RESTAURANT REVIEW - If you are a true sushi lover this is not the sushi you are looking for. Opening Friday in Madera in the Market Place Shopping Center is SUSHI LITTO, a Sinaloa Style Sushi and Seafood Restaurant. Sinaloa Sushi hails from the Sinaloa Region of Mexico on the west banks of the Gulf of California. This is not your traditional Japanese Sushi that you might be used to.
My wife and I decided to give the place a try on their opening night. Within two minutes of sitting down the restaurant received the three strikes that it would normally take an entire evening to find, if I even find them at all. Strike one, the floor was dirty and I had to wipe food off my seat before I could sit down. Strike two, my wife ordered iced tea to drink and was told they don't have it on the menu. She then ordered a Diet Coke and the waitress brought her a rather expensive can of regular "Coke" (no fountain drinks). Strike three was when I asked the same waitress if there were any traditional Japanese rolls on the menu to which she answered, "All of them."
I could keep going on the strikes but you usually only get three. Strike four, the ice water served to me had a chemical taste to it, as did the second and third. Again, the only other non-alcoholic options were pretty pricey soda cans or bottled water. As the ice melted in my wife's glass of canned soda the taste became apparent to her too and we surmised that it must be coming from the ice machine. Hopefully the health department reads this and tests the ice machines for contaminates.
But if the health department is going to check anything out at the restaurant I hope they say some thing to the long haired bearded man making the sushi that was neither wearing a hairnet, beard net nor rubber gloves. In fact only one person I saw fixing food was wearing rubber gloves.
Robert Jefre Ashby was at the restaurant at 3pm and wrote this on the Litto's Facebook page. "I saw a guy scratch his head and not wash his hands while working on the food. Also I got a hair and plastic in my food. the picture did not look anything like the food and most of the cooks are unsanitary no gloves no hats to cover there head. You guys only got a two not a one cause the waitresses were nice. Disappointed This review is reviewed by a guy who is majoring in Culinary. Get your Shit together."
As for the food, it was different. I went in not expecting traditional sushi. I expected a fusion of Mexican and Japanese and it did live up to that description. Our plates were delivered looking very appetizing, very much as advertised in the menu. I ordered the "Jefe de Jefe roll" and other than it was missing the tempura shrimp then menu said it had, it was still a fairly decent roll. Another 2 Star review on Facebook from earlier in the day also noted the absence of the tempura shrimp and the employees not knowing it was called for on the menu.
The server staff was a fifty/fifty mix. Our waitress had no clue what was going on and I would often see her standing in the kitchen with a dazed and confused look. The other waitress on the floor tried to help us out with our questions and really seemed motivated. I saw her cleaning tables and sweeping floors throughout our visit, the other one, not so much.
Will I return? As for sushi it is not my favorite. I prefer the tradional Japanese style I have eaten for over 30 years. Now I do understand that there is a large fan base for this style sushi and Madera can certainly use a little more variety in it's local eateries. That being said, if Sushi-Litto can work on their price points, fountain drinks, service and speed of getting the food to the table they might stand a chance in this market. While I might not return for the sushi, there were several other items on the menu that looked and sounded worth a try.
Overall I give this place two out of five stars but with recognition that Sushi-Litto has potential and could change my mind (and rating) over time.