On another one of Vancouver's rare non-rainy days, I ventured over to Lonsdale Ave. in North Vancouver to look for a new restaurant to try. That's right—I've become too lazy to do any online research on sushi restaurants before actually visiting them. I found myself a nice large restaurant to dine at on 19th St., but taking a photo of the restaurant's exterior was quite challenging due to the low angle of the sun. I tried so many different shots and angles that a few pedestrians and drivers were looking at me weirdly. Allow me to show you my best attempt:
As indicated by the exterior, the restaurant has a very spacious dining area. In fact, they had so much room that they left a significant area of the restaurant undecorated and unused. I also noticed that the dining area was quite echoey, which made the screaming baby behind me sound like a frightening horror movie. However, I don't really mind a broken eardrum and a couple of heart attacks as long as the sushi is good. Besides that, the seating was comfortable and appeared to be clean.
Miso Soup - B+
I did my usual thing and went for the priciest roll and the biggest bento box (the Sashimi Bento). The Miso Soup that came with the bento had a strong seaweed flavour and a light consistency. It contained seaweed and tofu and was not too salty.
With six slices of sashimi, half a California roll, tempura, nigiri, chicken teriyaki, and a salad, this was indeed one large bento box.
Tuna Sashimi - A-
Salmon Sashimi - A
California Roll (half order) - B
Both of types of sashimi were very fresh and generally cut to the right thickness, though the knife skills could be a bit more precise. The salmon was excellent and had a creamy buttery flavour, while the tuna had an appealing soft texture. The California Roll was rather large but thinly sliced. It was rice-heavy, but at least the rice was not mushy. Overall, it tasted quite standard fare.
Tempura - B+
The tempura came with five pieces: two prawns and one piece each of zucchini, carrot, and sweet potato. The batter was quite thick, which somewhat inhibited the flavour of the underlying ingredients, but it was crispy and not hard. The prawns were soft and juicy, and the vegetable tempura came with sufficient moisture.
Tuna Nigiri - B+
Salmon Nigiri - B+
The nigiri exhibited a decent fish-to-rice ratio, but the rice could have been more flavourful. Like the Tuna and Salmon Sashimi above, the tuna and salmon here were also fresh, and the salmon came in quite a generous cut.
Chicken Teriyaki - B-
The chicken was tender and dressed with a good amount of teriyaki sauce, but the skin was quite soggy and mushy. However, the bean sprouts underneath were savoury and above average.
Salad - B+
The lettuce-based salad was amply dressed with a tangy Japanese salad vinaigrette. It was quite watery at the bottom, though the "water" did have a nice citrusy flavour.
Caterpillar Roll - C+
I am aware that I tend to order a lot of Dragon Rolls, but how can I resist the savoury, smoky flavour of deliciously grilled unagi? Wanting to switch things up but not forgo the unagi, I went for the Caterpillar Roll ($9.50), which consisted of tempura unagi, avocado, cucumber, and unagi sauce. Unfortunately, it was rather disappointing. It was rice-heavy, and yes, the rice was lacking in flavour once again. It was also hard to taste the unagi under all that rice. The saving grace was that the avocado on top was quite melty and flavourful.
Seared Tuna Sushi - A
A very large bento and the most expensive roll on the menu didn't exactly suffice, so I also tried the Seared Tuna Sushi. Lucky for me, this was a hit. The tuna was very juicy and soft and exhibited a light but discernible smoky flavour. The grated daikon with ponzu and the green onion on top added a pleasant, unique zing to the seared sushi.
The service was satisfactory, but it was a bit sparse. They accidentally brought out my bill by mistake way before I finished eating. Food-wise, their biggest strength is the freshness of their raw fish, while the sushi rice appears to be a weakness. However, the prices were reasonable and the portions were quite generous, so I would say that this adventure was worth the obliteration of my poor ears.