We walk through the doors of Nori to a chorus of cheers from the sushi bar. I get the feeling that they’re excited to cook for us, one I’m about to realize was probably delirium caused by mild hypoglycemia.
The first thing I notice at our table is the metal chopsticks. The second thing I notice is a bit of mung on one of them. I’m not sure if it’s food or a booger. I ponder it before wiping it off.
The green tea they bring is tasty. It’s also, sadly, lukewarm. I find their inability to heat water disconcerting but decide to chalk it up to apathy rather than incompetence.
Nori has a great selection of bento boxes priced between $9 and $12. I put in an order of gyoza and a beef teriyaki box.
The miso arrives. It’s tasty enough, but it lacks the complexity of flavour I’ve found in other miso. The giant metal spoon is a definite turn-off; something I’d expect from a greasy diner, not a traditional Japanese eatery.
The gyoza come with an unfamiliar dipping sauce. They’re small, and stale, and I’m starting to wonder if maybe I’m getting somebody’s leftovers. Just as I’ve choked back a couple of dumplings, the boxes arrive tableside.
The bento boxes at Nori are huge, awkwardly so. I hate feeling crowded when I eat so I quickly force down the rest of the gyoza to make room on the table. I scoop up the meager portion of wasabe and dump it into my soya dish. It’s at this point that I really regret the metal chopsticks. As I mix the wasabe paste, it sounds like Freddy Krueger is dragging his claws down a chalkboard.
The teriyaki beef tastes of shame and dishonour. I drown it in soya sauce and cram it in my maw with a lack of enthusiasm I usually reserve for breakfast cereal and cheezy puffs. The California roll is less like sushi and more like Elmer’s glue rolled in papier–mâché. The tempura is greasy and hard to eat. Each bite of my bento box is another step down the road of disappointment.
Nori does very well on Urban Spoon, but I think those people probably haven’t eaten at other Japanese restaurants. Unless they threaten sepuku, I won’t be going back anytime soon.
Food or Fail rating: Fail