Continuing with our theme of "the bigger the better," Sean, Patrick, Joanna and I headed over to the Vietnamese-operated Banzai Sushi House for dinner after going to Sushi Ville for lunch and visiting two ice cream places in between. If it weren't for Joanna suggesting that we exercise, we would have basically been eating non-stop. What did we do for exercise? We walked along the Stanley Park Seawall. Now, if you thought that we made it all the way around, you had overly high expectations for us. We walked like 15% of it before we decided that ice cream was more interesting and thus headed back to our car.
By the time we got to Banzai, I believe I was the only one who was actually in the mood for more sushi. Everyone else was either too exhausted and falling asleep or not even close to being hungry yet. However, by virtue of the divide-and-conquer method, we each sort of managed to sample a decent variety of dishes.
House Roll - B-
I learned from Sean that Banzai is the sister restaurant of Samurai and is known for its large portion sizes, but nothing could have prepared me for this. With tuna, salmon, tamago, crab meat, tobiko, and avocado all packed in there, the House Roll was a whopping 4 inches in diameter. Each piece of salmon and tuna inside could have been one legitimate piece of sashimi. I almost never have trouble picking up my sushi, but with this one, the struggle was real. I enjoyed the soft tuna, the creamy avocado and the sweet crab meat, but the sushi rice was quite bland and the salmon was a bit chewy.
Alaska Roll - C+
The Alaska Roll, which was slightly less intimidating in size, came with the same sweet crab meat and the same tough salmon. Without the sweetness from the tamago and the softness of the tuna, the tough salmon was more obvious here than in the House Roll.
Salmon Roll - C+
Spicy Tuna Roll - C
Usually, the quality of the sushi rice is less noticeable in a roll if there is less of it, but here, the rice was packed on like the whipping cream on a Starbucks Frappuccino. It was a little hard to taste the flavour of the salmon in the Salmon Roll, and the Spicy Tuna Roll ended up being almost non-spicy.
Prawn Tempura - B-
For our cooked item, we had the Prawn Tempura, which came with seven juicy prawns that had ample moisture and flavour. Unfortunately, the batter was hard and does not really have a nice crunch.
Unagi Nigiri - B-
Toro Nigiri - B
Ikura Nigiri - B-
The last obstacle I had to surpass was the attack of the jumbo nigiri (which I rearranged in the photo to only show the pieces that I had). If you asked me one thing I would recommend from this restaurant, it would be the toro. The toro was fresh, juicy, and melty. It was one of the best pieces of toro I have had in a while. The unagi, albeit a little fatty, had a nice smoky flavour, and the ikura provided a savoury burst of fish oils.
The service we received was timely and friendly. Our server regularly came to ensure that things were in order. Banzai Sushi House satisfies a certain purpose, and that is to make you full and make your wallet happy at the same time. I'd be hard-pressed to find any other sushi place where I could get full with less than $15. Although I did not have enough stomach room for a full order of sashimi, it seems apparent that sashimi is one of their strengths. From what we tried, the salmon wasn't excellent, but the tuna and toro were both very fresh and enjoyable.