Friday, October 07, 2016

Episode #197: Tokachi

Surrey Northwest, $$ (Moderately Priced)

I don't venture out to Surrey all that often, but this time, it was to have a long-due lunch with Xtrain. I credit Xtrain for training me to write well enough to create this blog. He has perhaps the sharpest eyes out of anyone I know. I would present to him a one-page piece of writing that I had proofread and revised for several hours, and within two seconds, he would be able to find a missing comma smack in the middle of the page. He always loved to give me a hard time. However, we went to Tokachi just to have a good time, and luckily for me, missing commas are not something I need to worry about when I am just eating sushi.

Xtrain knows the Surrey food scene better than I do, so I asked him where to go for sushi in Surrey. He suggested Tokachi, an authentic Japanese restaurant in the heart of Whalley. I have heard many great things about Tokachi's food and service, but I've never visited the restaurant before because I could not gather the courage to walk the two blocks there from Gateway Station. After all, Sherman once tried to visit Tokachi and found that it was cordoned off by police tape due to a shooting. Having someone to dine with put me back to my senses and reminded me that it's okay to walk around in Whalley as long as there is sushi involved.

In contrast to the very worn-down look of the exterior, the interior is actually very nicely designed and maintained. The dining area is very spacious, and there are small tatami rooms in the back for larger groups. Each waitress was dressed in a yukata, which added to the authentic feel. Funny enough, when I whipped out my camera to take a picture of the dining area, all the waitresses swiftly ran into the kitchen to hide from me.

Do I get free sushi if I play a song?

Miso Soup - B+

We each received a Miso Soup to start the meal. With green onion and tofu, this Miso Soup had a strong miso flavour and was served at a nice, hot temperature. The consistency leaned towards the thinner side.

Assorted Sushi

Next, I had the Assorted Sushi combo to test out their various nigiri offerings.

Tuna Roll - B+

The Tuna Roll came in rather large pieces and featured soft, savoury tuna. The sushi rice had sufficient flavour as well.

Sockeye Salmon Nigiri - A-
Tuna Nigiri - A-
Tai Nigiri - A
Hamachi Nigiri - A
Mebachi Tuna Nigiri - B+
Ika Nigiri - A-
Ebi Nigiri - B+

The nigiri turned out to be a treat. While not the best I've encountered, it was very good for the price range. It was around the same level as Sushi by Yuji. Among the best were the soft, buttery, sweet tai (snapper) and the creamy, melty hamachi (yellowtail). I also enjoyed the Ika Nigiri (squid), which was savoury and did not have that slightly sticky texture present in a lot of the ika I've had in the past. Freshness was apparent in every piece.

House Roll - B+

Xtrain is a big fan of salmon, so we got the House Roll, which consisted of steamed prawn, smoked salmon, cucumber, and radish sprouts. It was a unique blend of flavours that worked, and the crunchy, meaty prawn took the spotlight. The cucumber also added to the crunchiness of the roll.

Tuna Gomaae - A-

The Tuna Gomaae was by far the most novel item of the meal. Since the word "Gomaae" was in the name, both of us were expecting a small salad to accompany the tuna, but that was not the case here. (No, that one leaf does not count.) The tuna was covered with a sweet soy sesame sauce that produced a strong, nutty zing. The tuna itself was of very high quality and had an excellent soft and melty texture. 

The service was very polite and friendly. Xtrain remarked to one of the waitresses that I had a big appetite (which is true for the most part), so she asked me if I needed another combo after we had finished all the food on the table. Unfortunately, it was too early in the morning (ahem, I mean afternoon), and my appetite had not really fired up yet. I wish I did have the stomach room though, as the food was consistently well-executed. Tokachi is certainly one of the better Japanese restaurants in the area, especially given the reasonable prices.

Tokachi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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