Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Episode #53: Nao Sushi (2nd Visit)

Burnaby South, $ (Budget)

A few old friends of mine hosted a get-together lunch and invited me to join them. How could I say no when they chose a sushi restaurant? So I made my way over to Nao Sushi, an authentic Japanese restaurant, ready to try out more dishes and write a second post for the restaurant. Only my friend Andrew seemed open to the idea of sharing food with me, so I "bought" two pieces of his rolls with two pieces of my rolls. Another one of my friends was nice enough to only order nigiri to absolutely prevent me from asking to try his food. In the end, I tried the following dishes: 

Miso Soup - B

Out of my five visits to Nao Sushi, I was glad to receive a complimentary Miso Soup for the first time! It was garnished with green onions and a few small bits of tofu. I wasn't too fond of its noticeably high salt content, but at least the miso paste was reasonably rich.

Una Tama Roll - B+
Beef Teriyaki Roll - B+

The Una Tama Roll was neatly presented and consisted of unagi, tamago, cucumber and masago. I would use a bit less cucumber, but I enjoyed how the sweetness of the unagi and the tamago intertwined with each other harmoniously. The Beef Teriyaki Roll contained a sufficiently soft beef filling and an appetizing layer of sesame seeds on top, though a bit more sauce inside would have helped.

Spider Roll - B
Dragon Roll - B

The Spider Roll (deep-fried soft shell crab) contained a pleasantly soft helping of soft shell crab. However, it had a little too much moisture, making the batter a bit soggy. Moving onto the Dragon Roll, which consisted of avocado, unagi and cucumber, I found the avocado to be fresh, the unagi to be savoury and the rice to be slightly mushy, perhaps due to the roll having too much rice.

Next came my own personal platter of nigiri (which I obviously wasn't going to share). My friend who ordered only nigiri recommended the Tsubagai Nigiri (conch) and the Wild Salmon Nigiri, so I took his word. 

Saba Nigiri - A-
Tuna Nigiri - B+
Wild Salmon Nigiri - A
Tsubagai Nigiri - A-

The Saba Nigiri had just the right amount of salt and had a fatty, juicy interior. The Tuna Nigiri had a thick cut with a toro-like taste. It could use a bit less rice. The Wild Salmon Nigiri was indeed very fresh and had a delicious creamy, sweet flavour. Having never had Tsubagai before (as this is the first time I have ever seen it in a menu), I would remark that it is quite chewy and tastes a lot like geoduck with a distinct, briny flavour.

Hotate Nigiri - A
Anago Nigiri - B

I enjoyed the Hotategai Nigiri (scallop), which was cool and refreshing with a mild, sweet flavour. I order Anago Nigiri (saltwater eel) for its rough, flaky and soft texture, but here, the anago seemed to be even fattier than unagi, which I found unusual. The amount of teriyaki sauce applied on the anago was just right.

Zaru Soba & Tempura Set - B+

The Zaru Soba (cold green tea noodles) and tempura set came with two dipping sauces, one for the tempura and one for the soba noodles. Compared to the tempura dipping sauce, the soba dipping sauce has an added sesame oil flavour to it, which worked very well with the otherwise bland soba. The tempura, containing 2 prawns and 4 pieces of vegetables (green bean, carrot, kabocha, green pepper) was generally well-made with a light, flaky coating of batter. The prawns were the tastiest of the batch and were significantly better than the tempura at any of my previous visits. Unfortunately, I ran out of soba dipping sauce before running out of soba noodles, so I had to (*gasp!*) pour my leftover tempura sauce into the bit of soba sauce I had remaining! Try not to do this though as it certainly did not taste as good afterwards ...

