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Scoozi: They Call it Open Sushi... Preferably Not
How great it is to have a free parking in a mall and City Centre Beirut is one of those few shopping centers where this is available. Leave your car in their huge parking where a place is always available and take the elevator or conveyor carpet to the floors above.
I've been coming here almost on a weekly basis enjoying the freshness this mall offers and the wide choices of restaurants. Italian, fast food, burgers or sushi, they have it all as well as three shisha places for whom it may concern, occupying their open terrace.
Been to Scoozi to try their open sushi on the conveyor belt few months back and decided to have a closer look on their Italian and Japanese menu tonight.
Nestled in the mall's heart facing P.F.Chang's is Scoozi, a restaurant playing Italian music in this well lit setup. White and black tiles cover the floor in a large space decorated by an Italian kitchen drawing occupying the main wall. The sushi conveyor belt occupies a side and the dining area another one.
I enjoyed the colorful chairs and placemats, the new double menu with Italian and Japanese choices each presented seperately as well as the long leather sofas. But, unfortunately the chairs are too high for the tables giving you a guaranteed backache and unpleasant feel while trying to enjoy dinner.
We were approached by the waiter for the order. The salmon sashimi salad, burrata, fried calamari, risotto and pizza, a general choice for a complete idea of the restaurant's offerings.
Dinner started with a basket of bread, olive oil dip and balsamic vinegar on the side.
- Burrata LBP29,900: a round plate with a molten heart burrata in the middle surrounded by roquette leaves and cherry tomatoes cut in half served with balsamic reduction. A tender melting cheese ball surrounded by fresh vegetables and a strong balsamic flavor adding an interesting touch to this plate. That's a good start.
- Fried Squid LBP24,500: A mountain of fried Calamari not looking too appetizing with their bright white color but offering an interesting crunch and a frozen bags quality taste. Tartare on another hand is a bit too salty. I would have preferred the calamari to have a different color, more cooking and the sauce be prepared with more finesse.
- Risotto shrimps and lemon LBP24,500. A huge no if we even consider it to be a risotto but simply overcooked rice with a sauce one would eat like local home food. That's normal rice and not Italian arborio missing a crunch, missing lots of juice and sauce and some strong flavors like pepper or lemon zest. Anyway it doesn't look appetizing with its dry surface. Reminded me of the local "yakhnet" with rice. A risotto should be crunchy cooked al dente, have more sauce, cooked less and offer stronger flavors. The decorative lemon on top is ridiculous. Too creamy for me.
- Pepperoni pizza LBP21,500. An extremely thin dough that's lightly crispy and not chewy topped with some tomato sauce, melting cheese and thinly sliced spicy pepperoni offering a premium taste. The pizza is fine despite its light chewy borders which would have been better crispy. Pepperoni quality is very good.
- Salmon sashimi salad LBP19,500. A generous mountain of salmon sashimi covered with crunchy crisps but the taste is not as I expected it to be. Add soy sauce on top and the experience would be good. The pieces are big and have an unpleasant texture under the teeth.
- Food is deceiving and needs lots of fine tuning and finesse to be called Italian.
- Salmon quality is too bad.
- Seats are too hard and firm and very high for the low tables.
- Waiters are well trained.
- The manager is super professional; I like his attitude and manners.
- Portions are generous.
- Scoozi has a terrace of its own where smoking is allowed.
Last time's open sushi was deceiving and today's experience was not far from the last one. Food needs lots of work! I might consider Scoozi for a drink.