I had a great idea the other day. I would start reviewing all my local sushi places and publish them to the blog. Sure, no one really goes to the central valley for sushi, but there are lots of locals that pack into the sushi restaurants here. Business is good for sushi in Manteca. There are more than 15 restaurants that I know of, and Manteca is in the middle of nowhere. So what would be the best sushi in Manteca? This is maybe a question that nobody asked, but I've got an answer anyway.
I started this adventure at Yukimi. Unfortunately, it set this adventure off to a bad start. Though clearly labeled “Japanese Sushi Seafood Steakhouse”, they are not really a sushi restaurant. They are a teppanyaki restaurant with a sushi side project.
Not only was I severely disappointed with the sushi here, the teppanyaki was nothing to write home about. The cherry on top was the terrible service. Details below.
Arriving at Yukimi
Yukimi was easy to find, and there's plenty of parking. It's in the Save Mart parking lot, so you won't have to search for street parking. As soon as I walked in, I figured out this wasn't really a sushi-focused place, but I figured, “Whatever, let's see how this goes.” I wanted to test out exactly how someone would eat both sushi and teppanyaki. We (my girlfriend and I) sat down at one of the big tables and got our menus.
Trouble started during ordering.
I decided to get a roll, some sashimi, some nigiri, and a seafood teppanyaki order. The waitress didn't understand what the Japanese names of the nigiri. No big deal. So I tried in English. She didn't know those either. Luckily she understood when I ordered by the number on the menu.
When asked what comes in the “chef's selection” of sashimi, she responded with, “I don't know man…sigh…let me check.”
Well, it turns out they were out of 3/5 items from the chef's selection so she recommended I don't get it. My only other choices for sashimi were full plates of salmon or tuna I think – no doubt something that should be shared with the table. OK, no sashimi for me! I kept my nigiri orders though.
Kind of. They didn't have the salmon roe. The waitress reported back that they “don't have the big ones. Just the small ones.” What could this mean? They don't have the big sushi, just the small sushi? Let's find out.
It simply meant they only had the flying fish roe, not salmon roe. OK, Gotcha.
Ambiance At Yukimi
It looked like closing time, but it was only 7:00 PM on a Friday night. 60% of the clientele were under 10. This is clearly a restaurant where families take their kids to watch the teppanyaki show, and not much more.
The bar was empty. No one greeted us at the door. The bathroom was disgusting. I'm just listing complaints now.
The meal started off with a lukewarm miso soup, and a salad covered in some kind of disgusting dressing. Granted, I don't like the dressing on the salads most of the time, but at Yakimi, it was a level above the rest on terrible presentation. It looked as if someone mixed thousand island dressing with applesauce, then dumped about a 1/4 cup on top of some iceberg lettuce slices. Didn't touch it.
When my nigiri arrived, it looked like a mini toilet-paper tube with some flying fish roe on top. The seaweed was wrapped several times around a thumb-sized ball of rice with the orange roe spilling over the top. The seaweed paper was clearly too thickly wrapped, so it was most of what I tasted.
The tako (octopus) portion had already fallen off of its little rice ball, so I had to piece it back together. The second piece of nigiri I just ate meat and rice separately because, at that point, who cares.
I also ordered a sushi roll. With the waitress hanging over my head while I ordered something called the spider roll. I didn't write down the ingredients or description because I was just getting frustrated ordering. The roll was just kind of bland and sweet, heavy on the mayonnaise.
The best part of the meal was probably the calamari steak. It had a nice spring to it, and the flesh itself tasted fresh. The sauce, however, was pretty bland.
How Was The Service?
It's been a long time since I had such a bad waitress. It was clear that she didn't want to be there. Maybe she was new because she didn't know much about the menu, or maybe she's a long time employee who just doesn't care enough to learn. When I asked for sashimi, she seemed offended that I would order something so complicated. She just seemed annoyed and busy the whole night.
Maybe it was a rough night for this particular person, but issues with service seem to be pervasive with this business. Just check the reviews on Yelp. There are lots of similar complaints through the past 2 years (2016, 2017)
As far as our chef, he was nice enough. He certainly wasn't entertaining though! If you're planning on taking your kids to a “fun” teppanyaki place, this one isn't it. He just got in, made an onion volcano, and got out.
This is not the worst restaurant I've been to, but it was pretty bad. Considering is was also very expensive, with poor service, and in the middle of nowhere-interesting, it's not a place I can recommend. I would never return there though, for sushi, teppanyaki, birthday part, or whatever else. The worst part of the experience was the terrible sushi, so for a sushi restaurant, I can't recommend them at all.