The service was quite well-mannered and the servers responded efficiently to pushes of the call-for-service buttons located on our tables. I was also handed the bill twice before I finished eating, though my distracted eating (resulting in a >2-hour stay) may be to blame. Interestingly, when I went to pay at the counter, I was asked if I needed yet another copy! In addition to the case of the duplicate bill, the highlights of this meal were the Wild Salmon Nigiri and the Scallop Nigiri, although I would definitely recommend the Seared Toro Nigiri at as well (see previous post). I was so full from this meal, but I had to meet up with my group of friends who had gone over to The One for dessert, so I slowly waddled my way there and attempted to stuff myself to the max. Don't worry, nothing bad happened ...

NAO Sushi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas and ...?

Follow me at http://instagram.com/raymondssushiadventures because you know you want your news feed to be filled with pictures of sushi. Have a Merry Sushiful Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Episode #52: Tawara Sushi

North Vancouver, $$$ (Higher Priced)

After spending an afternoon browsing the assortment of Christmas displays all around downtown, I took a very loud Seabus ride (one of the parts was probably not functioning properly and made an annoying whirring sound) to North Vancouver for sushi at a new restaurant named Tawara Sushi. I tried to take a picture of the restaurant while crossing the street and failed epically because it was dark and pouring heavily. My glasses did nothing except catch enough raindrops to ensure that I couldn't see anything while my phone almost slipped out of my hand. In the end, this is what I managed:

I came under the impression that this would be a restaurant with low prices and satisfying portions after reading a few online reviews. The newspaper clipping posted near the entrance of the restaurant further reaffirmed my beliefs. However, when I opened the menu, I was quite surprised to see rather elevated prices for most of the menu items. Was I supposed to expect Anton's Pasta-sized dishes then?


The menu (click to enlarge)

The Korean-run restaurant was renovated to resemble an upscale smokehouse setting. The restaurant is quite large but most of the seats were unfilled during my visit. After mulling over the menu for almost half an hour, I decided to test the waters by ordering the Tiger Prawn & Beef Yaki Udon.

Tiger Prawn & Beef Yaki Udon - A-

The Tiger Prawn & Beef Yaki Udon was generally well-prepared, but was certainly not Anton's Pasta-sized. The pan-fried thick noodles were not too thick and on the softer side. The beef, along with the sesame seeds, reminded me of a tasty hamburger patty, though it would have been nice if the beef was more tender. I managed to find 3 tiger prawns in the mix, which had a slightly crunchy snap to them. The teriyaki sauce was applied in just the right amount, but I found it slightly overpowering at times.

I decided to continue ordering and tried the Aburi Nigiri Selections ($17). I was a bit disappointed to see that they left out the two most expensive kinds of seafood (hamachi and unagi), as the unagi was what drew me to the dish in the first place. At least they gave me one more piece than what was promised on the menu to make up for it.

Aburi Sockeye Salmon Nigiri - B-
Aburi Tuna Nigiri - C+
Aburi Ebi Nigiri - C-
Aburi Toro Nigiri - B+

The Aburi Sockeye Salmon Nigiri lacked a smooth texture and flavour and I felt that the dill cream pairing wasn't the optimal choice. I wasn't a big fan of the Aburi Tuna Nigiri either, because the vinaigrette (it seemed like a spiced apple vinaigrette) was quite discordant with the flavour of the tuna. Eating the Aburi Ebi Nigiri turned into a tug-o-war between my chopsticks and my teeth because the ebi was over-boiled. The Aburi Toro Nigiri was when I first noticed the nicely seasoned rice because for the first time, the fish topping actually tasted right.

Aburi Scallop Nigiri - B+
Aburi Negitoro Nigiri - C
 Aburi Saba Nigiri - B-

Moving onto the right side of the dish, the Aburi Scallop Nigiri was nice and soft with a pleasant, sweet flavour and here, the dill cream sauce worked. The Aburi Negitoro Nigiri should have been called the Aburi Dace Fish Paste Nigiri because that's what it looked and tasted like. I found the Aburi Saba Nigiri a bit too tough and salty while lacking a seared taste. It was similar to an average unseared Saba Nigiri from an average Japanese restaurant.

