Jasmine Cafe - Value up the Wazoo

On Saturday night, we ventured downtown for a light dinner and stopped off at Jasmine Cafe. I'd heard mixed reviews about this place, mostly centered around the fact that the sushi was cheap and the place catered to the college crowd. But who says that a meal has to be expensive to be good?

It's a cozy little joint with hand-painted windows featuring various sea creatures, low ceilings and the alcohol list scrolled on one wall made entirely of chalkboard. The servers wear black t-shirts with the phrase "I like it raw" printed on the back. Fun, right? There are only about 15 tables in the place, and we were lucky enough to get one of the last spaces. If you're bringing a larger group, I'd suggest calling ahead to see if they could push a couple of tables together, as their tables only seat 2 or 4 people.

I have to be honest, the service was a bit slow. We sat for awhile before even being greeted by our server, and it seemed to take forever to just get our drinks. I can't say it was due to understaffing because there were at least 4 servers in the place, so that would mean each of them only had 3-4 tables to take care of. Not exactly rocket science.

We started off, as we usually do, with a bowl of salted edamame. I was about ready to chew my arm off before it finally came out, and when it did, it seemed to be a bit over-steamed. The outside of the edamame looked a bit wilted and wrinkled, not exactly something you'd want to dig into. But we did anyway, because we were just so darn hungry.

Next, we selected the Rainbow Roll and the Hurricane Roll. I'm not quite exactly sure what was in each roll, because the current menu isn't posted on their website, so I'll just have to tell you as best as I remember. I'm pretty sure the rainbow roll was like a california roll inside and topped with various pieces of sashimi (tuna, salmon, etc.) and avocado. The hurricane roll (I believe) featured crunchy shrimp on the inside, tuna sashimi and avocado on top and hot pepper jelly drizzled on top. I preferred the hurricane roll, but hubby liked the rainbow roll best. I thought the pepper jelly really gave a nice spicy kick to the roll.

I had no qualms about the quality of the sushi - I though it was fresh and flavorful. I did think the size of the rolls were a bit smallish, but then I realized that they cut their sushi into 9-10 pieces instead of the normal 6-8, so I guess that's allowable.

Okay, so let's get back to the issue of the price. It was a very economical meal. Most of the rolls are priced from $5-$7 each, with some of the specialty rolls being a pit pricier. Our hurricane roll, for example, was $10. My husband ordered a draft beer (I'm not a beer drinker, so I didn't pay that much attention to the name, but I know it was a seasonal variety) and it only cost him $2, which made him a very happy camper. Now, if they could only improve upon the service a bit, this place would be an even better value!

Tally Foodie Rating:
Atmosphere - B (a bit tiny and crowded on the inside)
Taste - B+
Presentation - B
Service - C
Price - $

Restaurant Info:
Jasmine Cafe & Lounge
109 East College Ave
Tallahassee FL 32301

Jasmine Cafe & Lounge on Urbanspoon


About this blog

This blog is dedicated to giving you honest reviews of local restaurants in Tallahassee and the surrounding area. I won't hold any punches, you'll hear about it all - the good, the bad and the (hopefully infrequent) inedible!

This blog was written from July 2009 - August 2010 and is now retired. I currently live in Sarasota, FL...stay tuned for more on my adventures there!