Its a little to clean to be a real souk, the shops are all beautiful; jewelry, clothes, shoes (lovely lavender sequined flip flops...), even interesting furniture made from old Indian buildings is available. The prices will knock your socks off, but maybe not if you are from New York or Moscow or some such place.
We had dinner at Japengo Cafe, which like every other restaurant in Dubai is part of a chain which is part of a huge multi-national corporation. As such, the restaurant appears to be doing a bang-up business in burgers and sandwiches and we were a little nervous sitting down because we werent quite sure that the sushi we wanted would be any good.
My husband ordered miso soup and I got edamame because they didnt have a seaweed salad. I LOVE SEAWEED SALAD so I was extremely disappointed at this development. Seaweed salad is one of the main reasons I go to shushi restaurants. The miso was ok, it tasted a little bit like a powdered mix, but this was balanced by lots of seaweed and some fresh chunks of tofu. The edamame were served whole in the hulls with salt and were perfectly fine.
For dinner we had a mixed plate of 6 sushi and 6 slices of rolls. These were very tasty. Some of the sushi looked a little haggard- time for the guys at the sushi bar to sharpen their knives, but overall the quality was very good. Three of the rolls were just cucumber, rice and nori, a little disappointing considering the price.
We ended up ordering another 12 slices of rolls because they are so small and got 6 tuna and 6 "California" rolls. The tuna was very tasty, fresh and tender. The California rolls, on the other hand, were not great. There was some unagi in them with a bunch of different vegetables, and they were rolled in salmon roe.
I think of a California roll as avocado, salmon and maybe some cucumber or daikon for crispiness but in Dubai, California roll seems to mean 'whatever junk the cook wants to put in a roll". The large quantity of salmon roe is, to me, a little bit of a warning sign that the sushi under it isnt of the best quality.
Our waiter was very nice and busy enough not to do the Dubai hover, which was refreshing. The whole meal with tea and perrier (no wine available) came to about 300dhs or about $80.
Altogether, Japengo was a pretty good dining experience, I'd definitely swing by there on my way home to pick up dinner, but I dont think I'd go there on 'date night' again. Its a little too industrial, a little too cold and corporate in its feel. I wish there was a real Japanese restaurant here...