Columbus >Food & Dining > Kooma Restaurant
37 Vine St, Columbus, OH | Directions 4321539.971429 -83.003385
Neighborhoods: Short North
FAIL sushi restaurant – So my girlfriend and I were looking for the closest sushi restaurant to the Hyatt, and the Japanese Steak House was more so for hibachi so Kooma it was. Sorry, but this restaurant was pathetic compared to any sushi restaurant I've had in Columbus and the Cleveland area. I don't remember what I ordered, but I do remember their salmon roll was so small and meager that I could eat the six little pieces in one bite. I might as well have ordered one slice of sashimi, which would have been the equivalent to the amount of fish the put in their sushi. Just to try it I ordered some calamari, and sadly enough it looked like some out of the box mini rubber bands battered and fried served with some spring roll sauce and sesame seeds in teriyaki sauce. I could get better calamari anywhere that doesn't even specialize in sea food. I ordered three other rolls, one normal and two special, but I guess they were so bad I don't remember. I did try the kooma roll #2 it was just ok, mediocre, average. The portion wasn't that great either, I've seen bigger and better for less. Basically, try the 10 or 15 rolls that the Japanese Steak House had, you might be a little more satisfied, or just drive out to somewhere better. Oh yeah, there was a very strong fish odor.
Decent sushi restaurant – This is place is very modern and does have really good, interesting music. The fish was very good quality, my only complaint is the portion size. My nigiri was a small sliver of fish, I have gone to other sushi joints and have gotten twice the size of fish. Me and my fiance both were still hungry after our meals. It did take quite long also to get our food, the waitress did inform us though that there were a couple of take out orders that were going out. Another down fall is parking, you may as well add at least another $5 to your night for that, but thats what you get in downtown.
Overall they did have good quality fish and the atmosphere was very nice.
Great Atmosphere - WAITED FOREVER!!! – I went to Kooma this past weekend for the first time. We park in the parking garage went inside and the place was crowded great music and lots of friendly faces, mainly the customers. We were approached by a male / possibly the manager or owner and we were told it would be a 30 minute wait so we told him we were going for a walk and would be right back. 20 minutes later we return to no communication other than they gave our table away and we had to wait another 30+ minutes. We were finally seated in a corner next to a very loud group of people who were getting drunk crammed 6 people into a 4 spot table the people were practically sitting on my lap. Service was with a smile but very delayed we were told it would take 30 minutes to get our food but it was about an hour. Once the food arrived it was delicious but think they need to learn how to communicate or learn how to manage your staff....
over all i'd eat there again but next time it will be through the week.
Noticing a trend – Kooma could indeed be one of the trendiest restaurants in the Columbus area with its top notch sushi and ethnic cuisine, however I have noticed a trend in the recent reviews. Most here would claim their accolades are stifled by a lack of aptitude in the service, which is wholly justified, as the management does not see it fit to properly train servers.
When I was hired, I seemed more like a body in an apron rather than an investment as an employee, and the staff was sure to reaffirm that belief. The management was poor with communication, as one would contradict the other with information and technique. The only way I was every going to taste the stuff was if it was snuck off a discarded plate, or I came in on my day off to pay the full price for a roll. Being too personable with the customers was discouraged as they would stay longer than necessary. My least favorite technique was the constant criticism of performance IN FRONT of customers, which is grossly unbusiness-like. I resonate with the general consensus, which is again a lack of investment in the face of the restaurant.
The staff knows how to put on a good show, but for those with a keen sense of observation, the attitude prevailing at Kooma will leave a bad taste in their excellent fish.
Better than most in Columbus. – This is my go to sushi place in Columbus - far more dependable than others (Haiku, Shoku, etc...)
The service has vastly improved over the years and the sushi is still great.
The Sunday Morning Roll is prolly the best roll (heavy on cream cheese though) in Columbus, second only to their Sunday Morning #2, which is on special from time to time. Spicy Tuna Roll is also the best in the city. Cooked food is tasty as well for those who don't care for sushi. Park in the North Market parking lot for cheap, secure parking and arrive early on weekends as Kooma is quite small.
