Triangle Trip

Tag: yelp reviews

Worst meal in a decade: Maison Akira in Pasadena

by on Jan.28, 2009, under Business Meals

First, we do not like to blast restaurants. We prefer to be the ones making recommendations. This post is an extreme exception.

Captain G and his colleagues just had their worst meal in a decade. This includes business and non-business related meals. We just left Maison Akira with a $250 bill for 3 people. This was not only the worst meal we had in a decade; it is also the most expensive.

When we chose to dine at Maison Akira, we thought we were having Japanese food or at least Japanese fusion or French fusion. This place was neither Japanese nor French. Maison Akira is located in Pasadena. Not only did the restaurant didn’t have valet; the parking lot charged us for outside parking. How could a restaurant not have valet in SoCal? We should have seen this as a red flag before entering the restaurant.

This week is restaurant week (dineLA) with prix fixe menus in LA. Maison Akira had a $44 prix fixe menu. Since it’s Chinese New Year, $44 meal should be another red flag as the number 4 is bad luck in Chinese. Another red flag was the chef prepared complementary salad that contained two tiny shrimp and five day old vegetables.

The setting of the restaurant was old musty. We were seated right in front of the door/entrance. That was another red flag that this restaurant doesn’t have good service or Feng Shui for that matter. How could a classy restaurant have a table right in the middle of the road facing the entrance?

Today’s prix fixe menu had the following entrees:  duck, Kobe beef and tuna. The three of us selected the Kobe as it was the best option on the menu. We all had different appetizers, which happened to be the best course on the menu.

The Kobe beef was the worst steak we have ever had in a decade. An Outback steak would have been 5x better. Given the fact that we had Ruth’s Chris the night before for the same price, I really felt we got ripped off for this meal. For $44, Ruth gave us a tender 14-ounce filet + appetizers and dessert.

There were four slices of Kobe beef with sloppy mash potatoes that tasted like chalk. The Kobe beef were chewy and had lots of tendons, and tasted more like lamb than beef. I thought I was eating rack of lamb as opposed to tender Kobe – the way it is supposed to be served. For all we know, the Kobe could have been dog meat, as we have never had anything so bad in our experiences. The sauce for the Kobe was most likely prepared by some amateur chef, as it tasted really tangy.

I had the Crème Brulee for dessert which tasted like egg tart that has been aged for two weeks. The Crème Brulee was extremely dried and the strawberry was not fresh. Finally, the wine selection was extremely poor. We selected the Hafner from Alexander Valley and paid $80. Sadly to say, the wine was the best part of the meal. We felt like we’d paid $250 for the wine since the meal itself was a horrendous dining experience.

Yelp also lost all of its credibility. We read the Yelp reviews before deciding on the restaurant and saw 4.5 stars from 107 reviews. After tonight’s meal, all the raters on Yelp are clueless. Yelp should remove all the positive entries about this restaurant removed.

In summary, the price for tonight’s meal cost us an arm and a leg, and it tasted like we were eating our arms and legs. We noticed the chef is Japanese. We recommend he stick to Sushi or pure Japanese food as oppose to French/Japanese because it’s not working…

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