We arrived at JAL Tower for the main purpose of trying out their Japanese restaurant on the 49th floor. A Japanese restaurant in a Japanese hotel couldn’t go wrong – or so we thought.
Benkay had three levels: traditional, sushi bar and teppanyaki – we opted to go to the sushi bar for one reason alone: it has a smoking area. Hehehe. It was already packed when we arrived so our hopes just went up a notch once more when we saw the number of diners already there. The boyfriend having had an endoscopy procedure 4 hours earlier was contemplating whether or not he should drink beer ordered just a pint for the whole evening (which is such a huge sacrifice for him as he could easily finish 4 pints in one meal). Sensing his disappointment, I ordered half a pint of Tiger for myself (they only serve Kirin – a Japanese beer and Tiger – Singaporean beer). We ordered a bottle of water as well and they brought us an Evian, so I immediately sensed that this place is as high-end as its location (50th floor to be exact). The sushi bar was a bit musky though and humid, probably because of the fact that it’s a smoker’s lounge as well. They had this really uncomfortable high chair and table which obviously stated the fact that the sushi bar isn’t for dining: it’s a bar as the name suggests. The waiters and waitresses were all so attentive, friendly and well-versed with their menu though. The glasses of water on our table were often refilled by waiters who were just passing by and noticed that our glass was almost empty. So yes, the service was excellent in a not so invasive way.
For starters we ordered california rolls which was a huge disappointment. 🙁 It doesn’t taste good at all. It lacks something which I can’t seem to point a finger on. Well, for one it was warm and I’m not an expert on Japanese dish but for all of the sushis, makis and rolls that I’ve ever eaten – all of them were served cold. Anyway, it just lacked some taste in it. I also ordered deep fried fish which the boyfriend didn’t bother eating because of it’s citrusy taste in it. It was not entirely promising but not that bad as well.
For main course, the boyfriend ordered a teppanyaki Angus rib eye while I ordered a teppanyaki salmon. Again, my salmon lacked some taste and I’m pretty sure that it was the sauce served with it. It was missing a hint of sweetness, again I am no expert in Japanese dish but for most of the teppanyakis I’ve eaten – it usually had that faint sweet taste. The boyfriend however loved his rib eye steak.
I was full after dinner but not at all satisfied. I was quite disappointed as I had high hopes that this restaurant will be frequented by yours truly due to the fact that I’m getting a 50% staff discount but I see no reason of coming back. 🙁
Our total bill for the evening:
1 Evian water AED30
1 Tiger half pint AED 25
1 Kirin AED40
1 California roll AED30
1 Fried rice AED30
1 Tepanyaki Salmon AED100
1 Angus Rib eye AED130
1 Deep-fried fish AED45
1 Diet pepsi AED16
1 Soda water AED16
Total bill for 2: AED462
Total bill for 2 after the 50% staff discount: AED231.00 woot woot! 🙂