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Mexican meets raw fish

Matt Robles/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Julian Castro Sanchez prepares several original sushi rolls including the Lopez Roll yesterday evening at the Wok n' Sushi restaurant. Wok n' Sushi is home to original creations such as the Lopez Roll, Sixth Avenue Roll and the Melissa Roll, all of which were invented at the restaurant.
By Andi Berlin
Arizona Daily Wildcat
September 15, 2005
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If the owners of O' Malley's, Chipotle and Panda Express got together to make a sushi restaurant, it would probably taste similar to Wok n' Sushi. And just to make myself clear to all you freshmen out there; No, that's not a compliment.

But I guess if you're actually naive enough to get in your car and drive to far off distant lands (south of 22nd Street) to a Mexican sushi restaurant that serves none other than Mongolian Barbecue, you really should either keep your standards low, or give yourself a hardy slap in the face.

This can be a physical slap or a mental one. The latter comes when you first lay your eyes on the restaurant. Wok n' Sushi is situated all alone on a main road in a grungy-looking building that looks more like some kind of sports bar than a romantic restaurant.

Instead of the authentic Japanese music and décor that usually reside in a sushi place, the restaurant takes on the mood of an American bar and grill, complete with football on the TV and rowdy bar types drinking Bud Light in the corner.

A single buffet table with raw chunks of meat, pale pastas and vegetables stands solemnly in the center of the room. Apparently, this is supposed to be their Mongolian barbecue selection, but it seems more probable that the thing is some kind of pig trough.

Wok n' Sushi
4802 S. Sixth Ave.
10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily

That didn't seem extraordinarily appetizing, so I stuck with the sushi. On Monday nights, Wok n' Sushi has a special all-you-can-eat offer for $20. Unfortunately for me the selection on it was extremely limited and most of the more interesting rolls weren't even available.

But I'm not too sure if it made a difference, because most of the sushi we tried had no hope of salvation. The tuna nigiri, $3.75, tasted like it had been refrozen about a dozen times, while my California Tempura, $5, reminded me of that pack of California rolls you get at Costco, except fried and left out to rot for a few days. The crab inside was made poorly, and it didn't even have any of the other traditional ingredients like cucumber.

I decided to give them another chance by ordering a caterpillar roll, but when the waitress brought out something that looked like a Philadelphia roll with cream cheese inside, you can imagine I was rather disappointed. It got worse when the waitress blamed the incident on me, and then disappeared without apologizing. The matter wasn't cleared up until I got the manager; and even after that, I had to eat the infamous roll by scooping out the hunks of cream cheese and molding them into a makeshift sculpture on my plate.

Pretty much stuffed, I had to force myself to eat the only Mexican roll brought out: the Lopez roll, $8.50. This concoction consisted of cucumber, avocado and shrimp tempura all covered in a crunchy bright green tempura coating that made the whole thing look like a medieval shrubbery (or a giant green sea cucumber.) Although it claimed to be Mexican, the roll just tasted like a heavily fried version of the California tempura roll brought out earlier.

Under the all-you-can-eat menu, you are charged for every bite you can't eat. So don't be surprised if you're forced to hide pieces of the monstrosity, in your soup or edamame beans. Then, get ready to pay your $25 each (with drinks and tip), stand around for five minutes while the cash register breaks and the waitresses run around like Chicken Katchitoris with their heads cut off, and then leave.

Wok n' Sushi is located on 4802 S. Sixth Ave.

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