I found myself in Genki Noodle & Sushi twice last week. It wasn't for the food per se, but I'll get into that in a bit. Genki has been on my radar for quite some time bc it has the cutest bar seating that faces the street. The small area fills quickly, so get there early to snag a spot. The bar is usually my go to spot, whether I am dining alone or with friends, & that day was no exception. Joe quickly brought us waters, since the front area with the open window is hotter than the rest of the restaurant. Keep this in mind in choosing where to sit. They also have a back patio that overlooks the valet parking, in addition to their swanky restaurant seating. I'm not sure if they validate, but it doesn't hurt to ask. The lavatory was clean & did not have any off putting smells that would make me question the cleanliness of the joint. Ok so the food & drinks ....
We decided to get the $5 Mai Tai special & the katsu fried ginger soy tofu for nibbles. The appetizer came with wasabi and ponzu sauces for dipping, but even they couldn't resuscitate my taste buds. They were as bland as my ass. The bland batter thickly coated the tofu boards that need to either be taken off the menu or re-evaluated for flavor. Where was the ginger because it seemed nonexistent in my order. The accompanying sauces were just ok. I LOVE wasabi so much that I keep wasabi sauce in my fridge. With that being said, it would be ideal if they added more wasabi to the wasabi sauce to give it that beautiful zing to stimulate the nasal passages. While we're on the bad road, let's talk about the food we ordered when we came in the next day to beat the Virginia-Highland Summerfest heat.
We kinda wanted to make Genki our Cheers since we met a neighbor that frequents the bar. He suggested to not try their house beer, as it's not anything to write home about. Clearly he comes for the drinks & good conversation because I've seen him three times now, & I've never seen him eat. Longing for some A/C, we quickly darted to the bar with Joe. He was working feverishly, as the bar area was full (they may be understaffed if you're looking in the industry). I kept it simple & cute for the hot day by opting for a Blue Moon. I seriously want to like the food, but it's just meh. This time we chose the chicken egg rolls & calamari. The egg rolls were again bland bland bland, but they were edible. The calamari was good, until we came across a few pieces that tasted not so fresh. I do not like describing seafood as fishy because WTF does that mean? The batter was not too thick, & they were fried to perfection. They were not chewy from over frying at all. Come on BOH and managers. Take pride in your product and get your ish together!
Their take on the mai tai was well mixed by Joe. Listen up people! Stop sending your drinks back because "I can't taste the alcohol". The spirits should be well blended with other ingredients to be tasted, but not overwhelming. If you want a stronger drink, purchase an additional shot, or drink at home. Ok rant over. Of course I'm going to go back to try all of their weekly specials. I will give you the updates as I explore, & keep trying to find a win on the appetizer list. There are other nearby places with great sushi at a better price point, & seeing as they can't even produce good appetizers, I'm definitely not wasting my coin on overpriced, bland sushi. Have you been wanting to try Genki? Comment below which other restaurants in the Virginia-Highland neighborhood are on your radar or you have explored.