I had high hopes for Sushi of Gari. I really did. The online reviews seemed pretty good, and the look of the restaurant from the outside seemed exactly what I look for: the interior was difficult to see and the space itself was small and non-descript. And then we sat down.
The food is apparently designed to encourage everyone to order omakase. I've never seen a wait staff push it harder, which is weird because Sushi of Gari has a full "a la carte" menu and the sushi bar is downstairs (we were sitting upstairs). Once it became clear to the wait staff that we we ordering from the menu, it took 135 minutes (timing approximate) for anyone to return to take our order. That was the first sign that the night would go off the rails.
The 'Tuna Tartar' was just pieces of tuna sashimi on a bowl of lettuce with cucumbers. It's one thing to call something "tartar" when you're a sushi restaurant that ostensibly serves your fish raw to begin with; it's another to not even chop it as finely as tartar normally would be.
Part of the order for our table was an order of "Sushi Deluxe", which is basically a platter of Gari's best nigiri alongside a tuna scallion roll. Two waitresses were completely unfamiliar with what was in the order, both before I placed it and after the plate had arrived, which is an absolute no-no as far as I'm concerned. That said, I'm not sure how anyone can focus on anything from this plate besides that piece of tuna with some sort of cream-based substance on top. Let's just move on.
The other order bearing mentioning was the crab shumai that were seemingly thawed by the restaurant in preparation for our arrival. How nice of them.
Obviously, the atmosphere could have been better. The inside was bright with tables in odd places and pushed to close together. I found the staff less than knowledgeable about the menu and the different types of fish offered. If Sushi of Gari wants to push their omakase so strongly, then 1) increase the quality of what you're serving and 2) step up and make the restaurant "omakase only" like others do. Otherwise, I hope that the staff learns both basic customer service and their own menu.
Sushi of Gari's website proclaims that it is where "traditional meets innovation". I can forgive the grammatical mistake (I've probably made a few in my day), but I certainly can't forgive it's failure. Stay away.
Tribeca. $25-50 per person.
So here's the thing about Sushi of Gari....I'm pretty sure that someone there decided that mayonnaise and sushi might be good together.