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Category: Ambleside

Bene Sushi Restaurant

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We were in the area for an activity, so thought to catch a late lunch in the neighbourhood as well. Deciding that we had a taste for sushi, and after exploring a few blocks, we were satisfied with our choice. There surprisingly weren’t many places open in Ambleside on a Sunday.

From its exterior it looked pretty chic. Wood panels framing with an all glass front. Looking in, it seemed just as glitzy. Definitely one of the nicest Japanese fusion restaurants I have been to.

There was a lobby with a table and bench to sit and wait at. Stacks of magazines scattered around a sculpture of a swimming fish. Just behind it, a bar unseated, and instead used to store menus and kettles of tea.

We were given a table just past the hall, in their mixed dining area. Where there were booths of red against the wall, cubicles of brown in the centre, and private rooms for larger parties surrounding them both.

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On the left wall, in decoration were sakura blossoms on canvas, leaves painted with taupe, and betwixt them spiny balls of metal in various sizes. Although it was the lights that really caught your eye. A twisting mass of wire and bulbs, their beads casting shadows against the ceiling. Three larger orbs hung over the sushi bar to the right. Behind the bar, chefs in professional button-up coats and paper hats stood in work. They looked just as authentic as their Japanese speaking servers and the black menus with silver labels.

Overhead they played soothing jazz music to match the upscale decor. The restaurant certainly catered to the diverse clientele and area in their setting and cuisine. Like how the hockey game was playing and they served their green tea in coffee mugs. Their details even transitioned into the the utensils. Marble stained reusable chopsticks outfitted into branded paper holders.

When it came time to order, we passed all the traditional Japanese appetizers, noodles, and sushi rolls; and skipped right to their specialities. Two pages listing their “exotic rolls” with photos. It allows us to order for a visual feast. We literally made our choice based on look and didn’t even bother to read most of their ingredients in each item. If we had, maybe we would have tried some of the more unique rolls that included ingredients like pineapple, AAA steak meat, potato flake, lobster, and even a sushi roll wrapped in cucumber instead of rice and seaweed.

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Although we did go for the interesting “Black pearl roll”, based on its ingredients. This was a sushi roll made with black rice and apple. They start with a California roll base and to it topped each piece with marinaded spicy tuna and tobiko; then drizzled it with unagi and mayo sauce. They then separate each piece with slivers of apple and cucumber. We have never had a roll made with black rice before. I imagined it hard and dry, but instead it was just as tender and chewy as regular sushi rice. Making me wonder if this was an healthier rice option? There was lots going on in this roll, so much dressing and seasoning that we didn’t need to pair it with soy sauce. Though the same could be said with all the rolls below. It was hard to isolate each individual ingredient. The rice was chewy, the tuna was creamy, the sauce was tangy, and the apple and cucumber was just the right freshness need to pull it all together. Overall, this was a good blend of really sweet and mildly spicy in an original preparation and presentation.

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Their “flame torched” rolls promised that each would come with fire, and was reason enough for us to order it. The “White snow roll” started as a California roll with mayo coated imitation crab and avocado. Then it is topped with baked red snapper and drizzled in their house mayo and unagi sauce. The roll was protected from the flames within a boat made out of tin foil. Around it, a border of sugar was set ablaze and continued to burn for quite some time. It eventually set itself out, and we were able to eat the pieces of sushi still warm. The snapper was so tender that it melted in your mouth. It was also what set it apart from being just an average California roll.

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The “Cherry blossom roll” spoke its name in its design and outline in unagi sauce. A roll with sockeye salmon, asparagus, avocado, pepper, and crab; rolled and arranged like petals of a flower. It’s centre, a generous helping of masago. With a dollop of thousand island-like sauce on each “petal”, it tasted like a salad roll. Other than its visual aspect, it wasn’t too exciting; our least favourite of the afternoon.

