Sunday, April 24, 2016

Episode #164: Hiroba Sushi

Port Coquitlam, $$ (Moderately Priced)

Port Coquitlam is a delightful place to visit, but it is basically a Bermuda Triangle if you are travelling by bus. The bus routes in Port Coquitlam look like something I would get if I spammed the buttons on my graphing calculator in one of the obscure modes. As much as I enjoy and survive on Translink's services, something might need to be fixed if an "intelligent" university student like me cannot figure out what's going on. That being said, after a few eons of Raymond's Wrong Way Adventures, I managed to land myself at Hiroba Sushi.

Other than the handful of bright, colourful signs advertising the restaurant's special deals, the restaurant has one of the most elegant settings for any Port Coquitlam sushi restaurant. Hiroba Sushi is Korean-operated, and the extensive menu features many special rolls, including Aburi rolls.

(specials schedule - click to enlarge)

They also have a 20% discount on a particular category of items every day of the week. I came on a Monday and was pleased to see that the discount was on my favourite category: fancy nigiri. It's always nice when a restaurant cares about my personal preferences.

Cod Tempura - B

On the list of new menu additions was the Cod Tempura. Although the menu said there would be six pieces, I only received four. I guess the dipping and the paper lining also count as pieces. The cod had a sufficiently soft texture and a nice aromatic flavour when coupled with the creamy dill dipping, while the batter was slightly dry and overdone. Overall, it wasn't the best fried fish that I have come across, but it was decent.

Toro Nigiri - B+
Sockeye Salmon Nigiri - B+
Unagi Nigiri - B
Aburi Salmon Nigiri - B+

The Toro Nigiri had a rich flavour and a melty texture, and it would be excellent if there was more of the toro to accompany the rice. The Sockeye Salmon Nigiri was fresh with a pleasant smooth texture, while the Unagi Nigiri was not particularly soft and a bit dry. The Aburi Salmon Nigiri was creamy and accompanied by some pesto purée. It would be nice if the sushi rice had slightly more flavour.

Tuna Aburi Roll - B+

Next, the Tuna Aburi Roll consisted of cucumber, avocado, tuna, seared tuna, ponzu sauce, and purée. The cheese-flavoured purée was delectable and accented the flavours of the roll eloquently. I also enjoyed the interplay between the soft tuna inside the roll and the slightly rougher smoked tuna outside the roll, though I would have liked more of a smoky flavour from the smoked tuna. The ponzu sauce, the sliced daikon, and the red onion contributed a good amount of tanginess to the roll.

Yakitori - B-

The lowlight of my meal happened to be the Yakitori. It was overdone and therefore, the chicken was tougher than expected. However, the leeks were still juicy, and the teriyaki sauce was applied appropriately.

Flower Nigiri - A-

The food came in rather small portions, so I was still not full after my initial order. Since discounts are one of life's greatest pleasures, I decided to indulge in the fanciest piece of nigiri they had: the Flower Nigiri. Shaped like a luscious rose with a gorgeous white liquid coming out of it, the Flower Nigiri consisted of chopped scallop, salmon, and sushi rice. The sweet scallop was dressed with a chowder-like sweet creamy sauce, and the Atlantic salmon was seared. There was more of a smoky flavour here than in either the Aburi Salmon Nigiri or the Tuna Aburi Roll. 

The service was friendly and complemented the stylish atmosphere inside the restaurant. While there were no very spectacular dishes, the quality of the food was quite consistent. The prices are not especially cheap, and the smaller portions mean that you may need to spend more here than in other nearby sushi restaurants. Once out of the restaurant, I found myself on another quest to find the right bus stop, but this time, the difficulty level was set to "Mission Impossible" because I simultaneously had to escape from a lady who was loudly claiming that the entire sidewalk was hers and that no one else belonged on it. I suppose this is what happens when people don't eat enough sushi.

Hiroba Sushi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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