Take the Clint Eastwood Approach to this restaurant.. Do you Feel Lucky Punk? Well do you? – I wish I could say that this was a great experience but in all honesty I was a little put off by the parking situation. We luckily arrived just before the 7:30 rush on a Saturday night and didn?t have to wait long. I did ask for change for the meter and waitress acted as if I was an idiot to ask her to change a 1.00 to quarters. Anyway food was great tasting Dumpling soup was maybe the best I have ever tried. Portions were ok and the fish seemed very fresh and had a nice texture. Rolls were a little to much cream cheese but really liked the buckeye roll and the breakfast roll. My wife and I shared the deluxe sushi dinner and as I said the fish was very nicely prepared. Service was very abrupt and we always felt like we were putting the waitress out if we asked for a refill of our hot tea. I guess my biggest concern was after we got home my wife and I both could not wait to get to a bathroom. (I won?t go into details but we both felt it was something we ate) Again everything seemed fresh but that is not how I feel now. I would stick to other Sushi restaurants in the area that are just as good or better like Shoku in Grandview. You won?t have to wait in line or pay for parking and I have never had a bad experience.
Great sushi, customer service has improved – This is my go-to sushi spot. Columbus has many good sushi places by now, but Kooma is the most consistent. I notice that some places slightly alter their rolls to the extent that you just don't know what you'll get sometimes. Kooma always prepares my favorite rolls the same way. They have argubly the best spicy tuna in town and definitely the best Sunday Morning Roll. Can't be sure, but I think the idea is to make a roll reminiscent of a bagel with cream cheese and lox. I've tried it at a couple other places, but Kooma owns this one by far. Other favorites are the Kooma Roll, Spicy Shrimp Tempura Roll, Sakura Roll and tamago. There's not much to complain about at Kooma, but it is small and I've experienced some long waits (to be seated, or once seated for food to arrive). The staff seem to have it more under control during my last several visits though. My only other criticism is that cream cheese is used perhaps too much. I love cream cheese, but I also like to eat sushi because it's a low-fat meal. It doesn't help that a third of the rolls seem to have cream cheese.
To the reviewer who gave Kooma 1 star after visiting on a Monday night - I would just avoid eating sushi early in the week in Columbus. It's probably not the ideal day of the week to get FRESH fish at any sushi place. This might be a generalization or just plain wrong depending on the restaurant, but there must be a reason many sushi houses have half price rolls early in the week. To make it worse, I don't think Kooma offers that special.
Good sushi and cozy atmosphere – Just had dinner at Kooma for the first time with a couple of friends. I have tried many sushi restaurants in town and wanted to try something new.
The restaurant looks more like a bar from the outside with neon beer signs but it seems to be a way for them to blend into the Short North bar/club area so people step in for an early drink before hitting the bars and clubs nearby. The restaurant has a liquor bar with a flat panel TV for people who just want some appetizers and a drink, but they also have a separate sushi bar. The decor is different from most other Japanese restaurants in that strangely enough, it has an African theme - pictures of African wildlife, faux skull of animals etc (didn't quite understand that!). That aside, the restaurant is small but cozy and works well in the space.
They have a standard selection of Japanese beers and certain wines. They do have a dinner menu, but we were only interested in the sushi menu. It's divided into easy to understand categories of sushi/sashimi and the variety was excellent - I tried several different sushi items that I had not seen before, and that says a lot. We also ordered calamari and negima as appetizers - the calamari was very disappointing. That said, the sushi was very good and the sashimi was excellent (highly recommend their clam sashimi, Unagi, and Kooma roll, but not the Spider roll). Overall, it was a really fresh and delicious meal.
The service was prompt and our waitress was very attentive and professional, not to mention extremely attractive! :-) The sushi chefs were skilled and worked well in tandem.
Sushi is generally expensive, but Kooma sits in between the fancier options (overhyped Haiku) and the holes in the wall (underappreciated Japanese Oriental). It's certainly good value for the price we paid. Like another reviewer has said, go with 3 or 4 people to get the best value.
Best Sushi in Columbus – tropigal99 is right, the sunday morning roll is AMAZING! Also try the Dynamite roll!
Best original rolls you will find anywhere.
Its never been the BEST service but I have never had bad service.
Try the lychee martini!
First Timer – Last night was my first time at Kooma, I went with friends who (luckily) had been many times before and knew exactly what to order. Try the seaweed salad with a side of their ginger dressing with warm sake to start off. We all split their spicy salad with crab which was unbelievable (very spicy though, so look out!) and shared in a variety of rolls and specialty rolls (DEFINITLY try their specials, whichever interest you). The service was a little confused, but the sushi absolutely made up for it. Our bill was brought promptly and we got personal thank you's and hand shakes from the staff as we left.....While I see where some of our reviewers could come from with their negative service review, the sushi at Kooma is far better than any that I've had in Columbus (aka tyfoon/haiku/bento/etc).
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