Red Tuna Steak Tataki with Miso Sauce - A-

The next item to arrive was the Red Tuna Steak Tataki with Miso Sauce, which was a gift on the house! It was easily my favourite item of the night, as it was refreshing and delicious. Some parts of the tuna could be softer, but the miso sauce, which was accompanied by a lemon-flavoured sauce, went very well with the red tuna steak. 

Rainbow Roll - B

The Rainbow Roll consisted of salmon (Atlantic and sockeye), tuna and ebi on a California roll with peanut-mayo and wasabi-mayo sauce. Both kinds of salmon had a nice, smooth texture and each tasted quite fresh. The tuna was also a delight as it was soft with just the right balance of flavours, while the ebi was still stiff. I liked the small dabs of peanut-mayo sauce on top, which made the roll quite unique and memorable. However, the California roll base was quite cold, and the dryness of the crab meat made the roll taste pre-made. 

I was very satisfied with the service, which was patient and excellent overall. The servers exhibited great attitudes and my tea was always refilled in a timely manner. Every staff member in sight gave a warm goodbye as I exited the restaurant. The ambience inside the restaurant was also something to be enjoyed. With regard to the food, I appreciate their willingness to try out different ingredients to create unique and interesting dishes. However, considering the quality of the food (based on the dishes I tried), the prices could hardly be justified. I felt entitled to much more consistency and quality for the price I paid. Most of the disappointment arose from the Aburi Nigiri Selections, but the other dishes were not stellar enough to save my first experience with Tawara Sushi.

Tawara Sushi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Episode #51: Ajisai Sushi Bar

Vancouver (Southwest), $$$ (Higher Priced)

Among the most physically well-hidden Japanese restaurants in Vancouver is Ajisai Sushi Bar. Despite its location in the middle of an alley leading from 41st Ave. to a London Drugs situated on the other side of the block, it is also one of the most notorious restaurants for sushi and frequently experiences lengthy wait times. With this in mind, I chose to visit on a Thursday night at 6 p.m. before the evening dinner rush.

Ajisai is a Japanese-run sushi bar, and the absense of tempura or noodle dishes further emphasize their focus on raw fish. Some of the waitresses spoke barely enough English to take orders, but at least they were patient and acted quite cute about it (don't get me wrong). The plus side of this is not having to endure the sometimes horrendous butchering of the Japanese names of some dishes.

I started with the Special Assorted Sushi, which contained all of the items you see on the dish above minus the anago nigiri. I couldn't resist when I saw anago on the menu. It all started with that TVB drama about anago (whose name I forget).

Amaebi Nigiri - A
Unagi Nigiri - A-
Chopped Scallop Nigiri - A-
Uni Nigiri - B+

The Amaebi Nigiri came with a large, sweet shrimp with a characteristic slightly sticky feel and a taste resembling sweet chopped scallop. The Unagi Nigiri was rather small, but the word "small" hardly applies to the amount of flavour it gave off. I guess they also added two pieces of tamago in the middle to make up for the smaller size of the Unagi Nigiri. The Chopped Scallop Nigiri was fresh and came with a few bits of masago that popped in my mouth. I was quite pleased that the seaweed used the hold the nigiri together was easy to chew. The Uni Nigiri was a bit interesting as it had a completely smooth, slippery appearance but I enjoyed the delicate, sweet flavour of the uni.

Red Tuna Nigiri - A-
Hamachi Nigiri - A-
Salmon Nigiri - B
Toro Nigiri - A

The Red Tuna Nigiri had a jelly-like texture and a mild amount of flavour reminiscent of tai. The Hamachi Nigiri had a mild taste with a slightly chewier texture along the dark spots. It wasn't the richest of deep reds nor the richest in terms of flavour, but it sufficed. The Salmon Nigiri was made with sockeye salmon, but I found it rather mediocre due to it being overly chewy and missing a smooth sheen. My favourite nigiri of the combo was the Toro Nigiri, which melted perfectly in my mouth.

