I couldn't resist getting the Groupon voucher for I Ke Su after reading all the positive and glowing reviews of it on Urbanspoon (US). I called almost 2 weeks in advance to book a table and was really looking forward to it, until negative reviews from fellow Groupon buyers started appearing on US. I was really shocked by all the negative reviews as it was a stark contrast to the initial glowing reviews. It seems like I Ke Su had fallen from grace. From best and fresh, it became terrible, not fresh and disappointing. We prepared ourselves for the worst but the food was actually quite ok. It's a family business run by Viets and the only Japanese in the house was the waitress. The service was great and the owners seemed like genuinely nice people who are trying their best to keep I Ke Su going. We actually feel sorry for them that there are so many negative reviews on US.
The seaweed salad, edamame and miso soup were pretty standard. Some of the reviewers mentioned that these were probably store bought items which we agree but seriously, that's what most Japanese restaurants do. Let's face it, this is Melbourne, quality and authentic Japanese food is hard to come by and hey, we aren't paying top dollars, so let's adjust our expectations a little.
The gyoza was not pan-fried but deep fried. Not what we were expecting but they were still good.
This is I Ke Su's speciality item and the owner made it a point to recommend it to every diner. A Jap and Viet fushion where vietnamese corn flakes is used in the tempura coating. I like the coating but not the sweet sauce. Our fave for the night.
This is the weirdest of them all. Agedashi tofu it's not. More like deep fried tofu swimming in some sauce. *speechless*
We thought the sashimi was ok, definitely not as bad as what has been said about it on US. The rice in the nigiri sushi was too dry and hard but the rolls were pretty good. It isn't the best but not the worst. We've had worse sushi and sashimi in Melbourne and Gold Coast.
Overall, we enjoyed our dinner at I Ke Su. The food definitely wasn't worth the $100 that it advertised itself to be. But we absolutely love the service we got. Friendly, attentive and genuine. The male owner was taking a break and was sitting opposite us when he saw me digging into my bag for tissue and immediately walked over to hand me more serviettes, with a huge smile on his face. He then went on to tell us that if we are still hungry, we can pick up more food from the sushi boat at no charge. The $50 Groupon was probably not as great a deal it was made out to be but it was a fair price for the amount of food we got.