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Naruto Sushi

I grew up in East Vancouver and have passed by Naruto Sushi time and time again, often considering a visit. I am a fan of the Japanese anime with the same name, so was curious to learn if they were named after it. And today I would get to find out.

I was in the area for a drinking event, and thought it wise to grab some food, as to not go into it on an empty stomach.

The restaurant is a small shop with four tables. Ideal for a solo diner, such as myself. And my hunch was right, their nod to Naruto was right on the wall. Posters that I use to have hanging in my childhood bedroom displayed here. The most popular characters watching you walk down the hall towards the washroom at the back. Naruto, Kakashi, Sakura, Sasuke, and Minato from “Naruto: Shippuden”. The restaurant even played music from the original soundtrack, I recognized opening and closing themes in melody.

This plucked at my nostalgic heart strings, as I watched the first two series extensively and still watch highlights on YouTube. And I actually like the new Boruto because you get to see your favourite characters all grown up with their own kids.

But I digress. Looking at the menu, there were no photos, but the trend continued with rolls named after characters and terms used in the anime. Naturally, I had to order all of those.

This is not traditional sushi restaurant, but corner store Japanese the likes of quick, easy, and inexpensive sashimi, tempura, and teriyaki. There was a long list of creative fusion rolls made by Chinese speaking chefs in the back. And before you poo-poo them, their rotating door of delivery orders spoke to their popularity.

A bowl of miso soup came first. Not the best, but it hits that crave, if you have it.

Starting with the Naruto themed rolls, the Chakra roll is a deep fried roll with salmon, cheese, asparagus, and jalapeño. This was the better of the two fried rolls I ordered. This is thanks to the fresh vegetables and the cheese spread adding a sharp contrast to the heavy fry. Plus, I am also a fan of cream cheese. I just wish I got more spice from the jalapeño, as it would have reminded me more of the classic salmon aburi oshi.

The Kyuubi roll was the other another deep fried roll. This time with spicy tuna, spicy salmon, and fish roe; drizzled in a unagi-like sauce. This was a dense roll, all the fish was cooked from the fry, and the roe were not the pops of fishy flavour, I knew them to be. As a result this was not as fragrant as it could have been. At least there was some good crisp from the tempura coating.

The Naruto roll is what I would guess is the house roll with wild salmon, cheese, cucumber, mango, avocado, fish roe, and mango sauce. It ate like a Philadelphia roll, which I like, with more cream cheese. Here, the curve ball would be the addition of sweet mango, and its orange colour that gave a nod to the character Naruto’s signature colour.

The next two rolls are the ones I ordered based on what the menu read. Rolls I actually want to try. I figured that since it took me so long to get here, I should take advantage and try all that I wanted to now.

I actually enjoy a good vegetarian roll and this one met that criteria. This is the Veggie special roll with yam, avocado, eggplant tempura, plum sauce, and almond. I never had eggplant tempura before, so was immediately intrigued to have it in a roll. And when you add on the almonds and plum sauce, this made for a fairly filling and organically “meaty” veggie option.

The Poseidon roll featured soft shell crab, yam, avocado, and fish roe. Soft shell crab is another favourite for me, I like to being able to enjoy crab without having to tear into it with my hands. It was crispy at some points and malty at others. Not consistent as a flatten slab over the top of the roll. At its core this was a yam and avocado roll. Salty sauce, starchy yam, and creamy avocado. I would have been happy to have this as is, and found that the soft shell crab added no value. This was not the best version I have had.

In conclusion, this is a nice neighbourhood sushi shop, with a quasi-theme to draw locals in. They have a wide selection of creative rolls, but nothing really out standing to have me returning any time sooner. This feels like a dime a dozen, and I can get similar else where.

Naruto Sushi
2763 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5N 4C5
(604) 558-3858

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