Ever since Whitney and Ken moved out from Richmond, we had not been able to meet up as much as we did. A couple of weeks ago they called saying that they would be in town and are looking for the best All-You-Can-Eat (AYCE) sushi. We interpret BEST as in good, cheap and has sashimi. Our favourite remains with Ninkazu in Richmond but since we had blogged about that place before we suggest the one place high on our list of To-Try … Kingsway Sushi.
Kingsway Sushi is easy to find. It is located at the junction of Kingsway and Boundary, just across the street from the unmistakable shoe-shaped building of Telus. Pay parking is available at the basement parking of the building where Kingsway Sushi is located.
It was quite expensive if you ask me. Pay parking is about $2 per hour but Kingsway will reimburse the parking for the 1st hour only. I paid for $4 for two hours and then I realized it was written quite boldly that weekend parking is free. I would not have mind as much until this middle age lady said in such loud voice to her husband that “Parking is free” … THREE times. Her thunderous voice echoed throughout the basement parking area. [Oooi … honey, you don’t have to be so smug and you are embarrassing me in public!!]
We had never been to Kingsway Sushi before.
We were quite surprised how large this place is and how bright it is here. Actually we were expecting this place to be packed on a Saturday afternoon but they did not fill the place. We were wondering if people are beginning to eat out less because of all the economic gloom from the news these days.
Whitney called saying that they were going to be a bit late … “a bit” as in 30 minutes. I was initially kind of worried that we will get harassed because we did not have the entire party there before we got seated. I often hear that these places make money from turning the tables fast and they show their annoyance when we hog a table and start later than normal.
No, they were quite pleasant about it (at that time) when we told them the entire party is going to be late. I think it was because it was still early and they had just started business. They even suggested that we get some little appetizers as starters while waiting. We like that.
Miso soup is like a must as a starter in AYCE Sushi. Tell me now … they serve Miso Soup in a bowl and without a soup spoon. I need someone who is familiar help confirm this. The Japanese drinks Miso Soup direct from the bowl and they are supposed to slurp it down as loudly as possible … is that right?
To the Chinese drinking soup direct from the bowl (not using the soup spoon) is uncouth. Well, at least that was what my mum warned me not to do when I was young.
For the starters, we also had Edamame. It is like young soybean.
I had never quite like beans in general but found that I ate most of it from the leftover pods I had on my plate.
I think the above is called Ebi Sunomono (shrimp salad?). A little sourish and vinegarish with cold noodles in it.
They have two menus available for lunch. One menu was with Sushi ($11.95) and the other one without sushi is $9.95. We went ahead to get the one with Sushi because after all that’s what the kids were looking for.
Before we placed our order, we decided on a strategy to maximize on the meal. So the game plan is simple, there will be a four phase plan of attack:
- Phase 1 (Appetizer): Start with the stuff on the appetizer section (which we just had)
- Phase 2 (Try Everything Once): Get ONE of every item enough for everyone (trick is not to get too greedy on any one item) and note down what everyone like more of. It is handy getting one of their paper takeout menu to mark down what each liked.
- Phase 3 (Gorge on “Likes”): Place order after order of what we like until we are almost full. It is important to stress on the word “almost full” because you want to leave room for Phase 4. 95% full is a good yardstick. This is the phase you begin to sit back and loosen your belt. This is also the phase where the waiters will start getting annoyed with you and do everything they can to make you leave — just ignore them.
- Phase 4 (Finale): This is the phase you will feel really sick and swear that you will never ever do AYCE again. But as a true foodie, you must soldier on to defend the honor of the spirit of AYCE. This is where you make one last attempt to stuff yourself sick … at least with the desserts.
Sashimi was extra but at least they have it.
Start of Phase 2 (Try Everything Once). We got two orders of Sashimi’s. It was just OK. It was not large slices but at least it is not paper thin if you know what I mean. These all went in no time.
The Sushis was the most second most important items on our Phase 2 game plan. The Sushi were respectable. Respectable in that they have nice big slices of fish. So what did we have?