 Tekka Maki - A+

At the top edge of the dish sat the humble-looking Tekka Maki (tuna roll), which unexpectedly blew my mind away. The mashed tuna had a rich flavour and the seaweed and rice were the perfect chewiness. I never knew I could like a tuna roll this much ...

Anago Nigiri - A

The one piece of nigiri I ordered on the side, the Anago Nigiri, was savoury and delicious. It has a slightly rougher texture compared to unagi as it is a salt-water eel instead of a fresh-water eel. I also liked how a small piece of seaweed was added underneath the anago to accentuate the flavour. 

Sukiyaki Roll - A+

The Sukiyaki Roll consisted of sukiyaki beef, tamago, lettuce and a hint of mayonnaise. I must be getting very lucky with my selection of rolls today as this one was just as mind-blowing as the Tekka Maki. The slightly fried egg worked accompanied the soft beef exceptionally well and the mayonnaise added the final magical touch to the roll. With the mayonnaise, I was able to feel an essense of delicious grilled cheese which made the roll really unique. I would be happy to eat five orders of this for dinner.

Ankimo - B

The Ankimo ($8) came with 6 pieces of monkfish liver, a few thin slices of seaweed and cucumber along with a vibrant ponzu sauce. The ankimo was further garnished with a small amount of ginger on top. Ankimo is considered a Japanese delicacy and has a distinct texture and a unique, shellfish-like taste. Ajisai's version was alright, but I found it a bit too dry. I still prefer Nao Sushi's version.

BBQ Black Cod - A

The BBQ Black Cod ($12) was served while it was still steaming, and they did an excellent job of making it juicy. It had a slightly flaky texture to it. I would enjoy it even more if it was cooked with a bit of miso. I'm sure you recognize the lemon and the asparagus, but the mysterious condiment on the right is moromiso (barley paste). I thought it brought out the flavour of the cod well, but at the same time, it could potentially feel a bit offensive. Try it in moderation at first.

I found the service to be friendly and quite attentive, though a less-than-full house may have helped matters. Most of the items were carefully and thoughtfully prepared, but the rolls I had today stood out the most to me. While there aren't any special rolls with a fancy display of sauces on the menu, some of the simpler rolls that are on the menu can be quite mouth-watering and addicting at the same time. The tea is addicting too.

Ajisai Sushi Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Episode #50: Sushi California

Coquitlam, $ (Budget)

After having lost a few pounds from studying for final exams (it's a really effective weight loss program for me), I decided that I needed to take action to stop myself from slipping into the underweight category (a cause of concern for most guys). If I was only going to eat two meals a day, let them be big meals. In the end, I couldn't think of a better solution than to go for a Sushi-a-thon at Sushi California - the restaurant is affordable, the portions are big, and it's not too far away from SFU. It was time for me to engage in my most favourite activity of all time - eating all I can at a non-AYCE Japanese restaurant.

Sushi California is pretty much eternally busy, be it noon, 4 p.m. or 7 p.m. It is perhaps the most popular Japanese restaurant in the neighbourhood and is a favourite of many SFU students. Fortunately, there are enough servers to handle the crowds.

First visit (December 3):

Las Vegas Roll - A-

One of the latest additions to their slowly but continuously evolving menu, the Las Vegas Roll consisted of tempura yam, avocado, cucumber, crab meat, spicy mayonnaise and masago. The tempura yam was appetizing with a nice, light crunch while the avocado was soft and fresh. The sweetness from the tempura yam and teriyaki sauce worked together quite well. Although the sushi rice wasn't top notch, the fact that a decent-tasting special roll could be made with such simple ingredients made this a hit in my books. It was only $3.95 too!

Here comes the fun part ...

... nigiri banzai! I felt like I was rapping while ordering this, and laughter ensued as I had to pause my "rap" to allow the waitress to write my order down. With closer inspection, I noticed that each of the nigiri were about 20% larger than standard.

