Hot, humid, and overcast describes the type of weather I dread, while running out of hot chocolate powder describes the type of morning I dread. Since I live in an area with sparse public transit, I quickly drank some coconut juice and shoved 3 crackers in my mouth prior to leaving so that I could catch the next bus. Three hours later, I had purchased some of my textbooks from the SFU bookstore and arrived at Lynn Valley, prepared to have a colossal lunch after a colossal amount of time sitting in buses. Lynn Valley is a beautiful and fast-growing area in North Vancouver, and the Lynn Valley Shopping Center looked almost as busy as Metrotown did when I was a kid.
On Valley Sushi's website, they mention that they have new management, new staff and a new menu. Here is a picture of the exterior of the restaurant:
It looked quite clean inside too, though the decor was quite simple. I opened the menu and noticed an item called "Salmon Candy." I love trying new things, but I had no idea what that was, so I read the description, which said "Candied salmon with chef's special sauce." Okay, very helpful ... I tried to mentally picture that and I thought of salmon covered in chocolate sauce, just like candied apples. However, chocolate-covered salmon just didn't seem right to me, so I asked the waitress about the Salmon Candy, and to my surprise, she knew as much about the Salmon Candy as I did. She came back after consulting the chef and told me in accurate detail what it was. I ordered it, and in less than ten minutes, all of my food arrived.
Seared Toro Nigiri - A-
The Seared Toro Nigiri came with loose sushi rice that held together well. It had a light, barbequed flavour and was very lightly dressed. I wished they used a little more seasoning, but with the light seasoning, you can taste the unmodified flavour of toro sashimi.
Salmon Candy - A
Debunking the myth of the mysterious Salmon Candy ... which is actually a dish containing slices of salmon sashimi, cooked with teriyaki sauce. The salmon wasn't fully cooked, so it was much softer than the salmon served in a typical Salmon Teriyaki, but with the same savoury and mildly sweet flavour. The consistency of the sauce was slightly too thick, but overall, I am glad to have ordered this dish.
Ebi Mayo - B-
The Ebi Mayo came with 5 prawns dressed with spicy mayonnaise. The prawns had a nice snap to them and were a bit chewier than normal. The amount of batter used was very correct, but the amount of spiciness was very not so correct. After eating 3 of the prawns, my tongue decided that it needed a time-out. I downed an entire glass of water at record speed and then asked for a re-fill, which I quickly drank as well. Ironically, two waitresses came over one after the other to ask me if everything was okay. Well, besides my tongue, yes ...
Red Dragon Roll - B+
The Red Dragon Roll consisted of unagi, avocado, masago, avocado, cucumber and crab meat. I bet if they also mentioned the yam fries in the menu, the roll would sell better. The yam fries were slightly crunchy and softened from the moisture of the masago and the sauces, which I actually felt was a plus. Although the unagi was a bit dry and the crab meat lacked flavour, the freshness of the avocado got through to me and was one of the highlights of the roll.
The Yakitori came with two large chicken skewers along with red peppers, onions, leeks, and a salad underneath, all for just $4.00! The red peppers, onions and leeks were all successfully grilled and were better than the chicken, which was a bit tough. They could use a few more minutes to allow the teriyaki sauce to seep into the chicken, which would make it more tasty.
Well, it was time to finish the two remaining prawns and an extra glass of water. Service was attentive and friendly throughout my meal, and the occasional funny responses (one server accidentally said that all the special rolls were like California rolls) brightened up my visit. Including tax and tip, I paid a total of $36 for a lunch that mostly exceeded my expectations. The bill made me question my ordering strategies, and I admit - the struggle is real, but the sushi is good.