- Kani Sushi (Imitation Crab)
- Saba Sushi (Mackerel)
- Tuna Sushi
- Salmon Sushi
- Tai Sushi (don’t know which is which)
- Inari Sushi (also don’t know which is which)
Their Deep Fried Scallop is pretty good. We ended up ordering a lot of these.
Suanne digs the Salmon Head. I think they call this the BBQ Salmon Head Shioyaki. She’s good at picking up the morsels of flesh from this. I like it too but it’s too much work.
The Chicken Karaage was awesome. Ken remarked why is it that he can never make it like this at home. Indeed … why? I posed that same question to Suanne (nudge, nudge, wink, wink).
Ken loves this too … it is called Deep Fried Shrimp Ball. Everyone likes it but not as much as Ken. This is because I noticed he keeps on ordering plates after plates of this.
We ordered all the rolls they have on the menu … every single one of them. There are twelve types on the menu and they gave us only eight types. We said “all” rolls. I think they know that with all the food we ordered, we would not have noticed. But we’re professional foodies … we know such things. I let it slide and not make a fuss about it because we can hardly finish what we had ordered already.
I think this is the vegetable tempura roll. Hmmm … did not like it … did not like the texture.
The local BC Roll was, on the other hand, pretty good … juicy without the grease you sometimes get from the grilled salmon.
The above is the Alaska Roll which has crab, salmon and vegetable. The crab is not real crab right? Next to it, the brownish one, I think is Kimchi Beef Roll.
Anything that is predominantly green is not touched by the boys. No siree … no threats or bribery will ever make them touch them. Perhaps next time we should just order “all rolls that are not green in color”.
The Deep Fried Smelt is very disappointing … tasteless, under fried and tasted somewhat “unfresh” (don’t think it’s stale, hence “unfresh”).
There are two types of motoyaki’s … the above is the oyster motoyaki. Suanne was the only one who likes this, a lot, if I may add. She makes it at home too and if you want the recipe, here is the link for the Oyster Motoyaki and Salmon Motoyaki recipe.
The other Motoyaki is not that nice. It is called Seafood Motoyaki and tasted like curried salmon motoyaki … like moto-yucky.
Ah … Agedashi Tofu … we like, so light. What is the white thingy they used for garnish? Is that daikon?
Surprisingly the boys shunned the Fried Rice. The Fried Rice is actually very good but came in tiny portions … like 3 spoonfuls only.
The Fried Wonton is more like Fried Wonton Skin. They are soft and soggy … I don’t recommend this at all.
The Vegetable Tempura is colorful but we’re no fan of vegetable tempura … but …
… we like the Yam tempura better. It’s because Yam is sweet.
The Deep Fried Calamari (Ika Karaage) is just so, so. Quite tasteless really.
Rounding up Phase 2 is the BBQ Chicken Wings. There are still little feather “stem” on some part of the wings. Yuck … these things turns me off.
Phase 3 (Gorge on “Likes”) were dominated by sushi and more sushi.
Hey … one tip, you gotta to be thick skin eating at these AYCE. I really think it’s part of the restaurant’s wait staff training to give you hint that “enough for you”. That’s when the smiles are gone, no more eye contact and they come by taking away dishing the very instant the plate is empty. It is intrusive and rude to me really.
Then they also asked for the menu back!!! No problem … we just said we still need it. Alright … you thick skin, I think skin too.
There is only one dessert item … mango pudding. They were excellent … we liked it so much that we actually had this ordered four (or was it five?) rounds.
Honest … we liked it and that is the ONLY reason why we ordered so many rounds. They must have thought we were playing games with them that they don’t even give the spoons with the mango pudding. We did not push our luck and just use the “tainted” spoons we used for the greasy food.
The bill came up to around $100. That is for the seven of us. It was not too bad considering the amount of food we had.
BTW, we found out that Kingsway Sushi is the same people behind Richmond Sushi, Top Gun Sushi in New West, Top Gun Hot Pot and Garden City Hot Pot. So this means that this is really a Chinese establishment and not really Japanese. Below is the scans of the menu we collected from Kingsway Sushi. Click on it for larger version.