After having too much fried chicken lately, I decided to go for something healthy by visiting Nori Casual Japanese Restaurant. Taking public transit from SFU to Nori Casual is neither very easy nor convenient. I had to make three transfers in quick succession, which precluded any opportunity for me to catch up on missed sleep. Furthermore, it's a little hard to sleep on the bus when other people are having an argument behind you (welcome to Surrey). I could almost say that the people on the bus were going up and down. However, none of this matters as long as the sushi is good, right?
Nori Casual is located a few blocks northwest of Guildford Town Centre in a mostly residential part of town. I would never have found out about the restaurant if I wasn't a regularly reader of Vancity Noms. The restaurant is run by an older Japanese couple and serves mainly traditional Japanese food, including numerous donburi and udon dishes. Unfortunately, they had just discontinued their omurice, so I went with one of their twelve different kinds of udons instead as my filler.
Tuna Toro Nigiri - A-
Scallop Nigiri - B-
Sockeye Salmon Nigiri - A-
My lunch started on a high note when my three pieces of nigiri turned out to be carefully constructed. The tuna toro (they added the word tuna because they also served Salmon Toro) had a delicious smooth, melty texture. The Scallop Nigiri was garnished with tobiko and minuscule pieces of cucumber. I appreciated the harmonious sweet flavour and the innovation, but texture-wise, this didn't really do it for me. The sockeye salmon had a rich flavour, and the sushi rice was decent and not packed too tightly.
Black Dragon Roll - B+
The Black Dragon Roll came with BBQ eel, avocado, tobiko, crab meat, cucumber, bonito flakes, and sesame seeds, and for $7.25, it was quite a good deal! This is even cheaper than the Dragon Roll from T&T, and I'm sure you know just how good that is. The rich unagi blended well with the avocado, and the crab meat was very soft. It didn't have the most natural flavour, but it is imitation crab meat after all.
Spring Rolls - B+
My Tanuki Udon came with a side of Spring Rolls. The wrapping was quite crunchy since it was on the thicker side, but the cabbage-based filling was moist and juicy. I also enjoyed the small bit of black pepper they added to the filling to give it the slightest touch of spiciness.
Tanuki Udon - B
The Tanuki Udon consisted of broccoli, fish cake (naruto), seaweed, green onion, and lots of tempura crumbs. So much for healthy eating! The udon noodles were on the softer side, and the udon broth was rich due to the seaweed and the huge mass of tempura crumbs. I let the tempura crumbs soak in the broth until they became fluffy and pillowy, since that's how I enjoyed tempura udon as a kid. Unfortunately, since the tempura crumbs were slightly overdone to begin with, things ended up getting really oily by the time I neared the bottom of the udon. That being said, the Tanuki Udon did taste quite good in the beginning.
The couple who ran the restaurant were friendly, although they don't seem to be the most talkative people. The interior, as suggested by the restaurant's name, is neither fancy nor modern, but things were kept clean and orderly. Nori Casual isn't a place for fancy, first-class food. It is a place for decent, affordable Japanese food with a slight homemade touch.