Almost a year later, I decided to give this place a second try, after a most disappointing first and a note to not return. All this only to get an upset stomach during my second attempt.
I have passed by and looked in on occasion. They are never full, but always have at least one table seated and someone coming in for take out. I have been here once before, but it was take out and the rolls didn’t travel well. So out of connivence now I came back for lunch. I attend physiotherapy in the neighbourhood and use the gap between it and work to enjoy a stop here. I thought this time would be different as I would avoid their specialty rolls and instead go for something more traditional.
The restaurant itself is most iconic with its out of place murals. The ceiling to floor paintings sandwiching the dining area have survived the various reincarnations of this space. On the right was a country side with stucco buildings, tall mountains, and green shrubbery. A female in red was steadily walking towards it all. Across from this was a scene of rolling hills and running waterways. All more fitting for a Italian restaurant or a Spanish tapas place.
The Japanese points in homage to the cuisine, were more prevalent with and surrounding their sushi bar. Red lanterns, bamboo shoots, cloth flag printed with patterns of fish, and a picture of a smiling geisha in the corner. The bar itself was plastered with high quality photos of the rolls they served and some of their more beautiful dishes to tempt you.
The menu was a page turner, 12 photo filled pages of Japanese appetizers, sushi, rice, noddles, etc. They had over 25 different specialty rolls. Most of which is quite typical in the Vancouver fusion sushi scene, if not by name, then by filling. They also had some pretty great sushi and bento box specials, but I am not a fan of California roll and both had it included with an extra charge for any substitutions.
I instead went for the “all day super special” on the second page and stopped flipping through the menu after I made up my mind. It was $9.25 for miso soup and the ability to choose any three items from a list of 88. If you wanted to make any of it spicy, you could add 25 cents to do so. There were so many possibilities to go through. I didn’t know where to start and what pattern to dine in so went for what I thought would be the most value in each category.
A very full bowl of miso soup came quick. I am sure it was pre-made. It was salty and made with plenty of seaweed and tofu.
I went for “small chicken teriyaki don” from the list of “appetizers”, but given its portion size, it was more like a smaller full entree. It came as quick as the soup. Odd, as you would think the cooked component of my meal would take the longest to make. All I could think was “that’s why I heard the microwave open and close after my order was registered”. Shame as they were slow enough, with hardly any customers to have the time to make it from scratch. It was pieces of tender chicken over a mound of steam rice and a handful of bean sprouts. The broccoli floret on the side was a little raw, as is typical. Overall okay and nothing varying from the expected standard.
From the list of “nigiri sushi” I choose “chopped scallop with tobiko”. The cream and tobiko hid my ability to taste and tell the freshness of the scallop. It was tasty though. But be warned it requires eating all in one bite, the seaweed was too tough to saw through with teeth.
And from the “cone/roll” category I had the “B.C. Roll”. This was filled with cooked BBQ salmon and its skin, lettuce, and cucumber. It was coated in a sticky sweet brown sauce. The roll was warm from the cooked fish. I didn’t hear any barbecuing so can safely assume this was premade and microwaved as well. The salmon’s pungent taste was overwhelming, you could also taste the char of the oil off the fish’s rough skin. This would have been a good option for those who don’t like their fish and sushi raw. But for me, I prefer the raw salmon and didn’t like this all that much. I learned never to order this again.
I chose one item from each of their three categories, but you can actually choose any three from any category.
Would I come back? – No.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – No.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Hopefully I keep the word of my post this time. They had a good variety of food, but nothing I would return for or want to take another crack at, an interesting deal or not. I felt full and within minutes later found myself clutching my abdomen in pain. My stomach was not happy with what I had and I am currently scared away from sushi, teriyaki sauce, and salmon. Don’t deny your cravings.