REVIEW: We Try the $300 Giant Boat of Sushi & Over 25 Items at NEW Shiki-Sai Restaurant in EPCOT’s Japan Pavilion

Shannen Ace

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REVIEW: We Try the $300 Giant Boat of Sushi & Over 25 Items at NEW Shiki-Sai Restaurant in EPCOT’s Japan Pavilion

Shiki-Sai: Sushi Izakaya has already soft-opened, and we visited EPCOT to give a review of the new Japan Pavilion venue. The restaurant officially opens on August 30, and reservations are now available. They are currently accepting walk-ups only.

Shiki-Sai: Sushi Izakaya

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Shiki-Sai is on the second floor of the Japan Pavilion. Guests dining at night may have a view of EPCOT’s nighttime spectacular (currently “EPCOT Forever”) on World Showcase Lagoon.

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Shiki-Sai is open from noon to 9:00 p.m. daily.

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Shiki-Sai Menu

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Here’s a look at the menu. Shiki-Sai is on the front in a gold font, surrounded by flora and fauna of Japan.

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Inside, you’ll find chef specials, starters, izakaya classics, and more.

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There are also many options if you’re looking for an alcoholic drink, including sake, craft spirits, beer, and wine.

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Prior to your meal, you’re given an individually wrapped oshibori, or a wet hand towel, to cleanse your hands before eating.

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Each table also gets coasters themed to the restaurant. The back has the logo for Shiki-Sai, while the front includes art of animals.

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As the theme of the restaurant is seasonal celebrations from Japan, summer is anchored by Tanabata, also known as the Star Festival. The festival might have already ended in Japan, but you can still enjoy it at Shiki-Sai.

Tanabata is celebrated by making decorations, attending parades, eating noodles, and making wishes. Heartfelt wishes are written on colorful paper strips, or tanzaku, and hung on bamboo branches, brightening homes and adding a festive air to city streets, train stations, and other public spaces.

Tanabata celebrates a story of two celestial lovers, Orihime and Hikoboshi, who are separated by the Milky Way. They’re allowed to only meet once a year, on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month, during the Tanabata Festival.

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We were given a colorful tanzaku to write a heartfelt wish of our own. The front has a blue to pink gradient with stars, and is attached to a blue ribbon.

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Chef Specials

Fune for 4-6 – $300.00

“Boat presentation” showcasing a premium assortment of sushi and sashimi

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We started off with getting the Fune, which came presented in a boat.

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There was even a small parade of sorts as it got brought out to the table.

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The boat offers a variety of sushi and sashimi, and there’s plenty enough to share.

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We thought all of the sushi and sashimi were very fresh, but they all had kind of a salty taste.

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Our favorites were the tai (sea bream) and Japanese sea bass sashimi.

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Overall, we enjoyed the experience but also felt like it was a bit overpriced. Keep in mind there is no discount available for this menu item.

Roll & Temaki

Natto Roll – $8.00

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Natto is a traditional Japanese comfort food. While part of our group enjoyed it, some were not fans of the smell or texture.

Starters

Gobo chips – $8.00

Strips of crispy fried burdock root seasoned with salt and aonori

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We found the Gobo chips to be overpriced. It’s definitely a bar snack, but we don’t know if this is really what we’d call an appetizer. We also thought it had a hint of spice from all the seasonings.

Miso soup – $6.00

With wakame, tofu, and scallions

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The Miso soup was just okay. We are used to Miso with more tofu, but this one was primarily broth.

Takoyaki – $10.00

Fried batter filled with octopus, topped with spicy mayo and tonkatsu sauce

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This isn’t the frozen takoyaki that you’ll find at local Japanese restaurants, as it’s made in house. The takoyaki were crispy on the outside from being fried and creamy on the inside.

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The octopus included inside was a bit small and chewy, but despite that, you can still taste that flavor. We also thought the mayonnaise overpowered the dish.

Clam Miso Soup – $10.00

Miso soup enhanced with clams

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We tasted ginger more than clam in this clam miso soup.

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We were hoping to taste more clam, but the clam itself was good and tasted fresh, not over-boiled.

Kara-age Chicken – $12.00

Japanese-style fried chicken flavored with garlic and ginger and served with lemon

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Part of our group loved this, but $12 for only four pieces of kara-age seems a bit expensive.

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However, the chicken was crispy on the outside, and juicy on the inside. We thought it was better than the kara-age available at San Fransokyo Square in Disney California Adventure.

Izakaya Classics

Rock Shrimp Tempura – $24.00

Crispy shrimp tossed in creamy yuzu sauce

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We thought the shrimp was very good. It had light breading, and some garlic and salty flavors there as well.

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The shrimp is not too fishy, either, which is always a plus.

Grilled Wagyu Gyoza 3 pc – $20.00

Pan fried dumplings filled with smoky A5 Japanese wagyu beef

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We thought that the grilled wagyu gyoza tasted like White Castle burgers but at a much higher price!

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It definitely did not taste like a regular dumpling.

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Even so, part of our group loved them.

Eggplant – $9.00

Topped with miso sauce

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We thought the eggplant had too much sauce, which was so soaked into the vegetable, we hardly tasted any eggplant at all. As for the miso sauce, we found it to be a combination of sweet and savory.

