These are archived reviews of Zen Toro from 2007. For more recent comments, please visit the entry.

2007-01-04 23:58:02   We had pretty good service last night. My husband and I arrived before the rest of our party, and we weren't sure at that point if there were going to be four people, or six people in our party total. They seated us at a table for four, and told us that if we needed to, we could move the table next to us over (our party ended up having seven people). The only hitch was that with our large party, not all the food arrived at the same time, but that's expected. The waitress was really nice, and didn't charge us the 18% gratuity they normally add on to parties of six or more. —AnnaJones

2007-01-26 20:03:02   ok so i finally got around to trying this place. My feelings about it are kind of mixed. Firstly i would like to say the ambiance was better than other japanese restaurants in Davis, and the servers were very nice. However the service was sub standard. Firstly the dinners came out almost 15 minutes apart, and it was dinner for two. Secondly they kept on asking us if we were ready while we were still reading the menu (this is not a big deal if they ask a few times, but 4-5 is unacceptable). As for the food, the tuna sashimi was the best ive had ever (and i live in LA where theres a sushi place every block). It was super fresh and had no sinew at all (rarity for tuna in davis). The grilled white tuna was decent but slightly over salted and over cooked (medium rare should be very raw in the center when were talking about tuna). The spicy tuna roll was different, i personally did not like the chili powder and salt taste, but thats a personal preference and was happy to see them thinking outside the box on that one (and the tuna was actually spicey a rarity in davis). the tataki roll was good but the fried onions and avacado were two abundant and overshadowed the fresh fish. The worst part of the meal was the side dishes. Macaroni salad and coleslaw that was UNSERVEABLE for a classy restaurant. A side dish of mayonnaise and noodles is just growse, at a restaurant like this you expect the sides to match the food, otherwise they shouldnt be served. I would say that if it werent for the sides i would call it the best japanese in davis. In my opinion you got to Nobu Hiro for the deal, Moshi Moshi for the rolls, and this place for the quality sashimi. -MattHh

2007-02-06 12:48:32   This place is Packed!!!! I tried to go last weekend and there were 20 people in front of me waiting inline ... Best place in davis for Sushi. But yeah .. they are a bit too slow. Chirashi is too small for the price that they are charging. —AvilaVoom

2007-03-04 11:24:37   This is the best sushi ever! My favorites are the ZT Crunch and the Tatakie Attack. I've never tried their other dishes, I just get sushi but it's the best sushi ever! I went on a Saturday night last time and it was really busy, but if you're patient you'll get it. Unfortunately, some really impatient and rude table was mad that it took an hour for their sushi dish to come out and they left without paying. Jerks. Be patient, there's a billion people they're serving and they're working as fast as they can! —CourageCowardlyDog

2007-03-04 14:02:08   ahi poke is delicious. i wish they had those potato fritters on the menu as an appeitizer...they are DELICIOUS. —EmilyTung

2007-03-27 12:47:27   Service still dissapoints me. We walked in and were greeted very politely, and she stopped us halfway to the table to grab a towel and wipe it down. That was fine, it was lunchtime and it was almost crowded. We were given cups of water, but no chopsticks or napkins. My glass had lipstick stains all over it, and she replaced it nicely when I asked, but still forgot to bring us napkins/chopsticks. Our soups came, and we ended up standing up to grab them from the counter ourselves (we were seated close by). After dropping the food off, the only time we saw her again was when she dropped off the check. It would have been nice to have the cup of mostly ice be refilled with a sip of water. The food was delicious, but I think it's too pricy for the amount that you get (and what is with the maccaronni salad?) especially with the service (maybe I'm just unlucky everytime I go, but I've gotten similar service every time). —ES

2007-04-03 19:35:29   Did not have a pleasant experience. My guests order took an hour to arrive, and it was a seafood salad, essentially sashimi and some vegetables. We were both pretty full as we nibbled on my order while we waited, and the place was not busy. —Alex

2007-04-15 18:14:48   Zen Toro has a nice ambiance. The rolls are really good but the dinners were just okay. Service was subpar —GoAggies!

2007-05-02 12:56:21   Very good japanese food here including sushi. Their price is sufficient for the amount of food you get. Their rolls are very good and you get a wide selection. Everything tastes fresh and delicious. —trambajuice

2007-05-18 16:33:07   Best sushi in Davis!!! No question! Almost the best sushi in Sacramento for that matter. —Bekah

2007-05-29 22:18:17   This is particularly relevant to vegetarians and those who hate bad customer service.

I get there at 8:40 tonight and get seated immediately, so far so good. The menu has no separate vegetarian section, so I ask what all they have that is vegetarian. I'm told, tempura, edamame, inari, etc. So I order a ton of inari, an order of edamame, and an avocado roll that's not on the menu but that they say they will make for me. I get a drink, wait for my food, and at 9:15, the guy comes back and tells me they don't have inari. Well, that inari was 90% of my order and it's now *half an hour* later. No apology or anything, he just tells me I can order tempura instead. I know I can, thanks a lot.

I tell him to just cancel everything and bring me the check. The guy comes back a few minutes later with a check for like $22. I go up to the counter, hand it back to him, and tell him I'm not paying for anything but my drink because that's all they actually managed to give me in the last half hour. So then he comes back five minutes later with a check for like $6, everything is whited out but the drink and the edamame. So now I'm getting pissed off. I sat there for half an hour and they never brought me the edamame, so I'm certainly not going to pay for it. Finally I get a check for $1.75 and smack down $2 on the table and leave. I would have asked for my f*ing quarter just on principle, but it was almost 9:30 and I still had to find dinner.

