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

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