Richmond, $$ (Moderately Priced)
Every time I look at a map of Richmond, I always assume that the area south of Granville Ave. is largely a residential neighborhood with little to offer in terms of food and shopping. After going there several times to inspect the area, I realized that there are plazas everywhere! You can find everything from sushi restaurants to Safeway and Shopper's Drug Mart in there. Not to mention that there are 4 Subway restaurants among these plazas. The plaza on No. 3 Rd. and Williams Rd. seemed to be one of the newer plazas at first glance, and just a little over a month ago, Gami Sushi, a Korean-operated Japanese restaurant, had its grand opening there.
I walked into the restaurant to find clean, modern decor accompanied by soft jazz in the background. The restaurant seems small, but actually has a seating capacity of around 40 guests. Despite their size limitations, they try to replicate an upscale Japanese restaurant, and their menu contains many unique items such as Coconut Crunch Salmon, Snapper Tempura Salad and the Super Lobster Roll. The Super Lobster Roll ($19.95) had a rather lofty price tag, so I had the less-pricey Oh GAMI Roll ($13.95) and the Lobster Motoyaki ($7.95) instead. I still get my lobster and it's an extra item for only $2 more.
Lobster Motoyaki - A-
The Lobster Motoyaki consisted of lobster coated with a layer of cheese over a bed of finely chopped baby bok choy and spinach. The dish itself isn't very large, but there was a significant amount of lobster in the motoyaki, and the rich taste of the cheese went well with the lobster.
Oh GAMI Roll - B+
The Oh GAMI Roll consisted of 2 tempura prawns, cucumber, crab meat, seared unagi, salmon, tuna, chopped scallop, avocado, 3 kinds of tobiko and sauce. Oh Gami! That's a lot of ingredients! I liked how they made the roll into 10 pieces instead of making each piece colossal to accommodate all the ingredients. The first thing I noticed as I bit into the roll was the delightful light crunch coming from the batter of the shrimp, which I thought was just a tad overdone. The crab meat was rich in taste and went well with the unagi sauce and mayonnaise, which worked together to create a smooth, melty texture. It would be nice if there was more of a seared taste for the various seafood on top of the roll.
Wild Salmon Nigiri - B-
Toro Nigiri - B
Tai Nigiri - A-
There was a bit too much rice compared to the amount of fish for the nigiri (it isn't supposed to be a game of how much rice you can stuff under the fish). The Wild Salmon Nigiri had a rather blunt taste (it tasted a little metallic to me) but had a soft texture. The Toro Nigiri was somehow softer on one side than the other. The best of all was the Tai Nigiri. It was generous in terms of portion size, and it was cut almost as thick as the toro but it was juicy and not tough. It also had a prominent mild, sweet flavour and tasted the freshest out of the three.
By Richmond standards (where prices are slightly higher than other suburban areas in Greater Vancouver), I found the prices to be quite reasonable for what I received. The quality of service was on par with the quality of the food, and I quite enjoyed my stay in the comfortable setting of the restaurant away from the busy city action. I then proceeded to continue my quest of sleeping on the bus, the Skytrain and the West Coast Express all in the same day. For SFU students, it's that time of the year ...