A long time ago, in the very beginnings of my quest to seek the finest seared sushi in Greater Vancouver, I stumbled upon Kita Sushi and noted it for its tasty, well-crafted seared sushi. Its Scallop Tataki Roll, being heavenly and very affordable, resonated in my mind for several years. With only a short lunch break (3 hours), I decided to venture back to Kita Sushi and see if the seared sushi had withstood the test of time.
Kita Sushi is Korean-operated and is not a full-service restaurant. Many customers order takeout, but if you dine in, you would order and pay at the front and then wait for them to bring the food to your table. Ordering at the front has always been one of my biggest life challenges. First of all, I take so long to order that the cashier has to frantically find ways to relieve the awkward moments that ensue. Second, my vision is terrible, and actually being able to see the menu items on the board happens about as often as me successfully convincing myself to commit one of the eight deadly sins: the sin of not eating sushi for a week. Of course, I avoided all of the above by taking one of their plastic menus to my table.
Miso Soup - B+
I ordered an Unagi Don, which comes with a Miso Soup with some seaweed and copious amounts of green onion. It had a thin consistency, but it was not too salty.
Unagi Don - A
This was surprisingly good! Presented in a beautiful bucket thingy, the unagi was freshly seared, and I could hear and smell the blowtorching as I was waiting for my food. The unagi was graced with an excellent grilled flavour, and the unagi was very soft with a bit of fattiness, which made it all the more juicy. The steamed rice was above average, and the unagi sauce brought a savoury flavour to the rice. I will also add that due to the large portion size, this was quite a filling dish.
Salmon Sashimi - A
Tai Sashimi - B-
Tuna Sashimi - A-
Next, I had the Appetizer Sashimi, which came with two pieces of salmon, one piece of tai, and two pieces of tuna. The Salmon Sashimi tasted very fresh and had a mouthwatering creamy, buttery flavour. As a bonus, it was also cut to exactly the right thickness. The Tai Sashimi did not have a smooth texture and was weak in flavour. The Tuna Sashimi, on the other hand, was well-balanced in terms of flavour and did not exhibit any fishiness.
Seaweed Gunkan - B+
Aburi Saba Nigiri - B-
Aburi Toro Nigiri - C+
Of course, I decided to sample some of their nigiri sushi, and the sushi rice erred on the dry side and was rather mediocre. I always try to resist having wakame (seaweed) because the strands keep getting stuck between my teeth, but evidently, resistance is not one of my virtues. The Seaweed Gunkan came with lots of seaweed and was not tough to chew. The Aburi Saba Nigiri was not too salty, but it did not really have any seared flavour, nor was it soft. There was also too much rice underneath. The Aburi Toro Nigiri was overdone, although the marinade provided some sweetness to the weak flavour of the toro.
Scallop Tataki Roll - B-
At last, I had the Scallop Tataki Roll, which consisted of seared scallop on top of a California roll. The scallop was creamy with a soft texture, but other than that, it was not very reminiscent of what I remembered it to be. The sushi rice was again mediocre, and some of the pieces were rice-heavy. The sweet imitation crab was flavourful but overpowered the weak seared taste of the scallop. The hot sauce, which greatly livened up the flavour, was daintily applied to only a few of the pieces. It was as if they couldn't get the sauce out of the bottle after a few drips and just gave up.
There were a number of enjoyable items during my visit, especially the Unagi Don and the fresh sashimi, but it appears that sushi rice is one of their weaknesses. The service consisted only of bringing to you your food and your eating utensils, which I was fine with considering that this is not a full-service restaurant. The male cashier at the front was friendly, so after finishing my food, I went up to the counter to deposit some coins into the tip jar. Imagine my frustration when all the larger-valued coins went in the coin slot in the blink of an eye, and this one nickel in my pile just refused to go in. Next, imagine the awkwardness as the cashier watched me struggle to get that measly nickel into the jar. In the end, I just bolted out the door...