If you ever want to experience what an upscale sushi restaurant in Ohio might be like, head to La Jolla for Café Japengo. If you miss eating at an airport sushi restaurant in anytown USA get yourself to Café Japengo for a fix. If you want to see lots of people in suits chasing money and talking about sales with each other very loudly, yes, Café Japengo. Dark, cheesily upscale but not, like a set piece from Mad Men 1987.
Not sure what kind of fish I got when ordering tuna sushi, it looked a bit like it was on its way out, like a jaggedly pulled piece of translucent tongue that a dog had yanked out of some dead animal’s mouth, and someone put on a piece of rice. It tasted like chewy tap water.
Café Japengo is the kind of sushi restaurant that gives you a golf ball sized hunk of green horseradish because you need it to mask the flavor of their old fish.
The yellowtail was ok, I have to admit, it was not chewy like the tuna, and still tasted fresh, unlike the tuna, however, the tuna and the two rolls were pretty sick, I’m sorry to say.
Spicy tuna roll’s seaweed wrap tasted watery and was old, chewy and hard to bite, unlike fresh seaweed which in rolls evaporates under your teeth like heaven.
Sushi Ota is just down the road in Pacific Beach. Why anyone would go to Café Japengo when Ota is so close is beyond me.
I thought I’d give it a shot, since it pretends to be fancy, is at the Hyatt, and has a large bar, however, it gave me a shot, in the stomach and the wallet, lunch jumps up and kicks you in the balls and yells “JAPENGO!”
A lunch should not cost $60, especially this lunch.
The place was packed with business people mid-week lunchtime, we waited and waited, the hostess was harried and ignored us standing at the counter while she counted a stack of menus frantically, then left, coming back to write something, then left again, a waiter nodded at me as he walked by with a tray of waters, then he left too. The wait was 20 minutes for a table, but we could sit at the bar area, which was empty completely. However, we sat there for another 15 minutes (alone in the bar) without anyone coming up to us. I went and grabbed menus from the front counter.
Finally a very nice waiter came by. He gave us a dish of water and two white tablets that looked like alka seltzer. He said it was their special thing, you put the tablet in the water and it turns into a wet napkin, so “we wouldn’t have to go to the bathroom”. The wet napkin trick looked like a tampon unfolding as it sat in the dish of water. Our table remained foodless and drinkless for some time as I watched this feat of ingenuity.
The napkin looked like gauze. I didn’t understand it. Except maybe one of the suit-wearing idiots around me was likely a salesperson for this napkin in a pill thing, and duped the manager or someone into buying them and having them.
I wish it was alka seltzer and I could take them after my meal. Or gauze to wrap my bleeding wallet in after getting bilked for $60 worth of junk sushi.
The food was gross. I ate it because it was expensive. I’m passive aggressive about everything too so did not complain while there, so here are my complaints. Take them as you will. All kinds of people love this place on yelp.
Sorry, really, Japengo, but actually I’m not sorry, you promised me so much, then just robbed me blind, leaving me in the sunlight with a feeling like I’ve been had.
Don’t go to Café Japengo, go to Sushi Ota, ok?