This is probably the worst restaurant experience we have had during the 2.5 years we have lived in Key West. The service was not good. We sat at the sushi bar, but we had to explicitly request a menu from the waiter. There were only a few other people in the restaurant, but the waiter seemed out of it. We ordered a $9 glass of wine and a $4.50 draft beer, which seemed to take a really long time to be served. We also had two-for-one drink coupons, and we told the waiter we were going to use them. These coupons are very common in Key West, and they are intended to get people into an establishment where they will spend more money. That was one of the reasons we decided to try El Mar on this occasion.
We ordered 4 sushi rolls, but the waiter only wrote down three of them, so we never got the fourth roll (fortunately, we were not charged for it). The sushi was not bad, but it was pretty mediocre. It had little or no taste. The sushi in local Key West supermarkets is better. When it came time to pay our check, the waiter refused to honor our two-for-one coupon. The coupon specifically stated "Buy One Get One Free; Drink of equal or lesser value (up to a $7 value)." So we should have received the $4.50 beer for free. But the waiter offered up some lame excuse that the beer and wine were different drinks, so he could not honor the coupon. Poor advertising integrity is not the way to earn business.
The sushi rolls were reasonably priced for Key West (even though they were not very good), but the items on their regular menu were priced outrageously. A house salad was $15. A shrimp cocktail was $18. A buffalo burger was $19 (ground buffalo is not that much more expensive than ground beef). And these are not the prices shown on their website. You can get much better food at lower prices at almost any restaurant in Key West.
To sum it up: Poor service, mediocre sushi, outrageous prices, and failure to honor their advertised coupon for a free drink. Avoid this place and let it fail.
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