Tamsen and I were back at it with the escape games, and this time, we planned to solve multiple escape rooms back to back. Of course, we needed our fuel. Now, Tamsen likes bubble tea just as much as I like sushi, so somehow, we had to fit an epic sushi adventure and bubble tea all into our stomachs in one go. It was a miracle that I did not collapse on the floor with an epic food coma. Hopefully, I burned off at least 5,000 calories with each escape game.
Applause Japanese Restaurant is a moderately sized sushi restaurant located in a small row of stores near the south end of Oak Street. It's not hard to find, but neither is it easy to find. I had to keep my face glued to the window while riding the 17 bus in order to not miss it, and... well... Tamsen just walked the wrong way when trying to get to the restaurant. I think I got a decent suntan by the time he arrived.
Inside, we found that it was moderately busy on a weekday for lunch. There is a good variety of items on the menu, including some appetizers that were not commonplace dishes. The servers were welcoming and friendly, although they were a little forgetful at times. When I wanted a spoon for my Miso Soup, I had to ask three separate times before successfully receiving said spoon. As Tamsen remarked, "the third time's the charm."
Miso Soup - A-
The Miso Soup, featuring seaweed, green onion, and tofu, featured well-balanced flavours. The consistency was slightly on the thinner side.
Sockeye Salmon Sashimi - B+
Tuna Sashimi - B
The cutting on the Appetizer Sashimi was a little flawed, and many of the pieces had ragged edges. The sockeye salmon tasted fresh, but the texture was not especially smooth. Freshness was not as apparent in the Tuna Sashimi. On the plus side, the sashimi came in rather generous slices.
Scallop Sushi Combo
Next, Tamsen had the Scallop Sushi Combo, which came with a House Salad, a Yasai Croquette (vegetable croquette), three pieces of nigiri (salmon, tai, tuna), and a Chopped Scallop Roll. Since I had ordered my own nigiri, I tried some of everything besides the nigiri.
House Salad - B+
The House Salad was featured mainly lettuce and tomato and was quite refreshing. It came with a tangy, citrusy vinaigrette and had ample moisture.
Yasai Croquette - A
The highlight of our meal was the Yasai Croquette, which contained corn, peas, and carrot. The crispy panko batter had just the right amount of crunch and was not hard. The filling inside was very soft and savoury and was an excellent contrast to the crispy exterior.
Chopped Scallop Roll - B+
The Chopped Scallop Roll was also largely successful. The mayonnaise brought the flavours together well, and the sesame seeds accentuated the roll nicely. If anything, the roll would be better with a little less rice.
Saba Nigiri - C-
Unagi Nigiri - B
Unfortunately, the Saba Nigiri was quite disgusting. The saba was all mushy and tasted like it had been through a hurricane and then left to lie in a puddle for days. Not even the zing from the green onion and ginger was able to remotely save it. The Unagi Nigiri fared better with some soft unagi and sweet unagi sauce. There was still an overage of rice, and the rice was packed too tightly.
Enoki Gyuu Maki - A-
The Enoki Gyuu Maki (enoki mushrooms wrapped in beef) was a well-executed appetizer that came with savoury, teriyaki-like beef. The sesame seeds did wonders to the maki. The beef was not tough, and the enoki mushrooms absorbed the teriyaki flavour nicely.
Yakitori - B
Our other cooked appetizer, the Yakitori (BBQ chicken skewers), came with a generous amount of flavourful, tender chicken. However, the chicken ended up a little soggy.
Red Dragon Roll - B-
By the time we were both starting to feel full (uh oh), the Red Dragon Roll came. This roll consisted of salmon, avocado, and shrimp tempura. We both thought the roll was a little pricey at $9.25 for 5 pieces, but at least each piece was quite large. The sockeye salmon on top was tasty, but some of the ingredients inside were a little soggy. The tempura batter was also a little harder than expected.
The service remained prompt and friendly throughout our meal. The food was above average compared to other sushi restaurants in the area, though the consistency can be improved. Overall, we enjoyed our visit largely due to the unique, well-executed appetizers.