Toro Nigiri - B+
Hamachi Nigiri - B
Salmon Nigiri - B

The Toro Nigiri was very soft (it was dangerously close to being mushy). I liked how it had no metallic taste and it was full of moisture. The Hamachi Nigiri came with a thick, generous cut and most of it was soft with a nice chewier dark red portion. The Salmon Nigiri had a fresh, creamy taste and a fatty long tail. The rice formation was a bit on the tighter side and with regard to the fish-to-rice ratio, the ratio was in the right range but it felt like a lot of rice due to the large pieces of fish on top. I suppose that adds to the value though.

Tai Nigiri - B+
Saba Nigiri - C+
 Wild Salmon Nigiri - B+

The Tai Nigiri was cut thick but was surprisingly not too chewy. It had only a very mild flavour. I found the Saba Nigiri too stiff and salty for my liking. The Wild Salmon, on the other hand, had a nice smooth sheen and a delicate sweet flavour.

Tuna Nigiri - B
Hotategai Nigiri - C+
Unagi Nigiri - A-

The Tuna Nigiri was literally humungous, and the tuna was fresh and fatty. The Hotategai Nigiri tasted really watery and lacking in flavour. My favourite of the whole platter was the Unagi Nigiri, which was freshly seared and had steam coming out when it was served! I even managed to hear the searing taking place from my seat at the bar.

Ikura Nigiri - B-
Wakame Nigiri - B+
Inari Nigiri - A-

The Ikura Nigiri didn't have a lot of salmon roe on top, and the fish oil was overly sticky and thick. The Wakame Nigiri was nicely seasoned, while the Inari Nigiri was soft and pillowy with a rich, sweet flavour. It could use a bit less rice inside.

At this point, I was so stuffed that I couldn't eat another dish. I suppose my eating capacity shrank along with my weight, which sucks as a food blogger. Oh well, that's what Sushi-a-thons are for.

Second visit (December 9):

Energy Roll - B+

The Energy Roll consisted of asparagus, avocado, masago, mayonnaise, unagi, teriyaki sauce and special wasabi mayonnaise sauce. At $4.50, this was by far the cheapest roll I have ever seen to feature 8 pieces with unagi on top. The unagi was quite meaty too! The interior exhibited some crunchiness due to the asparagus and I thought the asparagus and avocado were a good match.

Tempura Udon - B-

Another very good deal I found on the menu was the Tempura Udon at $5.95. It came with 4 pieces of tempura - one piece each of yam, prawn, zucchini and carrot. The tempura displayed some inconsistencies, such as the batter on the prawn being too hard, the carrot being a bit mushy and the zucchini being sliced too thin. I enjoyed the soft bean curd, though the udon noodles were standard fare and the broth was quite simplistic.

Okonomiyaki - C

The Okonomiyaki was huge and I was still surprised at how big it was even after the warning by the waitress that it was going to be quite large. Every time I've had this before, I would complain about the slight sour, vinegar-y taste of the okonomi sauce to my friends on Facebook. Fortunately, they have more or less eradicated this problem. Unfortunately, the Okonomiyaki was now very lacking in sauce overall and as a result, the pancake itself became rather tough to chew. So close, yet so far. Interestingly, I found a few slices of bell peppers in the mix.

I found the service non-problematic as the servers were quite energetic and on the friendly side. It was also good to see that the food had undergone some improvements since my previous visits and it now compares with the average Japanese restaurant quality-wise. Most of all, the prices are one of the lowest in town and the portion sizes range from large to extra extra large. The highlights of the whole Sushi-a-thon were the Las Vegas Roll and the Unagi Nigiri. Of course, I failed to complete the second day of the Sushi-a-thon and left the restaurant carrying a large takeout bag. I now officially have the appetite of a 10-year-old. FML.

Sushi California Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Episode #49: Sushi Koo

Port Coquitlam, $ (Budget)

Last Sunday night, after completing a particularly difficult final exam which I needed to forget about, I had my mind set on either Sushi Koo or Sushi Ikoi (the contingency plan in case the buses didn't line up). Fortunately, they did line up, and when I arrived in Port Coquitlam, all was eerily quiet except for the bowling place on McAllister and the Giggle Dam Theatre. Well, I suppose that's what it's like far out into the suburbs. Sushi Koo is on the same block as the bowling centre and is a new Chinese-run Japanese restaurant that opened up earlier this year.

