Choosing a restaurant to try out in the second week of Taste of Yaletown 2015 wasn't a difficult task, as sushi was the only sensible choice. After all, if I chose anything else, I would neither be able to blog about it nor satisfy my sushi needs. Having tried Bistro Sakana last time, I decided to try the Chinese-operated Sushi Maro, which was just a few doors over to the left.
Sushi Maro is slightly less fancy than Bistro Sakana, but the prices are lower as well. When I entered the restaurant, I was surrounded by the fragrance of a freshly cleaned washroom. Was someone using bleach to clean up a booboo on the kitchen floor? Fortunately, the washrooms themselves smelled better, and it did not take too long for the scent of bleach to dissipate. I began to think about the enticing Aburi sushi that was featured in my Taste of Yaletown dinner instead. Being a voracious eater, I also incessantly browsed the menu to see if there was an interesting dish I could order to spice up my dinner.
Miso Soup - B-
The first item to arrive was a complimentary Miso Soup (it wasn't listed as part of the Taste of Yaletown dinner), and it was a surprising miss. It was very hot and contained green onion and tofu. There was an obvious lack of miso paste, so the soup tasted quite watery.
Rainbow Roll - A-
Aburi Salmon Sushi - A-
Aburi Tuna Sushi - B+
Aburi Scallop Sushi - A
Aburi Toro Sushi - B
Aburi Beef Sushi - A-
Next came the Rainbow Roll and the Chef's Selection Aburi Sushi, both of which were many leagues better than the Miso Soup. The Rainbow Roll, with its zesty bits of onion and chili spice, provided a refreshing harmony of flavours. The real crab meat inside provided a soft texture and a richer flavour, and the fish on top were fresh, albeit sliced a bit thin.
The Chef's Selection Aburi Sushi was generally well-dressed, and the sushi rice was not packed too tightly. The salmon was soft and had a nice, savoury flavour. The tuna and toro were a bit overdone and lacked juiciness. The scallop was sufficiently soft, and the sprinkles of black pepper on top complemented the sweetness of the scallop perfectly. The beef was a touch chewy in places, but it was juicy and came in a generous portion.
Sashimi Salad - A-
Grill Chicken - A
Chili Mayo Ebi - A
The Sashimi Salad came with sockeye salmon (A-), tako (A), and tuna (A). I especially enjoyed the tuna for its very soft, melty texture, and the seafood fared well when paired with the yuzu sauce. However, there was a bit too much sauce at the bottom, which overwhelmed parts of the salad. To the right, the cooked food did not disappoint, as expected of a Chinese-operated restaurant. The Grill Chicken had a smooth texture and a thin crispy layer of skin, and was very tender and juicy. The Chili Ebi Mayo came with large meaty prawns, and the drizzle of spicy mayonnaise was accented by the delicious herbs and spices in the batter.
Unagi Age Dashi Tofu - A
The dish I ended up ordering separately was the Unagi Age Dashi Tofu. I love unagi tempura and kind of expected the unagi to be fused with the Agedashi Tofu, but it just came a separate part of the dish. Nonetheless, both parts of the dish were executed brilliantly. The Agedashi Tofu was cut into a thinner, flatter shape, which allowed it to absorb more of the savoury flavour of the sauce. The unagi came in three large, soft pieces and paired well with the sesame sprinkles and the small helping of wakame (seaweed) underneath.
Deep Fried Matcha Ice Cream - C+
Towards the end of my dinner, the three waitresses and one waiter were overwhelmed by a full house of customers, leading to an awkward 30-minute gap between the Unagi Age Dashi Tofu and the dessert. Things would have been much better if there was Shaw Open. The matcha ice cream had a sweet green tea flavour, but the cake-like deep-fried breading was a little hard to break down. I accidentally launched a substantial amount of ice cream onto my nose while trying to eat it. Also, the warm breading accelerated the melting of the ice cream and quickly cancelled out its matcha flavour.
The service was good at the beginning, but deteriorated substantially when the restaurant became packed. Nonetheless, they took the effort to make sure that my tea was always refilled in a timely manner. Food-wise, I found many of the dishes to be quite sauce-heavy (sometimes a little too much so), but my opinion on sauces is "better too much than too little." Overall, I thought that the quality of the food was fair for the price, and I wouldn't mind returning to try more of their special rolls in the future.