Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Episode #47: Momo Sushi

Vancouver (West End), $$ (Moderately Priced)

Downstairs from Ebisu is a brightly lit, boisterous Japanese restaurant by the name of Momo Sushi. They operate a few locations throughout the downtown peninsula, and I believe the Robson St. location is their newest location. The restaurant looks cleaner than the Gastown location, though it is comparatively smaller as well. When I walked in, the waitresses were all wearing smiles and Japanese outfits, which was a nice first impression.

I looked at the menu which was unfortunately filled with typos, which made my head spin (I'm sorry).

https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/img/b/R29vZ2xl/AVvXsEgLLDLsKSNRvwK67Q8ydXU-o1Gm1jGoD5mhq_JzMzaHRGKpg-S9Q0g0GD95JbK00t_2UPldcfaIrc4I6fFoEKxw-lQFAa7-F65QBwP-nua0FMYNU6YPWxgG0dct5u6cHgcf7YPT9PaLGt3S/s1600/20141125_182841.jpg          https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/img/b/R29vZ2xl/AVvXsEjrqDIMiMryoBLTZcleNHxVKsoDaOFsc_wmn7opBwqg3xeRH9PBRdMeF2OL3bGc18KlYr3AgK4p-t_khQaXe8LiKhCvev75C1BRN8uXK4Yxn0X4-Y_6xt40ZZcv3NoDJzcwGcx9t8cGS4y9/s1600/20141125_182810.jpg
Menu (click to enlarge)

Of particular concern to me was when the Sashimi Box seemingly contained no sashimi, until I asked a waitress to clarify.

Considering that I would receive an additional salad, miso soup, 3 pieces spicy tuna roll, appetizer tempura and grilled salmon with rice all for just $4 more by ordering Sashimi Box B ($9.95), it made no sense to order the Appetizer Sashimi ($5.95).

Miso Soup - B
Salad - C+

The Miso Soup arrived hot and with a good consistency. It was not too salty, but it tasted slightly off, as if a small bit of oyster broth was mixed in. The fresh lettuce in the salad was dressed with a vinaigrette that had a vibrant citrus flavour. Unfortunately, the vinaigrette also tasted like it had mayonnaise in it.

As soon as I finished the Miso Soup and the Salad, everything else I ordered came to my table all at once. 

 Salmon Sashimi - B+
Tai Sashimi - B+
Ebi Sashimi - A-
Tuna Sashimi - A

The sashimi was quite pleasant and fresh. The Salmon Sashimi had a nice smooth sheen, though it was a little weak in flavour. It was also interestingly cut into the shape of a trapezoidal prism (sorry about the math). The Tai Sashimi had a desirable smooth texture and was quite chewy. The Ebi Sashimi tasted fresh and without marination in ginger. Best of all was the tuna, which was quite refreshing with a very well balanced taste as well as a melt-in-your-mouth texture.

Appetizer Tempura - B+

The Appetizer Tempura (not available as a separate item) came with 1 piece each of Green Bean Tempura, Prawn Tempura, Kabocha Tempura and Sweet Potato Tempura. The tempura was generally well-prepared and had the right amount of batter for each piece. When I tried to eat the green bean tempura, the whole green bean slid out of the tempura and I was left with a shell of batter dangling between my chopsticks. Whoops! The prawn was decent and the kabocha had a thick cut along with a sweet flavour. Best of all was the Sweet Potato Tempura, which had a good amount of moisture and was cut to just the right thickness.

Spicy Tuna Roll - B-

The Spicy Tuna Roll (a half order) contained soft tuna dressed with a hot chili sauce that was quite spicy. The sauce was well integrated with the tuna and the addition of a few sprinkles of fish powder helped liven up flavours. The sushi rice was a bit dry, and it one of the pieces, hard as well.

Grilled Salmon with Rice - C

I thought that there could have been a little more effort in making the salmon look more appetizing. It came in one huge chunk which was over-fried, leaving a crust that was a challenge to penetrate. Inside, the salmon was juicy and had a baked feel to it. The bean sprouts were left undressed so they tasted rather bland. I also fail to understand how a yakisoba noodle got into the mix of bean sprouts ...

