Selecting a sushi restaurant in Richmond has always been a challenge for me. You can either get good prices or good ambience, but it is nearly impossible to get both. Furthermore, most of the better sushi restaurants in Richmond seem to be located away from the "Sea of Malls." For the sake of convenience, I decided to risk it for the biscuit and try out one of the sushi restaurants within the Sea of Malls. I tried my best to look for some kind of combo which would allow me to sample everything, and the Seto Box from Seto Sushi was the closest thing I could find.
Seto Sushi is a large, authentic Japanese restaurant located just across the street from the north face of Lansdowne Mall. There is a focus on traditional items as well as a very large selection of raw seafood. The seating arrangements were quite comfortable and allowed for some privacy without the feeling of seclusion. I glanced over my head and saw the sign for Bluefin Tuna Nigiri, and if I remember correctly, the prices were $4.50 for a piece of Akami, $6 for a piece of Chutoro, and $9 for a piece of Otoro.
Miso Soup - B
The Seto Box came with Miso Soup, Zarusoba, Appetizer Tempura, Chicken Teriyaki, Tako Sunomono, Salmon Sashimi, Tuna Sashimi, 3 pieces of nigiri sushi, and a salad. The Miso Soup was served piping hot with seaweed, tofu, and green onion. I liked the richness of the miso paste, but I found the soup slightly too salty.
Zarusoba - A-
The Zarusoba (cold green tea buckwheat noodles) came with a light soy dipping sauce (soba tsuyu) in the container on the left. I liked the mild soy sauce flavour of the dipping sauce as well as the rebound of the soba noodles. The seaweed was also a nice complement - if only there was more of it!
Prawn Tempura - A-
Zucchini Tempura - A
Yam Tempura - B
The Appetizer Tempura came with two prawns, one piece of zucchini and one piece of yam. The prawns were large and meaty, while the surrounding batter was crispy without being hard. The dipping sauce has a mild gingery kick to it. The Zucchini Tempura was juicy and delicious, while the Yam Tempura was cut too thick and only mildly sweet.
The remainder of the Seto Box came in a lunch box. This is one heck of a filling lunch set!
Salad - B
The Salad consisted mostly of cabbage leaves. The vinaigrette was light in flavour and didn't really make it all the way to the bottom.
Ebi Nigiri - B-
Tuna Nigiri - A-
Salmon Nigiri - B-
The Ebi Nigiri was quite chewy and contained slightly too much wasabi for my taste. The Tuna Nigiri melted in my mouth nicely despite being thin, while the salmon in the Salmon Nigiri seemed to lack freshness. However, the sushi rice was well constructed and didn't fall apart too easily.
Chicken Teriyaki - B+
The Chicken Teriyaki came with lightly pan-fried chicken with a circular bed of rice. The chicken was sufficiently tender, and this was a good filler. It would be excellent if it had slightly more teriyaki sauce.
Tako Sunomono - A-
The Tako Sunomono had a light vinegary flavour. The one piece of tako had just the right amount of chewiness and flavour to it. Albeit small, this was a nice, refreshing appetizer.
Salmon Sashimi - B-
Tuna Sashimi - A-
The Salmon Sashimi did not come in large pieces, although each piece was quite thick. Like the Salmon Nigiri, the Salmon Sashimi was not the freshest either. I guess I just came on a bad day. The Tuna Sashimi, on the other hand, was quite soft and substantially fresher than the salmon.
Shima-Aji Nigiri - A-
Blue Fin Otoro Nigiri - A
The Shima-Aji Nigiri (striped jack) came with a large, thick cut and sufficient sweetness. I originally wanted to order all three cuts of bluefin tuna, but not wanting to endanger the species or my wallet any further, I only ordered one piece of the otoro (the fattiest, juiciest cut). It came in quite a generous portion with a very smooth, melt-in-your-mouth texture. The flavour was perfect, and it was so soft that the fish fell apart more than the rice.
Anakyu Roll - B
The Anakyu Roll came with anago (sea eel) and cucumber in a hosomaki roll. The anago had a decent amount of sweetness, and the roll was well constructed, but the flavour of the anago got lost in the roll. Perhaps the only good way to enjoy anago is in nigiri form.
I found the service neither very good nor very bad, but there was an adequate level of attentiveness. As expected of a higher-priced restaurant, the food was prepared with care. If the catch of salmon had been fresher, this would have been an excellent lunch. Lunch appears to be fairly priced at Seto Sushi, especially with the help of the lunch sets. Overall, I would consider this lunch a risk-it-for-the-biscuit success.