Joyce of @monkeyeatsworld invited me down to Yaletown for a sushi dinner at Maro Sushi. I frequent the area, but have yet to visit this long-standing community sushi shop, so today was as good of a time as any.
The restaurant was pretty standard, bar and table seating across an “L” shaped space. Nothing really memorable about the decor and nothing that had it standing out during this visit. As for the food, we would work our way through the menu, homing in on rolls and items we found read more specific and special to Maro.
Curious to see their take on Aburi and how they hope to compete with the other Japanese restaurant in Yaletown specializing in the torched sushi roll, we order their Aburi set combo. This is 6 pieces of Aburi sushi in salmon and tuna, and it includes a 6 piece o-toro roll served with a side salad and miso soup. This combo is plenty for a one person dinner. Soft and chewy rice as a base to charred fish and melty sauce. Tasty, but nothing I have not seen before.
Now the Spicy lobster roll impressed me, not only was it served alongside the oshi below for a most visual smoke show, but it was crowned with half of a lobster tail for garnish. This is the only roll on their menu listed at 4oz.
Lobster tempura with tobiko on top of spicy tuna. It was heavy with the taste of garlic and the spicy tuna was fully seasoned. Favourful as a one bite slice, it ate more like a scoop from a rice dish than a roll of sushi. I liked how this interpretation gave you a crispy lobster with the tempura coating, on top of the more commonly seen steamed version, dipped in butter. All together, an over the top roll worth trying.
To its side, sharing the smoke plume tray was the Salmon oshi. A pressed BC wild salmon with jalapeño and mentaiko. It was a familiar take on the equally popular rectangular roll. Tasty with sweet mayo and a little spice over fresh fish, but less flavourful comparatively than other renditions I have had in the past.
The Sushi pizza read as a fun dish, but it did not come out as expected. As a pizza you imagine a round with even slices throughout. This was more like slices of a sushi cake, pre-cut and plated for easy grabbing. Thick hunks of baked rice topped with salmon, tuna , avocado and tobiko. The fish has a similar char to all the Aburi above, but with the addition of a crispy rice base for crunch. More rice than fish, once again I appreciate them putting their own touch to it, but I just didn’t land as successfully as it could of.
We were informed that the restaurant was very proud of their Seafood okonomiyaki, having recently changed the recipe and is currently seeking feedback on whether they should keep it on the menu or not. It is mostly dough, which I like, and ate like a mashed takoyaki ball with minimal crispy vegetable and even less chunks of octopus tentacles in the mix. Despite my observations, the more I ate of it the more I liked it and went back to finish it.
In short, Vancouver, Yaletown in specific has plenty of options in Japanese and sushi restaurants. You need to stand out to compete. Located adjacent to the Yaletown sky train station, Maro Sushi serves as a great option for quiet and convenient sushi at a reasonable price. Solid food, but nothing unique to set them apart, other than their use of liquid nitrogen in their sushi smoke show.
Sushi Maro Japanese Restaurant
1168 Mainland St #101, Vancouver, BC V6B 2S2, Canada