A visit to Todai is quite distressing if you are a sushi lover--but if you're a sushi lover, you probably know better than to try to get quality sushi at a buffet.
The buffet is very well-presented. It stretches the entire length of the restaurant and the sushi and desserts are arranged in beautiful rows. The presentation definitely gives the impression that the food will be amazing.
Unfortunately, it's not. The nigiri are uncannily weightless, owing to the skimpy, dried-out pieces of fish. There are no vegetable rolls to speak of. The eel avocado roll was okay, but since I am allergic to shellfish, I wasn't able to try the other rolls, which all had shrimp or crab, or seemed like they might because the ingredients weren't clearly identifiable.
But aside from the sushi, many of the other offerings were okay. The mussels were too chewy, but the seaweed salad was about as good as I hoped. The watercress salad was tasty, but on the oily side. The tempura was very yummy, and the desserts were decent, although they seemed like they had been frozen at some point. The miso soup was okay, and miso soup is fairly hard to ruin, but it was on the bland side and had white onion in it, which is not a traditional ingredient. A breaded fish entree was so greasy I didn't want to touch it, but another dish of white fish in a lemon butter caper sauce was good enough for seconds. They offer freshly-made crepes, but the only available fillings are whipped cream and sugary canned fruits, which is a turnoff to me and plenty of other Californians used to high-quality fresh produce even in the middle of winter.
Overall, I felt very disappointed by this experience. If I weren't allergic to shellfish, I might have enjoyed it more, because there would have been more things I could have eaten. Given the quality of the dishes I was able to eat, though, a wider selection probably would not have helped matters much.
This buffet is not for the health-conscious, the sushi-lover, or the person who is allergic to shellfish, and absolutely not worth $17 no matter who you are. Parking is also unnecessarily difficult, unless you are spending the day at the Beverly Center or want to blow $6 on valet.
8612 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(Off of San Vincente Blvd., on ground level next Hard Rock Cafe. Park on level 3G or H)
Tel: (310) 659-1375
Lunch11:30am - 2:30pm (Daily)
Dinner5:30pm - 9:00pm (Mon-Thur)5:30pm - 10:00pm (Fri-Sat)5:00pm - 9:00pm (Sun & holidays)