Sexy Salmon Roll - B-

I seem to have a persistent urge to order things with unusual names. The Sexy Salmon Roll consisted of cucumber, avocado, crab meat, prawn tempura, salmon, deep fried yam flakes and spicy mayonnaise. The spicy mayonnaise was unfortunately not spicy and a bit sour, but fortunately, it was used quite sparingly. I enjoyed the very large pieces of salmon, which had a smooth creamy texture and was the sexiest part of the roll. The avocado was underripe, while there was a good abundance of yam flakes at the top which provided crunchiness to the roll.

I found the service very friendly, though not the most attentive. Overall, the prices are very reasonable and the fresh sashimi was a delight, while the cooked food and sushi rice could use some refinement. I believe the lower prices are one of the restaurant's biggest sources of attraction for customers in an area where everything else is considerably more pricey. Indeed, I wish they had proofread their menu before printing it out. Like come on, at least the name of the restaurant should be spelled right! *Facepalm*

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

Episode #46: Sushi Yoi

Burnaby North, $ (Budget)

I usually plan my sushi adventures in advance, and once I plan them, they happen according to the planned time and location, rain or shine, project due or no project due. Sushi Yoi is a new Chinese-run Japanese restaurant that opened just a few months ago, and I first noticed it during my Sushi-a-thon at Sushi Garden. It was located in one of the various buildings surrounding Brentwood Town Centre. Unfortunately, I had to endure a minute of cold, persistent rain before I made it to the entrance. Perhaps even more unfortunately, I had to try to take a photo of the restaurant's exterior so I can show it here.

I arrived at the restaurant at 3 p.m. and when I stepped inside, the first thing I noticed was the owl with peacock feathers. Well, I guess anything can happen ...

The mysterious owl with peacock feathers watches you.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out they had the "Choose 3 items for $8.95 and get a free miso soup" deal, which lasted for the whole day every day! Wanting to sample some different categories, I picked the Appetizer Tempura, Chicken Teriyaki with Rice and the BC Roll.

Miso Soup - B

The Miso Soup was served at a nice, hot temperature and contained tofu, green onions and a bit of seaweed. I liked how the grains of the miso paste were not coarse, but I found the soup a bit too salty.

Appetizer Tempura - B

The Appetizer Tempura came with 2 pieces of prawn, 2 pieces of sweet potato and 1 piece of kabocha underneath. My favourite was the sweet potato, which was cut to the right thickness and had a rich, sweet taste. The kabocha would fare better if a little sugar was added. The prawns had a nice soft texture, but the batter was a tad greasy and the shrimp could be more voluminous.

 Chicken Teriyaki with Rice - A-

The Chicken Teriyaki with Rice was served at a nice, warm temperature. The chicken on top was tender and dressed with just the right amount of teriyaki sauce, giving a nice, balanced savoury taste. The chicken was pan-fried and had a nice, thin layer of semi-crispy skin on top.

 BC Roll - B+

The BC Roll (BBQ Salmon Skin) came in very large pieces with an abundance of smooth salmon skin inside. It was practically brimming with fish oils. I tried to pick up one whole piece and place it in my mouth so that I could get a better sense of how the ingredients worked together, but I had about as much success in that as I did on my Grade 5 swimming final evaluation (I epically failed both). Oh well, the value was definitely there.

Salmon Oshi - B+

The Salmon Oshi pictured on the menu looked quite legitimate, so I decided to give it a try. The sushi rice was above par, had adequate flavour and was not packed too tightly. This is a dish to consume quickly as once it cools down, it loses most of its good qualities. The salmon had a decent soft texture and was seared to just the right amount, giving it a warm, seared flavour which was accented by the thin slice of pepper. It would taste even better if they put a little more mayonnaise on top and seared that.

I managed to find great value at Sushi Yoi, and the three-item combo is practically a steal! Most of the items were decently prepared and Sushi Yoi is a good choice if you’re on a tight budget or happen to be hungry near Brentwood Mall. The service was pretty much non-existent after all my food was served, but the staff (including the cooks at the back) was friendly. I was actually planning to try more items, but I was so full that I could not possibly take in any more food while my bill had not even reached $20. I had no choice but to sleep like a sloth on the bus again.

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