Despite the fact that I publish many of my posts at 4 or 5 in the morning, I have never actually pulled an all-nighter before, up until recently. Feeling the need for a break after my final exams, I decided to take two days off (to have sushi, of course) before starting to mark the final reports for the class I TA at SFU. Little did I know that this would result in me having to sleep only an hour and a half on one day and pull an all-nighter the next in order to get everything done before the deadline. Rather than reward myself with sleep for accomplishing this "impressive" feat, I decided to venture as far as I possibly could for some sushi, because that was totally what I needed. That's right—I went all the way to Aldergrove just for sushi.
As luck would have it, it was bitterly cold and very, very windy in Aldergrove. Although Benkey Sushi is just an 8-minute walk from the nearest Translink stop, that walk took me almost an hour because I constantly had to slip into shops and pretend to be a customer in order to keep myself from turning into a human icicle. By the time I got to the restaurant, my eyes were hurting from the cold, my nose transformed into a faucet, and I couldn't feel my hands anymore. Perhaps gloves would have helped. I sat at a table, let myself be a shivering train wreck for a few minutes, and enjoyed the elegant design of the dining area before mulling over what to order.
Miso Soup - B+
I ordered the Sashimi Set B, which came with a miso soup. The soup was rich both in flavour and in salt. It was garnished with green onion and tofu and had a good consistency.
Sashimi Set B
The portion sizes for the Sashimi Set B were quite a bit bigger than I had imagined. Just this would be a filling meal for your standard sane person.
Tuna Sashimi - B-
Salmon Sashimi - B
The Tuna Sashimi came in neat cuts and had a soft texture, but there was also a slight fishy aftertaste. The Salmon Sashimi was weak in flavour, albeit with a nice smooth texture and decent-sized cuts. Overall, the sashimi was serviceable (and probably good for the area), but not as fresh as what you would find in restaurants closer to the coastline.
Beef Teriyaki - B+
The Beef Teriyaki was adequately dressed with teriyaki sauce, which provided the stir-fry veggies underneath with enough flavour. The beef was quite tender, although not the most tender I've had.
Tempura - B+
The Tempura came with an assortment of green bean, prawn, kabocha, yam, and sweet potato. The batter was crispy and just the right thickness in virtually all the pieces. The prawn was juicy, and most of the vegetables had enough moisture too.
Salad - B+
The Sashimi Set B concluded with the Salad, which was lettuce-based and came with lots of tangy vinaigrette. The tanginess was well-balanced and didn't overwhelm the salad.
Hot Night Roll - B+
To relieve myself from the cold, I went for the Hot Night Roll, which consisted of crab meat, cucumber, avocado, shrimp tempura, spicy tuna, crispy powder and spicy sauce. When the roll arrived, I learned that "Hot Night" doesn't mean that the roll comes hot. I suppose "hot" refers to spicy here, and the roll was moderately spicy thanks to a mixture of chili sauce and spicy mayonnaise. The crispy powder on top was essentially chopped up yam fries. The prawn tempura inside was quite savoury, and everything worked well together.
Salmon Flower - B
My final dish was the Salmon Flower, which came with salmon, chopped scallop, rice, avocado, and tobiko on top. The salmon and chopped scallop were both pleasantly sweet and buttery. While the toppings were tasty, the sushi rice was completely bland. Did they forget to put the vinegar in or something?
The service was friendly and welcoming during my visit. I found the food above average compared to other Japanese restaurants in Langley. Even compared to Japanese restaurants in Vancouver city proper, Benkey Sushi would not fare poorly. The prices were quite reasonable too. After finishing all the food, I felt just right and was ready to explore the rest of Aldergrove in the face of the fierce winds once again.