We had a few hours to kill in Lihue before we flew out, so we looked around a bit for a bite to eat and found Masas sushi on Rice Street next to the Kauai Beer Co.
I always love finding an out of the way, hole in the wall that serves up grade - A fare wherever I go, so I was a bit giddy when I stepped inside. This place had all the makings - off the beaten path, small, spartan, and an older, japanese chef that spoke only broken english. I had visions in my head of finding Kauai's very own version of Jiro.
Boy was I wrong.
I ordered a Negihama and another roll (sunrise or sunshine I believe) and my wife got two different vegetarian rolls the names of which I'd surely remember if only I could bring myself to care enough about anything that didn't contain meat. I'm working on it...
We were the only one's in the place (which should have tipped me off that something wasn't right) so it wasn't long before the chef was passing our rolls over the bar.
The first impression wasn't good. Visually, the sushi looked like hell, all 4 rolls were loosely rolled, the rice bed was all uneven, and the rolls were all cut to different thicknesses. Eye candy this was not.
Now, I can forgive poor appearance if the fish is fresh and expertly sliced, the rice is prepared and seasoned properly, and the other ingredients are fresh and tasty. Two bites in and this was none of that. The hamachi had to be a few days if not a week past it's expiration date. It was totally lacking any firmness and had become a mushy, slimy, abortion of a fish. Same goes for the salmon - mushy, slimy, smelly, and a bit warm to boot. The rice was probably Uncle Bens. The vegetables were in the veggie rolls were wilted, the avacado was mushy, brown, and bordering on rotten.
If I hadn't been starving, and if it hadn't been after 5pm in Lihue on a Saturday I might have walked out. As it was I ate a few pieces of each roll and left a few on the plate in hopes of getting out of there in time to find something else to eat. Again, no such luck. I handed over my card to pay up and leave, and the waitress said something about having to go next door to run it (it is Kauai, after all), only to return after close to 20 minutes. I grabbed the card and took off pissed.
Luckily I found an excellent Pad Thai at the food trailer in the Ace hardware parking lot down the street. Between the good spicy Thai, the two tall boys I washed it down with, and my cast iron stomach I was able to survive the Masa experience, but as it was I sat through the six hour flight home with a mild case of the bubblies, accompanied by a single round of the butt spits. Always a good time when traveling with two hundred of your closest friends on an aircraft with two heads for the cattle class cabin.
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