sushi, our choice. Like any good restaurant that doesn't take reservations, pick your time to avoid the crowds. 15 minutes before opening is always our choice, so we get served quickly. Generous portions of quite excellent sushi, sashimi, rolls, specials and noodle dishes. Casual, neighborhood vibe. We love it!
Good sushi, quite cheap.
This place has good sushi and the size of some of the rolls is huge. I tried quite a few of my favorite rolls like Unagi (eel), California, Spicy Tuna - all of them were good. The salmon raw sushi was also good.
In general, all of the sushi was decent to pretty good. The vegetable tempura was just okay.
Would definitely go there again (only wished it was closer).
The downside of the place is the wait - about 45 minutes or more on Friday evening. However, the service is quite fast, the wait is primarily from the place being small (in other ways, cramped).
The other thing that I found weird with the place is that you have to get all of your order in one shot - so, we just ended up ordering more than what we consumed and had about 2-3 servings of sushi as to-go (which was the case with many other customers).
Street parking is plenty.
Independence Day Vacation. SABURO's will be closed July 4th to July 7th for Independence Day.
Sushi as big as my fist!.
Saburo is a very popular sushi place. With their bigger than life sushi, it's hard not to be the talk of town.
Aside from how huge their sushi are, I don't think there's anything special about Saburo. The place is cramped, the wait is horrendous, the service is not superb, and the taste is so-so.
Regardless, I would eat at Saburo again, but I wouldn't be the one who suggested it.
Very Hard To Beat!!.
I was first introduced to Saburo’s when I was 14 and started taking Japanese in high school. Our sensei took us on a field trip to Saburo’s. I even remember the first thing I ever had, the yakitori.
17+ years later, I still frequent Saburo’s every chance I get, and most of the time I bring friend (or "new converts" as I like to call them). I find myself watching the newbies working on getting with the program, soon they’ll be able to order like regulars. Tony and the other staff are always polite, friendly, and accommodating—a lot of people are waiting to get in so things have to move quickly. Mr. Saburo (who can be found behind the counter most nights working with the other staff making the sushi) always seems to take a lot of pride when people complement their experience in his restaurant and thank him as they leave.
I have read many of the critics’ remarks, and I must say most people are way way off. Yes there are long waits--it’s a very popular joint! If you don’t like waiting, stop by, put your name on the list, go pick up the other members in your party, and be back in a half hour to an hour. Yes it’s a bit divey—but are you there for the food or are you there for the décor, cups, and plates? I have eaten a lot of sushi in my days and whenever I go out to other sushi restaurants I always find myself comparing their sushi to Saburo’s, and I honestly have never found any place around here that can compete with their food. I travel to Seattle frequently and I have searched high and low and nothing in the area can compete with Saburo’s food either. Same goes for Hawaii, I'm sad to say.
The fish is fresh, the sushi is creative, the prices are reasonable, and the portion sizes are great! Save what you don’t eat for a midnight snack, next days lunch, or otherwise—it will still be good then! My favorite is the salmon belly, the spicy tuna salad, and of course…the toro!
A couple of months ago while waiting to be seated, my girlfriend and I met some folks from LA that were very well to do and were very skeptical that Saburo's could match their LA sushi house quality, but decided to come anyway. The end result, the gentleman had one enthusiatic word, “Primo!”. I couldn’t have agreed more. See you there!!
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