30 mins to find an early dinner, and I had to be craving sushi. Having eaten a week’s worth of instant cup noodles and greasy burgers in the last two days, I needed a change. My body shook with the need to eat something more wholesome. I passed the first shop on the block. Choosing this, the second sushi place around the corner of Robson and Granville. The sole reason was that it was newer and therefore nicer looking. However I soon regretted my decision, as my wait would have been lessen at the smaller, first stop.
I walked into a room that I imagined more impressive, basking in dim light with a cocktail in hand. The bar was the lead in, and a strong one. Given that this was the Granville strip, I can imagine the bodies that must come in for a drink or two nightly. My entry was cut off by two girls coming in for appetizers. And I forced to wait to be addressed. I mentioned I was taking out to the host as she directed me to a four seater right in front of the entrance. Usually when it is a take out order they deal with you quickly as they want you to come and go, to make way for those who wish to stay and eat in. Yet I was left seated, forgotten.
It was all dark. Hard wood floors and black tables. Brown leather seats with low backs or booths in the similar upholstery. It was a fairly deep restaurant, with group seating all the way to the back. Bar seating included ones at the bar meant for drinking and others at the bar that served up hand rolled sushi. I guess seeing as this restaurant is on the Granville strip, the seating option and quantity was needed. And if you missed it, the blow up Sake bottle hanging from the ceiling was a good reminder that they served alcohol. I noticed their focal wall behind the bar. It was a mural made with stone and metal. Abstractly it looked like rocky waves and bronze coloured fish swimming in those waves. The bronze pieces were lit from the back and offered the artwork some shadowing for interest. The lamp in the corner was done with leaves and twigs. This matched the table top version on the bar. Very earthy elements.
So I sat and waited for someone to pay me notice, to take my money, so I could be on my way. Eventually I got tired of waiting and switched my seat to face into the restaurant, instead of my back, as it had been ignored up to this point. I still was forced to wait. All this and the two girls who entered before me already had three plates on their table. Being on a time crunch and watching the server, who finished a conversation with the bar tender before walking back into the kitchen, and ignoring me; I got up and asked the bar tender for service. He suggested I order with him. Thinking he would come to my table I headed back, only to realize I need to be at the till in order to place my requests. But first I had to go back to my table for my menus to know what I wanted. He told me the wait would be another 15minutes. I tossed back that I was in a rush and had they offered to take my order sooner I would not have to wait for so long now. I almost walked out, but they already started making my food and I felt bad to have it go to waste. Though it retrospect I was better off without it. They are probably use to people coming in to loiter and therefore being able to take their time serving this particular type of customer.
They had no house rolls or specials. And the regular California or Dynamite rolls no longer cut it for me. It was hard to decide what I wanted as nothing was able to peak my interest.
I eventually choose my sushi off their lunch specials page. A laminated sheet of options at a price available until 4:30pm. The “Negi-Hama Roll” fell under today’s fresh fish selection. It is minced yellow tail and green onion in a roll. Taking this to go I was extremely disappointed in the size when I opened up my styrofoam box for the first time. Yes the fish is gourmet and fresh, but this was not $5.50 worth of food. It made me wish I ordered the California roll for less money and more in portion. I was hungry and this wasn’t going to satisfy that need. Luckily I ordered rice too. The rolls themselves were tasty. The fish had a good texture to them, but the green onion over powered their gentle flavour. For a roll that tasted like green onion I expect to pay $2.50 for it.
“Oyako Donburi”. A rice dish topped with egg, onions, and chicken in a sweet soy sauce. Despite this description I thought there would be more to this chicken bowl. Like a floret of broccoli, a sliver of carrot, a handful of bean sprouts. I guess I wanted a teriyaki chicken bowl. Usually not all ingredients would be listed on a menu’s description. I just wanted something for colour and taste. Like this, it looked unappealing and bland with its one tonal colour. I can’t be sure if its like this normally, because I did ask them to rush. But looks alone this was very disappointing. And after my first bite I knew the taste matched the look. More rice and onion than chicken. After four bites I was eating onions and rice, with hardly enough sauce to lend taste to the plain mix. The best part about this dish was its solid take out bowl. A hardy seal and an easy to hold shape. That is saying something. Needless to say I didn’t finish this.
I was unable to order dessert because it didn’t travel well. I appreciate them not wanted to serve an inferior product, but they lost a sale doing that. Had they confirm with me it wouldn’t travel well, I would have said I was ok with that. All they needed to do was make every attempt to pack it up gingerly. Or maybe the dessert was baked into a ramekin they would not be able to spoon out and box up. None the less they lost out on $5 and I was sad to have missed out on trying the green tea pudding with black sugar sauce and soy powder. Especially with the “must try” printed in the description. I wanted to. I tried to.
Would I go back? – Not as a first choice, but I wouldn’t be apposed to trying their dinner menu to get a better take on their food as a whole. Though I don’t see the chance. Parking is difficult around this area and I don’t see myself visiting Granville for dinners. Granville street is more popular for drinking and dancing.
Would I recommend it? – No. Not after that rocky take out. I didn’t see anything worth mentioning in the service or on the menu. However this may change if I decide to come back for dinner. Don’t deny your cravings.