Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Episode #101: Okoman Sushi

Burnaby North, $$ (Moderately Priced)

After writing blog posts for Sushi California, Sushi &, and Hanamori Sushi, I was on a quest to find another sushi restaurant near Lougheed Town Centre to try out. Browsing through the online reviews did not provide me with a clear target, so I decided to just go for the restaurant with the lowest prices. That way, if the sushi was good, I would not have to pay as much, and if the sushi was bad, I would not have to pay as much either. It was the perfect strategy, or as some of my professors call it, the "dominant strategy."

Okoman Sushi is just a short uphill walk from the Walmart at Lougheed Town Centre, but somehow, I manage to get totally exhausted by the time I got to the restaurant. I blame the heat. When I stepped into the restaurant, the first thing I noticed was that most of the dining tables were separated by wooden dividers for enhanced privacy. For added elegance, each of these dining tables were illuminated by a bright Japanese lantern above. There is a button that you can push whenever you require service.

I was originally seated next to the sushi bar, but since I kept peering at the lantern-lit private "rooms" like a curious animal, they offered to seat me in one of those rooms. I gladly accepted the offer as it would allow me to take as many pictures of my food as I wanted with privacy. I slowly combed through their extensive menu, which included an array of appetizers and robata dishes in addition to the typical Japanese items.

Yakitori - B+

Interestingly, the first item to arrive was the Yakitori, which came with two skewers of barbecued chicken and vegetables. The bell peppers were juicy, and the chicken was slightly breaded so that it had a bit of a crunch. I enjoyed this unique touch. There was some slight charring, but the chicken remained tender. 

Salmon Sashimi - A
Tuna Sashimi - A-

The Appetizer Sashimi came with two pieces of Salmon Sashimi and two pieces of Tuna Sashimi. The salmon was buttery, soft, very fresh, and cut into good-sized pieces. Yes, I am fully conscious of the fact that I am giving this the same grade as the Salmon Sashimi I had from Octopus' Garden. The Tuna Sashimi was delightfully soft as well with a decent, rich flavour. This was definitely the highlight of the meal!

Ebi Mayo - C-

Unfortunately, the Ebi Mayo was a roaring disaster. The batter was thick and chewy like gummy candy. Did they accidentally drop glue into the frying oil?! Even though the shrimp inside tasted good, I was mildly disgusted by the gross, gummy batter. Not wanting to waste food, I peeled off all of the batter and ate the shrimps. Let's not think about the batter anymore and just move on to the next item.

Okoman Roll - C

The Okoman Special Roll (10 pieces) consisted of deep-fried scallop, eel, cucumber topped with crispy powder, tobiko, and unagi sauce. Presentation-wise, the roll looked promising with the colourful abundance of panko crumbs on top. However, I had a lot of trouble chewing the tough seaweed and tasting any of the ingredients inside the roll. There was no way I would have noticed the deep-fried scallop had I not seen it listed as one of the ingredients and subsequently picked the roll apart.

Sitting at the private rooms came at the price of very minimal service. I understand that I should press the button when I am ready to order, but I don't think I should have to press the button to have my tea refilled occasionally or have the server ask me how my food was, especially since the restaurant was mostly empty at the time. At the end, I just took $2 off the tip so I could buy myself some iced tea at Lougheed Town Centre instead. 

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