Vegetable Tempura – $15.00

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Our vegetable tempura plate came with shishito pepper, onion, pumpkin, and mushroom with wasabi salt to dip. The salt is very strong but quite good and elevates the dish.

This is regular vegetable tempura, nothing special. We had better tempura at the Delta hub in Haneda. If you’re coming to Shiki-Sai just to drink, you’ll definitely want something salty, and this is fine for that.

Tomato “Garden” Salad – $12.00

Tomato, avocado, grilled mushroom tossed in truffle oil with creamy goma dressing

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We thought this was quite flavorless. There’s not a lot going on with this cold tomato and mushroom salad. We thought that it could’ve used more avocado.

From the Grill

Kushi Assorted – $30.00

Six of our signature skewers featuring two each of beef, chicken, and shrimp

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Instead of using regular Japanese skewer sauce, these skewers were coated in a sweet miso sauce. The chicken was juicy and our overall favorite. The beef skewer was a bit tough, but part of our group enjoyed it. The shrimp were a decent size, tender and cooked well.

Overall, $30 for these skewers seems overpriced.

Individual Kushi – Seasonal Vegetable – $6.00

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For our seasonal vegetable skewer, we went with the mushroom and asparagus. There were other options available, though, like tomato.

These skewers were $6, which is not cheap for just a single skewer with just a few pieces of vegetable on it. The taste was your average Japanese skewer; good, but nothing too fancy.

Okonomiyaki – $28.00

Japanese savory pancake filled with bacon

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Okonomiyaki is a Japanese savory pancake dish that consists of wheat flour batter and other ingredients cooked on a teppan. Ours was filled with bacon. The sweet sauce on top overpowered the flavors of the pancake. We thought the pancake was tasty, but wish it was a bit crispier.

For $28, we also felt that this was overpriced for what it was.

Beef Yaki-Udon – $28.00

Stir-fried udo noodles tossed with beef and vegetables

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We could taste the same sweet sauce featured in other dishes here.

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While it is good, we wish that there could be some variety in the sauces. We think they should have used soy sauce and dashi instead, like traditional yaki-udon.

Non-alcoholic Specialties

Violet Yuzu Lemonade – $12.00

Yuzu juice, lemonade, blue butterfly pea flower

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This drink comes with the blue butterfly pea flower in a separate shotglass, so you have to pour it yourself.

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We thought this was tasty! Though, as you can see, we went a little overboard on the pour and almost overfilled our glass.

We tasted more yuzu than lemonade, and it has more of a tart flavor than regular lemonade.

Gari Gari Soda – $12.00

Soda with Japanese ice popsicle

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This is the non-alcoholic version of the Gari Gari Soda. It was Ramune flavored. Ramune is a soft drink that’s quite famous in Japan.

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To us, it was almost like a Sprite-style float. We thought it was very refreshing and great for summer.

Specialty Cocktails

Violet Sake – $16.00

Popular violet-colored sake cocktail

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The flavor of this reminded us of the purple Kool-Aid plastic bottles you might remember from childhood. This tastes exactly like that but with alcohol. We loved it. Is it complex or interesting? No. Is it nostalgic? Yes. It’s very sugary, though.

Tokyo Sunset – $16.00

Sunset-colored cocktail with pineapple, coconut rum & orange juice with a splash of grenadine

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With this, we got mostly juice, though you can taste the coconut, rum, and pineapple. It’s not overly sweet, a little tart but not too much.

Sake Sangria – $18.00

Fruit-infused sake cocktail

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This sangria is strong but very good. The cucumber comes through on the back end but tastes very fruity throughout.

Mt. Fuji – $16.00

Refreshing sake cocktail with blue curacao and pineapple

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This cocktail was tart and sweet, with the sake flavor really coming through on the back end. It’s not syrupy to its credit, but if you’re not a fan of sweet cocktails, this might be a bit much.

Summer’s End – $16.00

Summery, refreshing sake cocktail with strawberry, sake, apple juice, and a splash of citrus juice

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This drink tasted like Sake and apple juice, but mostly apple juice, which isn’t what we expected given the color of the drink.

Shochu Squeeze – $16.00

Choice of fresh citrus with shochu soda –

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During our visit, the choices of citrus were grapefruit and orange — we went with orange. Shochu is a Japanese distilled liquor, typically made from rice, barley, and potatoes.

You juice the citrus yourself, and then pour the liquid into your cocktail. Despite putting the juice of a whole orange in our drink, that flavor doesn’t overpower it at all. It’s a nice, strong cocktail and was our favorite we had so far.

Toki Highball – $18.00

Suntory Toki whiskey, soda, yuzu juice

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This cocktail has a lot of whiskey and a little bit of yuzu. Whiskey-forward would be an understatement, but if you want a stronger drink, this is the way to go.

Chu-Hai

Gari Gari Sour Orange – $16.00

Shochu & orange popsicle with soda

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This tasted like artificial orange, and we found it to be super overwhelming, and it did not mesh well with the shochu. We preferred the non-alcoholic Ramune version.

Overall

Overall, we found a lot of the dishes to be good quality, but even for theme park quality, it is still very overpriced. You can do a lot for $300 at Walt Disney World, and only getting the sushi and sashimi boat is not enough for the price.

We think that this is a great place for quick bites and fun drinks, and you can just avoid the specialty items if you want to save money.

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