My sister heard about my adventures at Shabusen and Kyo and wanted to try grilling meat for herself, so I suggested that we head to Charcoal Sushi & BBQ Restaurant in central Richmond. Who doesn't like hot food on a hot day? In addition, my parents wanted to watch the FIFA World Cup, so Charcoal Sushi seemed to be the best choice to satisfy all of our needs. My sister could grill meat and my parents could watch the World Cup on one of the TVs in the dining area while I sat in the corner scribbling notes about the food into my notebook.
Charcoal Sushi & BBQ Restaurant is Chinese-owned and features a moderately small dining space where each table has its own BBQ grill in the middle. We received a warm, friendly welcome upon entering the restaurant and were lucky enough to get one of the last free tables without a reservation. The restaurant was completely full just mere minutes after our arrival, which I found surprising considering that it was a Tuesday evening.
Sockeye Salmon Sashimi - A
The first dish to arrive at our table was the Sockeye Salmon Sashimi. I was pleasantly surprised by the freshness of the salmon, which gave it an enjoyable sweet flavour. The size of each piece was just perfect in my opinion. My dad liked it so much that he insisted that we get one more order (which we did at the end of the meal).
Ebi Mayo - A-
The Ebi Mayo came with four meaty, toothsome battered shrimps. A small amount of spice was added to liven flavours up along with the mayonnaise. The batter was light and rather crunchy.
The Madness Roll - B
The Madness Roll consisted of imitation crab, avocado, salmon tempura, tuna, green onion, and sesame seeds. The salmon in the salmon tempura was mediocre in freshness and execution, while the crab and avocado inside the roll had a decent harmonized sweetness. The roll was served with spicy tuna instead of tuna, but this worked out alright in terms of taste.
Dragon Roll - B-
The Dragon Roll came with prawn tempura, cucumber, eel, and avocado. There was a good amount of unagi on top, but the taste of the unagi was someone masked by the large amount of cucumber inside the roll. I found the tempura batter a bit too crunchy and the sushi rice slightly dry.
BBQ Beef Tongue - A-
The BBQ Beef Tongue arrived with seven thin slices of beef tongue garnished with sesame and green onion. The marinade gave the beef enough flavour, and I enjoyed the nice rebound of the beef tongue after grilling.
BBQ Boneless Chicken - A-
The BBQ Boneless Chicken came with approximately nine pieces of marinated chicken. The raw form of the chicken was not particularly photogenic, but if you absolutely must see it, click here. I liked how the chicken was cut into thin slices to make the grilling easier. After grilling, the chicken was quite tender and had a sweet teriyaki flavour.
Beef Teriyaki with Rice - C+
My sister really enjoyed the process of grilling meat and wanted to get more beef to grill, but I wanted to get something different, so I went with the Beef Teriyaki with Rice. Perhaps I should have stuck with her suggestion instead, because eating the beef teriyaki was like playing a game of Russian Roulette. There were the good pieces of beef, and then there were those very-elasticky-and-virtually-impossible-to-chew pieces. By the comments that ensued, I conclude that the tooth-tiring pieces outnumbered the tooth-friendly pieces.
The service was some of the best I had ever received from a Chinese-operated restaurant. The servers were glad to change the channel for us so that we could watch the world cup and remained friendly and attentive throughout our visit. I found the prices to be reasonable (considering the fact that we were in Richmond) and the lively atmosphere to be quite suitable for small-scale celebrations. Other than the Russian Roulette Beef Teriyaki, the other dishes showed a decent level of care in preparation and execution.