I haven’t been to El’s in ages and if I hadn’t read jfmanzo‘s review on Urbanspoon about the recent change in ownership, I wouldn’t have known (this was after the fact of course). I did notice the restaurant have been renovated and changes to the rolls… they are not as heavily dressed and the ingredients/fillings are less than before. I know in my previous review I mentioned that all the rolls here pretty much taste the same b/c the use of pretty much the same ingredients and sauces, but I can’t help to feel that the rolls we got tonight was a bit too… bare. They definitely could’ve been a bit more “dressed”.
Here’s what we ordered tonight:
Edamame – Complimentary
These were lightly salted and great to snack on. I’ll be honest – I still don’t see the appeal to ordering these as an appetizer but if they’re complimentary, why not :)
Chirashi – $18.95
This was my order. Eight kinds of sashimi (salmon, tuna, red snapper, tamago, ebi, scallop, octopus and red tuna) on a bed of spring mix and rice. I don’t understand why there’s salad on the rice, but the sashimi was definitely fresh and had a good thickness to them.
Salmon Sashimi (7 pcs) – $13.95
These were very fresh and fatty and had a natural sweetness to them. They were cut well and had a good thickness to them. My brother could not stop raving about how much he liked this.
Chicken Udon – $12.95
This was my mom’s order. “Fresh” (as in the frozen fresh stuff, not the individually packaged stuff sitting on grocery store shelves at room temperature) udon noodles with a good amount of chicken breast and tempura flakes in a good seasoned broth. My son had some of the noodles and loved slurping them but he wouldn’t eat the chicken as it was quite dry.
California Roll – $5.95
This was for my son and he definitely enjoyed it! I thought the sushi rice was very well made as it had great texture, and just a hint of sweetness from the sugar and vinegar mixture. The imitation crab meat had just enough mayo and the avocado was nicely ripe.
Popcorn Maki – $9.95
This roll had deep fried shrimp and avocado inside, and topped with popcorn shrimp. I found the popcorn shrimp a bit too fried, and for the price the roll could be bigger in size. It also needs more sauce.
Sushi Bento – $14.95
This was my brother’s order. He had wanted the sushi combo but I told him that this is a much better deal with more variety of food, and he was happy with it. This bento box consists of tempura (2 pcs shrimp, 3 pcs vegetable), nigiri (2 pcs salmon, 2 pcs tuna), side salad, agedashi tofu (1 pc) and California roll (4 pcs). Everything was good tasting and I have to say it’s probably the best bang for your buck if you want to sample a bit of everything.
Superstar Maki – $18.95
One of my most favorite rolls at El’s, except there is definitely less fillings than before. What’s funny is that I saw the server bringing this out, and then half way she stopped and went back to the kitchen and started speaking in Korean to the chef. My guess was… they forgot to add the spicy scallop mixture on top. I’m glad she noticed – which means she is familiar with the menu. This is essentially a deep fried spider roll but there was barely any soft shell crab inside – even the spicy scallop mixture is less than before which is definitely a bit of a disappointment. There is also way less sauce on it.
Overall, I still like El’s, but I’m not happy with the changes to the rolls. I understand it’s new owners and they are working to learn the entire menu but reducing the main ingredients is definitely not the way. I saw some price increases on other items as well so it needs to be justified. Service was definitely pleasant but I was just expecting more with this visit.