I went inside to find a brightly lit restaurant with a seating capacity of just over 50. Breaking the Chinese stereotype was the fact that the service was actually quite friendly. The decor wasn't particularly fancy or anything, but it appeared to be clean. Also a plus was the fact that I wasn't the only diner - there were a few other tables around to liven up the atmosphere.

Scallop Bacon - A

The Scallop Bacon came with two skewers, each with three small scallops individually wrapped with bacon. It was tastefully grilled and the teriyaki sauce accentuated the flavours of the bacon. The bacon had a slight crispiness to it and the scallop was soft and juicy. The salad was dressed with a light vinaigrette as well. This was a wonderful start to the meal.

Tuna Sashimi - C-
Salmon Sashimi - A-

The Appetizer Sashimi came with 3 pieces of tuna and 2 pieces of salmon. The cuts were very generous and it looked quite promising. I started with the salmon, which was fresh, smooth and not overly chewy despite the thickness. I then proceeded to pick up the tuna, which fell out of my chopsticks and hit my soy sauce dish with a loud "kaplunk", catapulting the soy sauce all over my table. Terribly embarrassed and in shock, I then bit into the tuna which made a crunching sound (WTF?) - it was still frozen! No wonder it was so heavy!

BC Blazer Roll - B+

The BC Blazer Roll consisted of crab meat, avocado, seared salmon, tobiko, green onion and bonito. They did a good job of balancing the ingredients to create a nice, harmonized roll. The roll was a bit above moderately spicy and I wish they indicated this on the menu, though I felt the spiciness was well-integrated and was a plus. There was a good amount of creamy, delicious salmon on top though I highly doubt they actually seared the salmon because it had exactly the same texture as the salmon sashimi.

Wild Salmon Nigiri - B-
Unagi Nigiri - B+
Chopped Scallop Nigiri - B+

The Wild Salmon Nigiri had a mild taste akin to smoked salmon. It would be better with a smoother texture and I found the rice packed too tightly. The Unagi Nigiri was dressed with a savoury unagi sauce and displayed clean cutting skills. My favourite was the Chopped Scallop Nigiri, which had a good amount of mayonnaise. Furthermore, the seaweed wasn't too tough while the nigiri still held together well.

Most of the food was tasty and well-prepared, and the prices are very reasonable. They are also very generous with the portion sizes and the various combos on the menu can result in decent savings. Service was friendly for the most part, though I wish they took action when they asked me how the food was and I told them about the frozen tuna (I was just given an explanation). Oh well, I just made the best of the situation and left the tuna sitting on my table until the end of my meal, when it had thawed enough to be edible ... kind of.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Episode #48: Kazu Japanese Restaurant

Burnaby North, $$ (Moderately Priced)

It seems that every time I try to visit Kazu Japanese Restaurant (the new authentic Japanese restaurant on Hastings), some act of nature will try its best to prevent me from doing so. The first time I try, they are closed on Mondays, and the second time I try, they cancel their lunch hours from Tuesday to Thursday. So last Friday, I tried one last time, only for Translink to cancel two consecutive buses for the route that would get me there. My determination for sushi got the better of me, and even though I was running nearly half an hour late, I decided to count on my lucky stars and go on the journey anyway. I was 99% sure I wasn't going to make it back to campus for my afternoon class on time when the bus driver decided to drive at 20 km/h so that he could finish the last bits of his lunch. Sigh, bus drivers these days ...

When I arrived, there was heavy construction work in front of the restaurant in the form of road paving across several blocks of Hastings St. Still, my determination did not waver, and I walked all around the construction work and behind the fencing to get to the restaurant. (The paving seemed to be complete by the next day.) Despite the extreme technical difficulties of getting to the restaurant itself, the restaurant was still full of diners and had a small crowd waiting at the door for seats. That's when you know you're running a successful business. I hastily ordered the Tempura Roll, a few pieces of nigiri and the Bento Box A and then proceeded to enjoy the relaxing bossa nova music they were playing in the background.