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We ordered the “Softshell crab roll” to give my guest his first try of a enjoying a crab, shell and all. He was worried about the texture, but happy that could couldn’t taste the difference between meat and shell and the latter added a nice crunch to each bite. The crab was balancing steady on the top. Inside, each roll was filled with cucumber, yam tempura, and avocado. And like all the other dishes this one too came with unagi sauce and didn’t need the addition of any soy sauce. Although it was the taste of the sweet crab that came out the most.

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We had the “Boom bites” in chicken instead of tofu. These were deep fried chicken kaarage chunks in a mixed sweet and spicy sauce. It actually came well before our sushi did. Each piece was evenly battered and seasoned, nice crunch with a thick sticky coating of sauce. With this much flavour it would have been nice to have a base with it: rice or the option to have it in sushi. I ended up eating it with leaves of the undressed salad that the dish came with, to temper the flavour.

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Even the miso was dressed up.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
It is a little out of the way to get dressed up sushi. Although if in the neighbourhood, I would not hesitant to stop by and be wowed by more of their decorative plates. Like coming back again to try their deep fried sushi and torched Aburi. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

BENE
1574 Marine Drive, West Vancouver BC, V7V 1H8
604-913-1112
benesushi.com
Bene Sushi Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co.

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The Park Royal mall has undergone some major renovations, and with it came a new food court with new stalls. After a quick walk around, the one offering freshly baked flatbreads to order caught my eye. These were personal size pizza rounds perfect for lunch.

The “Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company” currently has several store fronts where they are serving up their fresh artisan flatbread-pizzas daily. This was their newest location.

They don’t do the typical pepperoni, Hawaiian, or deluxe pizzas. Instead they used organic and premium toppings to craft their flatbreads. Organic ingredients like organic beef pepperoni, organic tomato sauce, and free range chicken. And premium ingredients like Genoa salami, asiago cheese, and Schinken speck ham. Each flat bread is soy free, corn free, peanut free, and free of preservatives. You can also make it gluten free for a little under $3 more. Each flatbread is made to order with organic flours, all natural meats, Canadian cheeses, and plenty of locally sourced vegetables. Spend a little more to make your meal a combo with a soup or side salad.

It was a little hard to choose from with ten different flatbread options and the ability to have them as sandwiches and salads. There was a “lemon rosemary chicken” flatbread with roasted red pepper and pesto. And the “ham and mango” sounded like a fun twist. But I went with what I felt had the most interesting ingredients assembled together over toasted dough.

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After my order was taken and I paid, I was given a buzzer to indicate when it would be done. The ones that look like a sliding cell phone, given out when waiting to be seated at a restaurant. It made sense as you would have to wait for you flatbread to be made. The pre-made and chilled dough had to be floured and rolled out. Topped accordingly from their bins of pre-chopped ingredients. Then baked in their oven for 299 seconds. According to their sign, this is under five minutes.

It sounds pretty quick, but would prove to be a long time if you are dining with someone and they had to wait for you. The flatbread was faster food, but if someone, like my partner went to a stand offering a combo of sides and rice that was already cooked and just being kept warm in trays, they/he would have to wait for you/me. And where they/he would finish their food and you/I would only be just beginning.

After the flatbread’s removal from heat, using the traditional long handled paddle, it is cut into slices. I had it “for here” on a paper plate, but was able to get a mini pizza box to take what I didn’t finish to go.

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The “Sundried tomato and goat cheese flatbread” came with organic tomato sauce, Canadian mozzarella, sundried tomato, crimini mushrooms, goat cheese, artichoke, and mixed herbs. You can’t get this line up at most pizza places, I was immediately impressed. You get what you pay for this one. Gourmet ingredients come at a price and it was worth the under $10 I had to pay for it. It was fully loaded and delicious. Plenty of flavour with enough sauce on a crispy thin crust.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I was not disappointed, this was a cut above most food court stalls. Great food, decent prices, and at the speed and convenience you’d expect at a food court. I was eating well where my partner was less than pleased with his over sauced, dry, and disappointing paper plate. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

ROCKY MOUNTAIN FLATBREAD CO.
2002 Park Royal South, West Vancouver BC
604-281-0878
rockymountainflatbread.ca
Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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