Sushi St Jean
1000 Boul. Saint-Jean (corner Labrosse)
Telephone: (514) 697-8383
Cost $ 48.53 (including tax and tip)
Chef Hats: 1
When it comes to the A list of no -no’s for a restaurant, Sushi St. Jean hits the mark on all counts. It scores BAD on the scale for hospitality, service and food. Above all, it committed the ultimate proverbial blunder when we were there for lunch one very busy Monday afternoon.
We were meaning to try this restaurant for a while now and were very excited to finally get a chance to make it there. We chose a quiet day, so we can relax and enjoy our time together, but when we got there we misjudged its popularity. The place was busting at the seams and there was a line up outside the door, almost around the corner of the building. The wait would be approximately an hour. We patiently waited but were told not to block the aisle near the door as it was a thoroughfare for the waiters. Odd I thought! There was plenty of space for the waiters to manoeuvre around the restaurant, why not keep their customers happy by allowing them to think they were closer to getting in, especially on a crisp cold day. Once inside, if you block the aisle the head waiter or manager, who reminded me more of the “Soup Nazi”, kept yelling at you to stand behind the door and would send you back outside behind the doors in the entrance. Many people just turned around and left. Not very welcoming I thought.
Nonetheless, I ignored this while my pressure mounted at his incessant yelling. Finally, Brains and I were seated. We were given an electronic pad where we could choose what we wanted to eat. Brains and I thought it was innovative and very cool. There are no paper menus here folks and for the electronically un-inclined it can be frustrating. Albeit tons of wait staff, there is no service to help you and they seem frustrated when asking them questions regarding their electronic pad. You are on your own here to starve. Also, most of the staff that day also spoke barely any English or French or very little of both. I felt like I entered a third world restaurant in Asia and got a strange feeling that management had hired illegal immigrants straight from China. Who knows, being a franchise, maybe they have something else going and restauration is a blanket operation. It definitely is not their forte.
Well, that being said, Thank God Brains is electronically inclined, and we did not have too much of an issue choosing from the PAD. I am from the old school and going to a restaurant means i like the whole ritual of dining out, ordering from la Carte, speaking to a waiter, asking questions and all the formalities. But we managed to order a plethora of things from the PAD. Then a waitress who could barely speak English came to our table filled our water glasses, mumbled a few incomprehensible words and took our PAD away.
Brains and I looked at each other, smiled and shrugged, finally able to relax while waiting for our food; we started a deep conversation until we were interrupted but a loud clang and I felt something hitting my foot and leg. I looked down and saw a waitress picking up a broken beer bottle at my feet. Thank god I was wearing pants and leather boots as a piece of chard hit my leg, I immediately made a sarcastic comment to the waitress that it was a good premise for a law suit. The comment was not acknowledged, no apology from the waitress, she just picked up the broken beer bottle quietly and proceeded with her daily tasks, as if we were not even there and nothing had happened.
I started to get vocal at the lack of consideration and unprofessionalism, all the while, Brains noticed a piece of brown glass in her drinking water. I was not pleased and Brains was downplaying the scene I was about to create. She removed the piece of chard from her glass and asked for some more water when finally our waitress arrived.
It was all downhill after that. The food started to arrive, in very small portions, one after the other, very quickly. There was no more room on our table but they kept piling it on, sometimes not knowing what we were eating.
I felt so rushed I forgot to take pictures. The food, I can say was mediocre at best and not very nicely presented. The portions were extremely small; some dished looked soggy and limp. The waitress disappeared again, never to return and we did not get our fried squid. When we finally hailed her, it took almost an hour to get our soggy two pieces of squid. We never got to order seconds, even if we wanted to, because the service was extremely slow after the lunch rush and the place started to empty out. You would figure by now we could get some service at least, but the staff seemed to have disappeared for a long lunch break. So it’s not an all you can eat place, because the feeling here was get it all while you can in one shot, eat quickly and leave, no going back .
For $ 15.99 per person and $1.00 for tea, it was a steep price to pay for the bad experience, and for the lack quantity and quality of the food and terrible service.
Exasperated I asked for the bill and left quickly, vowing never to return to any of their establishments.