Trying sushi out in Maple Ridge.
Located on a really busy strip of Lougheed Highway, just before downtown Maple Ridge. This wasn’t our intended destination, we were just catching lunch on the way.
Sushi places in Maple Ridge are similar to the ones in Vancouver. Almost every area and every other corner has one specializing in fast food. And like the plethora in Vancouver, they cover everything you would expect at any fusion Japanese eatry. They had all the expected traditional rolls and some specials all their own. Fried appetizers and tempura, soupy noodles and grilled teriyaki; and of course sushi by the piece, roll, and with a combo. For specials they had the North American favourite California roll wrapped in rice paper, breaded and deep fried jalapeño stuffed with spicy tuna and cream cheese, and a deep fried spicy tuna roll with cream cheese. I wasn’t really excited by anything, and not comparing it to anything else, it all seemed pretty good.
The wall by the entrance was lined with colouring sheets. Their own “wasabi sushi” mats coloured in by children. A squid, puffer fish, sting ray, turtle, and octopus highlighted in waxy crayon.
It was a fairly small shop, quiet. Best for a quick lunch alone or a meal with a small party. Though they did have private rooms against the left wall. They were cubicles with a narrow entry way. You slide across hard flat seats to reach the inside. The walls of these rooms were decorated with the ends of wooden planks jutting out at varying lengths.
As a whole the restaurant was very modern in its use of raw materials. I was most impressed with the hallway leading towards the washrooms. Strands of rope were strung up and down along the corridor like the laces of a shoe. It was rustic chic.
At each table the chopsticks came in their own cone shaped sleeve, and the napkins were folded into small triangles for that extra touch. It was very professional looking, and certainly set them apart.
We were automatically given some complimentary hot tea to start. It was the largest portion, in the largest cup I have ever had at a restaurant. It was also the most bitter tea.
It was funny that we came to a sushi place for chicken. Although not surprising as my partner doesn’t actually eat seafood and prefers chicken over all sources of protein. I just wasn’t feeling raw fish today and was looking for something more homey. Shame, as I later heard them speak Japanese so would assume that the food would be authentic. However, I did also heard the microwave door open and its buzzer sound, so that had me lowering my expectations some what.
The “Chicken katsu” is breaded and deep fried chicken. It was served up real crispy, still warm from a fresh fry. It was quality white meat hidden under the even breading. With it we were given a tangy dipping sauce. I would have preferred a creamy mayo based sauce with this instead.
Here we learned the difference between a teriyaki dish and teriyaki as part of a rice bowl, “don”. The “Beef teriyaki” was served on a sizzling plate with a heap of bean sprouts and lettuce, two chunks of carrot and one floret of broccoli. The whole of it was coated in the iconic sweet and garlicky teriyaki sauce. It also came with a bowl of steam rice on the side to eat it all with. I like beansprouts so was not disappointed to have most of it be bean sprouts and lettuce shreds filling the plate and propping up the meat.
The “Chicken teriyaki donburi” (rice bowl) was meat and rice all in one bowl. There was plenty of sweet sauce to coat all the meat, veggies and rice. Though I wished I had some of the beansprouts above included in this too. They were essentially the same things but the former came with more and latter less.
Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – No.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
It wasn’t outstanding, but I wouldn’t be apposed to a return trip. Your classic fast food Japanese restaurant in Maple Ridge. Don’t deny your cravings.