Here Todai, Gone Tomorrow
Here Todai, Gone Tomorrow. In the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg, there is the destination Woodfield Mall with Ikea behind it and another huge upscale strip mall in front of it. The Woodfield Mall is huge, and has every store you could want, and all the biggest chain restaurants in it, including one restaurant called Todai, pronounced Toad-eye. It is an all you can eat Japanese food restaurant, with the most udon, desserts, teriyaki, sushi and sashimi you could eat. During one trip in the winter, I went with my cousin, her husband and her 2 boys to Todai on a Saturday night at 5 pm just as they restaurant opened. The line was out the door, and the excitment built in the crowd as each party was seated. The boys, who love sushi, snails, fruits and veggies, were just beside themselves as we made our way to the front of the line. It was a fun experience with the boys, and neighboring tables because there were a lot of happy and fun people tasting freshly made sushi at a volume of all they could it. The excitment in the air was similar to that of tail-gating at a Big Ten Football game with the best Big Ten fans ever.
The price was right, it was only about $25 for whatever my heart desired. On occassion, at other sushi restaurants, I have spent way more than $25 when I am able to get abalone or oh-toro. Then, fast forward to this summer, a few weeks ago, when I found myself working in Schaumburg on Tuesday, and I hopped on over to Todai. I was remembering that fun time I had over the winter and I was looking forward to a similar experience. What I found was a 20 minute wait to be seated at this nearly empty restaurant the size of a football field because the hostess was too busy flirting with a co-worker while they sat at an empty table. There was low turnover of product, so the sushi was sitting out getting funky and too warm, and the teriyaki was getting that buffet tough dried edge to it. No one came by to ask me about drinks, so I ended up going to the waitress station and pouring myself my own glass of water. The employees of the place were purely rude and slacker like during this Tuesday trip. I have no need to re-visit Todai or recommend it to anyone. After departing that Tuesday's horrible dining experience, feeling burned that I spent the $25, I got on the internet to see what others had to say about Todai. It was exactly my experiences. Half said good, and the other half hated Todai, and called it a waste of money and time. I guess the only time to go is Saturday for dinner when there is a lot of product turn over, and when other diners are happy.
I really don't want to write about bad experiences, but my 2 experiences were completely polar opposites, and I thought it was note worthy to write about both of them.