I'm not into paying other people to treat me badly, so I'll stick to the other sushi places in town, such as Nobu Hiro and Moshi Moshi, and encourage all other non-masochists to do the same.


2007-07-24 03:13:00   i don;t like zen toro's prices either, but being a vegeterian n worked in a restaurant before, i know how sad it is to serve vegeterians when the restaurant itself is not geared toward those people. Esp restaurants with set meals and items that can't really be changed like sushi, i mean comon its fish + rice, if you are looking for cucumber + rice, you can go to safeway —JamesLi

2007-09-19 16:56:07   i've been there three times and the rolls are the best i've ever had. i had a great experience every time. the guy server was particularly nice. my favorites are the ssc and tataki attack rolls. —jon-d

2007-11-07 21:20:21   This place isn't bad. Service is decent, food is good, it's quieter, smaller, and more intimate that most other places around. Not the college bargain sushi hangout. And speaking of bargain sushi, why does everyone keep comparing this place to Fuji? OF COURSE zen toro is better than Fuji, Fuji is like the grossest sushi place ever. Everywhere's better than fuji. —Lisa

2007-11-08 22:37:06   YUMMMY!!! this place is decorated so nicely...and such a preety atmosphere...i dont remember the three dishes we ordered but each were different and delicious in their own way...the side sauces they give go really well with the sushi..and nice big rolls so its hard to fit it all in your mouth at once..haha but this place is really great...

oh yeah and its kind of expensive..but the sushi quality is definitely worth it!! definetly!!! —MAIRA

2007-11-12 10:57:08   I took a friend from out-of-town to dinner here a few days ago and we really enjoyed it. The atmosphere was comfortable and relaxed, the food looked and tasted delicious. I had read here that the servers were inattentive, but they were fine and it seemed to me that they were simply low-key and unobtrusive. Zen Toro is one of the best restaurants I've been to in Davis. —DukeMcAdow

2007-11-16 01:19:21   this restaurant is amazing!!! i have never tried anything like these rolls before. the name of these rolls taste like what is described in the roll. it is a bit overpriced, but if you are looking for a really good sushi place to eat at, ZEN TORO is your choice!! —jentruong

2007-11-16 10:28:26   Creative sushi rolls and beautiful presentation. The service was a bit slow, but not too bad considering how busy this place can get! Very fresh sashimi, a nice selection of sake and shochu as well. The proprietors were very friendly and accommodating. It was great to be greeted with a enthusiastic "irrashai!" upon entering. Oh, and love that toilet! :p —JuliePalmer

2007-11-26 19:27:34   Great food, I love eating here. I wish you guys had not pulled the macaroni salad from your dishes just because of the wiki comments. Oh well. Can't please everyone. More importantly, please offer the tempura deep fried ice cream on the regular menu. I don't even remotely enjoy it from other restaurants; it's usually greasy, difficult to eat, with little to no flavor being added from the batter. Not so with yours - it's amazing. Amaaazing. Now I know Zen Toro has great rolls, sushi, and other japanese food, and it may seem silly to focus on a single dessert item. But if you ever try it you'll understand. —rgysel

2007-12-19 00:10:29   We had a very enjoyable meal here. Portions were quite large and the atmosphere was very pleasant. We tried the spicy teriyaki beef over rice, which was a nice change over the usual teriyaki. We also had a vegetable sushi platter; some of the items we liked, and some we didn't, but it was just that some were not to our liking, not that they were prepared poorly. In fact, it was obvious that our dishes were prepared with great care. Next time, we will simply order something else! (I think we would have been better off with the "Vegetarian Delight" sushi, or picking our own sushi, rather than the mixed platter). —CovertProfessor

2007-12-19 02:14:43   this is some of the best japanese food in davis. the tempura is crunchy and light, and the sashimi is fresh (these are the things i usually judge japanese restaurants by). i'm not really into ordering big rolls, so i can't really comment much on those. they looked nice, though. service isn't always great, but i've never experienced terrible service here. for what it's worth, my old roommate and i picked zen toro for dinner for out last night in davis. —JennSuzuki

2007-12-19 13:30:14   I'm sad to hear the bad experiences some people are having. I haven't been to Zen Toro's though for almost a year so maybe things have changed since I've gone. —EmilyTung

2007-12-26 20:36:45   Its been a while since ive been here, so i figured id give it another try. Overall i have similar complaints to my last visit (too much salt). first, Id like to say that the service is much improved (although it wasn't busy). I went with one other person and we ordered the pan fried thai fish, the poke salad, the tapas roll, an extra miso sooup and an extra sunomono. The miso soup was actually the best ive ever had at a restaurant. The sunomono was artfully presented and very lightly pickled which is a nice change to the much stronger ones i usually eat. The first bite of the poke salad was wonderfull, but as i continued, i enjoyed it less and less. First complaint is that you should not put strong, bitter, raw onions in this salad; they were described as sweet onions on the menu but were anything but sweet (this actually common for sweet onions, especially when they are out of season). Carmalizing and then chilling them would have probably worked better here. The salad also needed more wakame, it was almost all tuna, which probably pleases most people, but deletes the pleasant sweetness this salad usually has (note that carmelizing the onions may have fixed this). The dish was also a little too salty but again carmelizing the onions could fix this as well. The tapas roll was tasty, the jalapenos could have been cut a little smaller or de-membraned so that the customer can control the heat better to his/her choosing, (but thats a really nit picky complaint). The pan fried fish was cooked perfectly and the flavors were quite unique. However, once again this dish was too salty. When the fish is covered in a soy sauce based sauce with capers, the fish itself should not be salted. Overall, these complaints are small, but significant enough that I don't plan on going here on a regular basis. Its still the best Japanese food in Davis, but i also think there is lots of room for improvement. —MattHh