The Covid-19 pandemic has had a strongly negative effect on many restaurants. Sushi Gen is one which chose to face the pandemic by shutting down and doing a major remodel. I’ve walked down Portage Avenue, many times over the last several months waiting for it to reopen. Especially after I had revisited Mooshiro Sushi, which is just a kilometer or so farther down Portage.

original review

My platter of Rolls and Sashimi from my first all-you-can-eat order.

Despite the fact that the restaurant has been remodeled, there is nothing that strikes me as looking all that different before the remodel. There are tables, booths, a small alcove with low tables, etc. However, it was a good looking restaurant when I first reviewed it, and it still is now. 

One thing about dining in during the pandemic: As a single diner, I’ve yet to run into a situation where it is hard to find a table. People are generally staying away, and for a person who in normal times likes to keep his distance this works out really well.

I went with spicy tofu soup instead of my usual miso soup.

Despite being about 7.5 years since my first review, the dinner buffet hasn’t changed all that much. It’s gone from $25.99 to $27.99. Given general food prices, I’d say it’s a better value than it used to be.

Dinner plate, chopsticks, and soya sauce holder.

A Good Variety for Dinner

I’m not going to go into a great deal of depth about the food choices I made this visit. Several of the items that I tried this time around were ones I tried the first time. I will say one thing that was quite notable. The rolls this time around were definitely superior to what I ate the first time. The fish and all the other ingredients in them tasted really fresh.

My second order was fairly small. Just these rolls, and a crab salad.

One thing I ordered, seen above on the bottom middle of the platter, was a piece of mackerel sashimi. I wanted to see if fresh mackerel tasted better than canned mackerel. It doesn’t. However, as one small piece in a large meal, that had no effect on the overall enjoyment of the meal.

The Tempura Squid Tentacles (top left) were good and chewy without being hard to chew.

Two items I really liked. One is the Tempura squid, top left in the picture above. The batter is crispy and the squid was enjoyably chewy, without making me work to chew it. Two is the spicy Beef Udon Noodle soup, top centre. Nicely spicy with tender beef and chewy noodles.

The restaurant was mainly empty, only two other tables are occupied while I am there. The service is quick and friendly. Although, if it gets closer to full capacity I’m not sure if the quickness will be maintained. Still, the food seems better than when I originally went, and if you enjoy sushi, I’d recommend giving Sushi Gen a visit. All-you-can-eat is only available as dine-in.

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Original Sushi Gen Review

As you walk down the south side of Portage Avenue between the Bay and where Broadway joins Portage you’ll find a couple of all you can eat Sushi restaurants. So far the sushi places I have tried have been off the main drag, so I decided I wanted to give them a try.  I started off with Sushi Gen Restaurant which is just across from the University of Winnipeg.
The decor of Sushi Gen is typical of any number of modern restaurants. There is though, a small alcove where you can remove your shows and dine in traditional Japanese style.  For the sake of the other patrons I kept my shoes on and chose a table.

Sushi Gen offers two all you can eat buffets.  The lunch buffet is $16.99 and the dinner buffet is $25.99.  You also have a two hour table limit to enjoy the buffet.  Compared to the prices and quantities served at other sushi restaurants I’ve been to, I’d say you need to bring a reasonably healthy appetite with you if you wish to get your money’s worth here.

Salmon and Dynamite rolls served together.
Wakame Salad is one of my sushi restaurant favourites

Sushi Gen Rolls and More

Having said that, one of the things I did like about the place was that the portion sizes were a little smaller than I have gotten at other sushi restaurants, which gave me the opportunity to try a wide variety of menu items. Overall I found the quality to be quite good.  The Miso Soup has a rich tasting broth. The Seaweed Salad had a nice sesame taste along with an enjoyably chewy texture.  The rolls were rather run of the mill, with the shrimp in the Dynamite Roll being a little dry and overcooked.

Un-Photoed Favourites

The Pan-Fried Beef Noodle, I really enjoyed. Particularly the beef which was nicely seared on the outside and rare on the inside of the strips. My favourite item on the menu, and another one I didn’t photograph, were the Tempura Mushrooms. In this case no photo, because I inhaled them when they arrived. They were nice and crispy on the outside and the mushrooms were still meaty inside the batter.
I also tried the Tempura Shrimp, because everyone seemed to be ordering it, but didn’t find it to be anything particularly exciting.  The hand rolled sushi on the other hand was very fresh. Of the three pieces I tried I liked the Inari best, with its sweet crepe shell and warm rice filling.

Sushi Gen Overall:

As I said at the start of the post, this is the kind of place you need to bring an appetite to if you wish to get full value for money.  One thing I noticed many other people commenting on was how slow the service was.  I didn’t find it to be particularly slow, but I didn’t find it particularly fast either.  The restaurant was reasonably full, but when I got there most people were finishing, so I may have just timed it right.  You need two things at Sushi Gen. An appetite and a willingness to spend two hours grazing. It’s worth it.

Published by Donald McKenzie

Anglican priest, and food blogger. This blog is focused on Food. It will feature reviews of places to eat books, and the odd recipe. I also write about what it means to gather together around food. View more posts

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