Saturday we visited Zuki Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi in Mokena, IL to celebrate my daughter's 18th birthday with friends. This is a chain with several locations in Indiana, South Carolina, and Ohio.
It's a restaurant similar to Benihana, in that they have chefs table side that cook your food on an iron plate and artfully slice, dice and flip your food, even flipping food into diner's mouths.
I had visited Zuki last weekend, and ordered sushi, but did not sit at the chef tables. The sushi was excellent, fresh and well prepared.
Our visit on Saturday was highly disappointing. The chef tables were crowded and diners were quite loud with the cheering and laughing at their chef's showmanship. It definitely seemed like a fun a place to go with a group of people and enjoy the show. However, our chef was not a particularly good showman, and between the waitress and the chef, our dining experience was sub par. Our chef blamed the waitress on messing up our orders. Another diner and I had ordered steamed rice, rather than fried rice to go with our meal, but the chef put fried rice on our plates. When he saw he did not have enough to go around, he questioned us as to who had fried rice. When the other diner and I said we ordered steamed rice, he unceremoniously took our plates, scooped off the fried rice, mixed it with what was left on the iron plate and served it to other people in our group, completely forgetting about our steamed rice. We had to remind the chef about our steamed rice and we weren't served it until after our entrees were plated and 1/2 eaten. My kids ordered 2 types of sushi rolls each and Red Bean Miso Soup. They were served their soup, but after the chef had completed cooking our orders on the iron plate, their sushi was nowhere to be found. They sat there with empty plates, while the rest of our party was finishing their food.
As we dined, we heard other tables celebrating birthdays with the staff singing happy birthday. This unnerved me and I went to the hostess stand to complain and mentioned several times that it was my daughter's 18th birthday celebration and this was no way to celebrate with her and her brother not being served their food, while the rest of us ate our meals. The hostess apologized and swiftly walked to the kitchen to get their sushi orders going. She came back quite awhile later with their sushi orders (my daughter's was wrong, but she didn't mention it until we left the restaurant...she was seated at the other end of the table and was unable to let me know because of the distance and noise.) The hostess said she would be sending over another sushi roll, complimentary to make up for the error. Awhile later the complimentary sushi roll was delivered. It was a very spicy tuna roll. It was so spicy, my son was sweating bullets after eating his 1/2 of the portion. Why would you serve kids such a spicy dish? And moreover, why would you choose a spicy sushi roll as the complimentary sushi roll in the first place?
Shortly after the complementary dish was served, the check was delivered. No birthday song...nothing. I don't know if the hostess thought I was scamming her about the birthday celebration, or what, but my daughter did have several gift bags of presents, so I don't know how they could have missed that it really was her birthday celebration.
To add insult to injury, my credit card was charged twice for our portion of the check. I let my friend who paid the other portion know so she could check with her bank to find out if hers was also charged twice. I haven't yet heard from her if that was the case.
I really wanted to like this place. The food was very good, but the service we was received was very disappointing.
I don't think I can honestly recommend this restaurant based on our experience Saturday night. I highly doubt that we will return. I did not feel that the complimentary sushi roll was adequate to compensate us for the poor service and lack of professionalism of the chef and wait staff. Our party of eight was very disappointed that my daughter's birthday celebration was ruined.
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