Gut Reaction: Samurai Sushi, go for the food not the service

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Samurai Hibachi Steak House and Sushi Bar has many different appeals. First is half-price sushi when eating in. Since it’s a couple minutes away from Rowan University, the main customers are college students. A friend of mine who visited during the summer said it’s not busy at all. Looking around at the sorority jackets and Rowan paraphernalia, I’m not surprised. It doesn’t hurt that they also accept Rowan Bucks as a form of payment.

The other pulls are that Samurai is B.Y.O.B. and a hotspot for birthdays. There was a group of seven people with wine and a cake next to my table, then another birthday group on the hibachi side that came in a few minutes after we sat down. When I ate here previously, there was usually a group singing and blowing out candles or a couple who brought wine.

The general consensus on Samurai is that the food is great and the service is lacking. Another friend described the servers as “seen, but not really heard.” He also encountered some trouble with the service in the past, like being rushed out at the end of the night or getting different people’s food. At the same time, he felt the food is worth the “terrible” service.

It was a busy Wednesday night when five of us went to Samurai. After waiting five minutes, our number was called. When we walked back, we saw that all the tables around us were filled.

Two orders of gyoza dumplings as an appetizer. -Staff Photo/Morgan Jenkins

The sushi bar was on the right, dining in the middle and hibachi to the left when we walked in, separated by short walls we could see over when standing. Japanese decor was dispersed around the restaurant and the low lighting and darker orange walls made the restaurant feel warm. Shouts of people in the hibachi section drifted over the wall to us in the regular dining section.

When the waitress came for our orders, I got the small portion of fried rice, along with two regular rolls and one special sushi roll. The others all got special and regular rolls as well.

It’s usually a mystery how long it will take the fried rice to come out. There’s been times when it comes out immediately after being ordered and other times it takes almost 20 minutes, a few seconds before my meal. This time was a happy medium, coming out 10 minutes after it was ordered. It was gone instantaneously and my friend scraped out the little bit that was left after I put my fork down.

A few minutes later our waitress brought over a plate that wasn’t ordered by our table and looked confused after walking away from us with the food.

My rolls, a Philadelphia Roll (cream cheese, salmon and avocado), Tuna Avocado Roll and Sweetheart Roll (shrimp tempura, avocado, spicy tuna and crunchy in soybean wrap), were all delicious once they finally got to the table. Usually I describe sushi as good-tasting mush, since most of the rolls I get only have soft textures in them. The Sweetheart Roll, however, is crunchier and more spicy than the other two because of the spicy tuna inside and spicy mayo on top. I tried to eat this roll and the Philadelphia Roll in succession, that way the sweetness of the cream cheese offsets the previous roll.

My friend Kate’s Godzilla Roll (tomago, white fish, spicy tuna, avocado and cream cheese deep fried served with spicy mayo and eel sauce, caviars) was an interesting mix of sauces and fish, the sauces counteracting each other since eel sauce is so sweet and the spicy mayo is, well, spicy. The fish flavors were overtaken a little by the cream cheese, but my main thought after eating it was that warm sushi is a weird thing to eat, considering most rolls aren’t a noticeable temperature.

As we all ate and traded rolls, the waitress came over to refill our waters, but ended up only filling one of them and leaving. This happened again later; she came over with the pitcher of water and filled the same glass near her then ran out of water. We figured she would come back with more, but she never did.

We all cleared our plates at different speeds, which were then taken as each of us finished. There was a small debacle with a different waitress who asked if we needed anything else, but then got our waitress after I tried to order dessert from her. There seemed to be a language barrier since I didn’t know what she meant and she was confused when I started to tell her what else I wanted. I got the mango mochi ice cream when our waitress came over, which is ice cream surrounded by a dough-like substance made of rice.

We paid for the food, mine ended up at less than $20 for all that I got, then we headed out. It didn’t feel like the kind of place to linger after paying.

Restaurant Name: Samurai Hibachi Steak House and Sushi Bar
Rating: 3 out of 5
Address: 646 North Delsea Dr., Glassboro, N.J. 08028
Phone: 856-881-7788

Website: ​http://www.njsamuraisteakhouse.com Kind of Food: Sushi and hibachi
Price Range: $10-$35

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1 COMMENT

  1. Great article! I was at Samurai with a group of friends celebrating my birthday in December last year and we experienced the terrible service in the restaurant. As we finished up our meal we were asked to leave. The server claimed that our table had been reserved for another group but we were never told that we would have a limited amount of time to eat our meal or we would’ve waited for a different table to open up. The manager ultimately apologized after they kicked us out but we were still asked to leave. For a restaurant to have such great food it is disappointing that the service is as disappointing as it is.

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