Tempura Roll - A-

The Tempura Roll came with tempura prawn, lettuce, avocado, radish sprouts, tobiko and mayonnaise. It was essentially the version of the Dynamite Roll with smaller pieces. The prawn was meaty and still warm from the fryer while the avocado was fresh and provided a nice, subtle touch of creaminess to the roll. 

Unagi Nigiri - A-
Saba Nigiri - A
Toro Nigiri - B+

The nigiri were particularly well-formed and the fish-to-rice ratio was flawless. The unagi was quite savoury and dressed with teriyaki sauce. If it was a bit thicker and more meaty, it would have been excellent. The Saba Nigiri was flavourful and had a deliciously smooth fatty layer in the center. It was garnished with green onion and ginger and had just ther right amount of saltiness. The Toro Nigiri came with a generous cut, but was a bit underthawed. The wasabi is real Japanese horseradish!

Miso Soup - A

The Miso Soup (which accompanied the Bento Box A) contained seaweed, green onion, and tofu. The miso paste was finely ground to create a nice, smooth texture and a rich taste.

The Bento Box A consisted of the miso soup mentioned above along with tuna and salmon sashimi, appetizer tempura, chicken teriyaki (choice of beef available), and shrimp sunomono. Tempura dipping sauce and rice were provided on the side (not pictured). Considering the amount of diners they had, I was quite surprised by the speed and efficiency at which the kitchen and sushi bar churned out dishes.

Salmon Sashimi - A-
Tuna Sashimi - B

The Salmon Sashimi was cut into small pieces and ended up being a bit flimsy, but it was fresh sockeye salmon and had a nice, smooth sheen. I would give it an A if the cuts were large enough not to detract from the flavour of the salmon. The Tuna Sashimi satisfied the melt-in-your-mouth criteria, but I found it overly mild in flavour.

Prawn Tempura - A-
Green Bean Tempura - A-
Carrot Tempura - B-
Sweet Potato Tempura - B
Yam Tempura - B-

The prawn tempura (2 pieces), like the Tempura Roll, was meaty and covered with a flaky, crispy batter. I found it a little too thick in places. The Green Bean Tempura (2 pieces) was decent and preserved the moisture inside quite well. The Carrot Tempura (1 piece) and Yam Tempura (1 piece) were both sliced much too thin, and the carrot completely slid out of the batter casing when I tried to eat it (whoops). The Sweet Potato Tempura (1 piece) had a strong sweet flavour, but decided to join the bandwagon of thinness as well.

Chicken Teriyaki - C+

The Chicken Teriyaki came with barely any sauce and the bean sprouts under it were virtually undressed (there was only a small amount of oil at the bottom). The chicken had a smooth texture, but was slightly rubbery (overcooked).

Shrimp Sunomono - B+

The Shrimp Sunomono had a couple of soft mini shrimp. The vinegar base was quite light compared to other sunomonos I've had. The vermicelli used was a thicker variety which I found smooth and slippery. 

The service was quite decent and the sushi chef (Chef Kazu?) seemed quite nice and friendly. He also received quite a few compliments from customers while I was eating at the bar. The prices are very reasonable, especially for an authentic restaurant, and combined with the above average quality of the food, I could see why so many people chose to ignore the construction outside and enjoy lunch at Kazu. The well-formed, fresh nigiri were the highlight of this meal and I wish I could stay to sample more dishes, but because the bus driver (mentioned earlier) was too busy enjoying his lunch, I didn't get enough time for mine. I would have much preferred the endlessly cursing bus driver (the other main species of bus driver) as opposed to the unprofessional, sloth-speed, lunch-eating bus driver. On the bright side, at least I made it to the restaurant after so many tries.

Kazu Japanese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato