April 13, 2014 Beirut Lebanon Middle East

Scoozi: They Call it Open Sushi... Preferably Not (Restaurant Closed)

Phone Number: +961 1 288244

Address: Beirut City Centre, Hazmieh, The Terrace, Beirut, Lebanon

Website: http://www.boubess.com/brands#!scoozi

Price Range: 33-45 $


Welcoming: 4/5

Food Temperature: 4/10

Ambiance / Music: 7/10

Menu Choice: 1/5

Food Taste: 17/30

Architecture / Interior: 9/10

Food presentation: 5/10

Service: 6/10

Value for money: Soon

Scoozi: Deceiving Food! (Restaurant Closed)

I was at Cozmo just a day before I came to Scoozi. Let's just say I had less than average sushi at their conveyer belt. I had a plane to catch to Dubai at 5pm, so my wife and I left home earlier to grab a bite somewhere. We stopped at Beirut City Centre. Let's Sushi she said. So we did. I haven't been to Scoozi in a while, at least three years ago, so we thought why not give it a try... 
In 1992 Scoozi opened in Verdun as the first Italian restaurant to offer a comprehensive range of pizza, pasta and salad. Scoozi specializes in preparing hand-made, wood baked pizzas in an open kitchen, producing its own fresh pasta, traditional Italian dishes and superb desserts, creating a place for people to dine out while still feeling "at home". As competition has increased and more Italian restaurants have opened, Scoozi has differentiated itself from other restaurants by creating the concept of the Scoozi Conveyor.
We sat at the conveyor belt and were welcomed by a waitress who informed us that they were offering an open sushi formula. It wasn't going to choose what I like and pay according to their color codes... Anyway, open sushi for $33 was intriguing, so we decided to play the game.

The $33 formula:

  • Miso soup
  • Crazy salad
  • 3 appetizers (a tiny bite of each)
  • 9 pieces of sashimi (I only received 4 pieces of salmon)
  • Open sushi (Let’s say a few place of rice stuffed with some fish prepared in advance)
The place:
  • A light relaxed ambiance with natural light entering from all sides
  • Nicely designed light wood chairs and tables
  • A couple of light brown sofas
  • A triangular conveyor belt like the one found at Cozmo which offers the same concept at Kaiten
  • The bar is relaxing since it's low at table level
  • Another bar serve drinks and coffee
  • Black lights pend from the ceiling over every person
  • Posters of Italian origins decorate all the walls
  • Two columns of brick separate the restaurant from the mall
The conveyer belt was empty. It was still off when we came and was off when they started putting some plates on it... A tiny choice of maki rolls that was actually too cold. They seemed like they have been made early in the morning and refrigerated, not to assume the night before. We said OK, let's enjoy the food like we often do at fast food sushi joints in Europe. You eat what is placed in front of you and nothing else. The choices are limited and unappetizing. My wife, who's pregnant couldn't eat any of the plates proposed. We asked them to make us some crabstick makis. One of the women behind the counter told her friend, "but we are not allowed to make anything else." After a long debate with each other they prepared some crab rolls that she could eat.
An overdose of rice is what's for lunch along with fried appetizer bites that smell used oil.
Let's eat:
  • Cucumbers, crab and crazy salad are fresh but finishes in two small bites: A stingy portion
  • Crispy California were acceptable
  • All the crisps were fresh and crispy
  • Crab, avocado with Philadelphia cream were light
  • Rice is well cooked in some pieces and less in others
  • Too much rice for a little fish
The good things:
  • Soy sauce bottles are not refilled. They use the original Kikkoman
The bad things:
  • Choices are mediocre
  • Rolls are prepared earlier in the day or maybe the night before
  • I think you have to change your graphic designer: The menu looks so cheap and empty

For the price, choices and quality, lunch at Scoozi was not worth it. If you don't care much about good sushi and just want to nibble on something then this could be a place to consider, otherwise you will be disappointed.  And here comes the best part – their "nonsense policies" to end the experience. I tried taking some images for my review just after paying; the manager then approached me to let me know that "Photos are not allowed". Dear management, we are in 2014 and one single photo on social media is a free advertisement for your restaurant or brands. Are you scared of us stealing the design? Or do you have something to hide? Please! Better review such unnecessary policies.

I am really intrigued to know how the same company, Boubess Group, manages to deliver so much inconsistency under one roof. Kaiten offers something; Cozmo offers another, while Scoozi offers something completely different... Maybe they can get their best sushi masters to train the rest to deliver the same taste around their different restaurants around town.

If I want to eat sushi at one of Boubess' restaurants, I'll stick to Kaiten in Hamra from now on.





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