My first visit was full of fancy. “The Eatery” is a long time Vancouver hot spot, established over 30 years ago in 1983. And since, has been talked up by friends and former guests alike. So when I originally entered the threshold I was caught up in all the hype and spellbound over all the decor pieces. If you have never been, there is so much to see that it would have your head spinning. Astro Boy is their unofficial mascot, a half robot, half boy anime character. His face is laminated on their menus, plastered on their cards, and scattered all around their restaurant. The most impressive of which is a larger than life figure of the cartoon character suspended from the ceiling. It is an assembly of toys, do dads, and bits and bobs; arranged by colour to form this collage. A yellow school bus, a spinning top, and a plastic toy monkey are a few that make up astro boy’s yellow complexion. The rest of the room if filled with similar oddities that make for great conversation starters. A pop art portrait of Queen Elizabeth in neon hangs on the wall. Mental crafted lamps are strung up around the room, they allow dim amber light through their cut outs. A row of multicoloured lava lamps line the bar. By the front hostess booth their is a show case filled with “Eatery” themed merchandise for sale. Astro Boy tees, various pins and stickers, and sloganed thongs. Pictures of the latter were available by the washroom, as warn by female customers in coloured photos. This is the one time women wanted to be caught on film with their pants down. I can go on and on putting words to the decoration, but there is no way to accurately describe everything. There is just so much that your eyes and mind won’t be able to take it all in over the course of your meal.
The restaurant has a slight underwater theme. A wall of portholes divides it into two. Hanging from the ceiling are paper mâché sea people, plastic sharks and octopi, and rainbow coloured fish trapped in strung up nets. Each table is topped with a tall and slightly melted candle stick squeezed into the lip of a reused Dad’s root beer bottle. They only get lit up at night. The green candles have a green flame to match, it sets the mood against the red found draped over the rest of the room.
The menu reads like a book. Page after page of creative sushi combinations. Each one colourful and decorated with cartoon characters standing in corners or flying across headers. Each sushi roll even had its only shrunken sized picture mascot next to its name and description. Though basically the sushi options are the same four ingredient rolls, with one ingredient added and/or one removed in place of another. Each roll cames with its own quirky name. Most of the time, it is unrelated to what is actually inside. I always find that it is difficult to remember what I wanted, having gone through them all. The only solution was to write a memo on my phone, and to repeat to our waitress when it came time to order. As great as all the options were, it does eventually get redundant. Sometimes you just want a dynamite roll.
If you take away the decor it is in and no longer call the rolls by their funny names, you realize there really isn’t anything special about the food. Each plate I had was sloppy and lacked presentation, this was made worse by the all you can eat style plastic dishware they sat on. Uninspired. You come for the novelty and stay for the hype. No more no less. Excuse the red tint to all my photos, the red toned lighting was hard to avoid in my pictures. When eating sushi I order base on the unusual, this is especially the case with “The Eatry”. You don’t come here for just a California roll. You get the crazy rolls made with sun dried tomatoes, figs, and ham; the stuff you can’t find at more authentic sushi shops.
“Miss Piggy Roll”, scallop, asparagus, and bacon.
On our latest visit my partner was the one to choose the location, only to order yam fries and wings. The wings are definitely not the best in the city as the menu claims them to be, they be juicer overall.
Would I recommend it? – Yes. For those who have never been, it is definitely worth a look over. I suggest coming for lunch to avoid the line to and get a better view at the decor. The menu is the same, and without a line you are sure to be seated and to be able to eat immediately. With the widows open and the natural lighting pouring in, your setting is not cloaked in red as it normally is at night. You are able to enjoy a quiet lunch with an unusual feast for the eyes. The downside, being able to clearly see the age of the furniture and the wear and tear it has seen in the last 30 years. Ripped seat cushions, stained upholstery on the booths, dinged table corners, chipped plastic plates, and dust caught in hard to reach places. All of which is better hidden in the dim light of night’s light. After my last visit I was unimpressed in the light, and for that reason will not becoming back. Truthfully I find this place over rated. But don’t deny your craving to try this place once, and decide for yourself.