Sokyo is a well decorated restaurant, donning more awards than can be counted on one hand. Which is why you would only expect the best quality food served by wait staff who attentive to your needs.
To briefly summarize our experience, we were left disappointed, hungry and frankly we would have been better off dining in the food court next door.
The food left us with mixed reviews as there were elements that really did shine, but then you had very lackluster plates, offering very little for the senses. The service was the big differentiation to our overall experience. Now it is very rare that we don't enjoy ourselves at a restaurant, as we are probably one of the least demanding customers you would see. When it comes to table service, we prefer to do our own thing so long as the water is topped up, the food arrives fast and we aren't interrupted. So for us to come out and say we didn't like a place, there is something wrong. However when you arrive at 12:20 with a reservation, only to be standing at the front desk for 10 minutes as several wait staff walk past and give eye contact. You know something is off.
When we were finally sat down, we ordered two entree's and two mains hoping to be brought out in similar fashion. However each dish was brought out separately, one by one with about 20-30 minutes wait in between. We were seated at 12:30pm, and our final dish arrived at the table at 2:20pm. We have eaten through degustation menus in a shorter seating. The waiter continued to keep refilling out almost full glasses of water as well (which isn't a bad thing) however because of where we were seated, it was a constant reaching over to the glass until I offered to move it for him. Finally when we asked for the bill, it took some time also. We noticed the table next to us was waiting about 20 minutes to receive the bill so we had already expected the worst.
Unfortunately that was our disappointing experience at Sokyo. Reading reviews online suggest that this might be a "irregular" occurrence, but needless to say that's what happened and we won't be returning any time soon. The more detailed experience on each dish is below.
This was the silver lining of the afternoon, the dish that actually heightened our experience for that brief moment when the succulent beef short rib melted away in our mouths. This is the standard we had hoped to expect at Sokyo and at $12 a skewer (minimum order of 2 required), we definitely got our money's worth. Perhaps not in portion size, but in the experience of all the memories it brought back memories from our time in Japan. It was served with caramelized eshallots and BBQ teriyaki sauce which we could not get enough of!
The duck was the next dish to arrive at our table, and after such a pleasant experience with the beef robata we thought we might be in for a treat. Regrettably it was the complete opposite. The duck was topped with skin that was both very fatty and chewy, making it unpleasant to eat and especially at $38 for the dish. The salad was quite likable and even though the duck was a let down, the flavours came together well on the plate.
Sea Scallop & King Prawn
The serving was two scallops with four small "king" prawns and three snap peas to accompany. We understand that at an establishment like Sokyo, the price is indicative of the taste and experience and therefore quantity is irrelevant. But we can't help but feel ripped off after waiting 30 minutes for this dish. Perhaps we were just overly hungry by this point, but the sauce was incredibly delectable! The scallop was cooked perfectly but the prawns felt a little overcooked. A small, but enjoyable dish.
Japanese BBQ sushi roll
What discourages us from writing this post, is that our favourite items that were served us during out sitting were a beef skewer, and a sushi roll. Both which are available in many places at much cheaper prices. The karubi short rib was in similar fashion to the beef robata, incredibly succulent! The shiitake sauce that is drizzled on the sushi made the dish go from tasty, to delicious. We were provided soy sauce, but you didn't need much to truly enjoy this dish! Very well done, the person cooking the beef was definitely on point that day!
Sorry for the long rant. The service really left a sour taste in our mouth, one that could only be fixed with some Gelato Messina.