CHECK OTHER REVIEWS FOR THIS PLACE:
Le Sushi Bar: This is What I Call Japanese Cuisine
The Unbeatable Sushi Experience at Le Sushi Bar, Achrafieh
Le Sushi Bar: A Complete Luxurious Experience
Le Sushi Bar: Celebrating 15 Years with Haute Cuisine Dining
Strict Food Safety Measures at Le Sushi Bar
Le Sushi Bar: Introducing the Chirashi
Le Sushi Bar, Achrafieh, Beirut, Lebanon
Le Sushi Bar Updates its Menu
Le Sushi Bar: Guaranteed Dining Enjoyment!
Le Sushi Bar: Beirut's Exceptional Contemporary Japanese Cuisine
I’m not sure how to start this review, written while a bizarre series of events takes our country by storm. A situation that is alarming, shaking our culinary heritage and sometimes sending people to hospital. A sushi nation is arising, a nation where a sushi shop has taken over every street corner, wrapping rice around portions of fish without any knowhow of Japanese cuisine or its background.
With that in mind, many have mastered this art, and I’m sure you know them by heart. Sushi places, in my humble opinion, can be divided into three categories. Street food sushi, like places found in the food courts of malls – there aren’t many of them in Lebanon. Casual dining sushi, or Japanese fast food, the ones taking our country by storm, and the last category: fine dining sushi, which can be counted on one hand in Lebanon: Le Sushi Bar might be considered on top of the list, Yabani, Osaka, Kampai and Shogun are also there.
If you read NoGarlicNoOnions regularly, you should know by now of my love for Le Sushi Bar, but what we paid that evening was a bit illogical. $90/person, no alcohol and no dessert... and the food was not extraordinary. Is that logical?
The things I love about Le Sushi Bar:
- A smiling and presentable hostess welcomes you
- Lebanese waiters, in black overalls keep on a big smile as they fulfill all your demands
- Other waiters from the Philippines, dressed in traditional Japanese kimono take care of the orders and service
- A choice of Pepsi or Coca-Cola
- A choice between local or international mineral water served in glass bottles
- The nice texture of the menu papers and their leather covers with a classy carved wooden side
- The best wine glasses you can drink from in any restaurant in the country; light and well-rounded crystals
- The bamboo-glazed blue chopsticks, beautiful blue napkins with white floral drawings decorating them
- A dimmed and relaxing ambiance
- A checklist paper distributed to the host to make taking the order quicker and simpler
- Smiley and gentle waitresses dressed in traditional Kimonos
- Just focus on the plates. More than eight different kinds and shapes of plates are used depending on the food type, consistency and temperature: Porcelain, ceramic, wood or slate.
- The shapes and colors are beautiful
- The plates are presented perfectly, up to the standard of fine dining restaurants
- 162 different choices constitute the rich menu
- The waiters are professional and always smiling
- Every dish is named as it is placed on the table
- Adequately lit, you dine in a majestic environment
- How tasty are those cucumber pickles?
- The middle atrium, the large bar, the wine coolers, the wooden feel, all relax your senses
- The entrance, decorated with candles leaves an amazing first impression
- I am in love with their wine glasses: Beautiful thin crystal glass so enjoyable to drink from
- Just try eating with their glazed chopsticks and see how nice they are
We were welcomed to sit at the corner of the bar, one next to the other for a pleasant discussion. Some smooth music playing in the background, a dimmed ambiance and a classy spirit took over the space while we enjoyed contemplating the staff rolling one order after the other. The food was good, as always. Well cooked rice, freshly prepared rolls, cold salmon, warm fresh crab… all was exactly as expected but not superb… at least this is what I expect from Le Sushi Bar.
My favorite order is the soft shell crab, which I order again and again every time I visit. I loved the salmon on ice, but it’s not on ice. The lettuce separates the salmon from the ice absorbing the cold you expect to feel on the salmon. The temaki nori leaf was not crunchy as it should be and the dishes had lots of crunchy ingredients that are intriguing and sometime unpleasant. Green onions! THey are everywhere like a nightmare. But ,as an overall experience, Le Sushi Bar still serves one of Lebanon’s finest creations.
Receiving the bill was a bit shocking. We didn’t order wine, no cooked meals, no sashimi, no noodles and we didn’t order dessert. Tea for one person was charged at LBP15,000. An overall bill of $89/person. Trying to understand if those are the new high-end prices in the market, my wife and I decided to visit the new Yabani, which is considered a main and direct competitor to Le Sushi Bar. I will let you read the full review, but know that we paid $75/person at Yabani including two glasses of whisky, two plates of noodles, a cooked plate of eggplants and the rolls, the same amount of rolls as at Le Sushi Bar. The difference is shocking.