I gotta listen better to chowtimes readers.
Like I said in the earlier post, we get the best recommendations for good food from our readers. This is another one.
You see, we received two strong recommendations on Sakura Sushi and did not take it seriously.
- From Kenrick who commented on 25-Jan-2010: “If you haven’t already, I would also suggest you try out Sakura Sushi across the strip next to Bob’s Submarine shop. It is owned and run by a small Japanese team and the chef there prepares fresh and delicious sushi (I believe his name is Yoshi). I go there for lunch often and they never fail to deliver. They have a crispy panko dynamite roll which I love and is quite unique. I will say their portions are not big, but they are filling, and focus on the simplicity and taste/texture rather than flash.”
- From Vina who sent us an email on 07-Aug-2010 saying: “just wanted to let you know about sakura sushi in the staples strip mall on no.3 road in richmond. it’s probably my favorite sushi restaurant despite it’s small size and unpretentious interior because of its great service, good pricing and fresh sashimi. i would personally recommend the seaweed salad and ‘what the hell’ roll that has unagi on top of a salmon and avacado roll. all the salmon that it serves is only wild alaskan salmon which is great because it is much healthier than the usual farmed pink salmon. give it a go one day!”
Two weeks ago, I was lazy to go out for dinner. As you probably know, Suanne NEVER cooks on the weekend. I have my day off work and so she said she MUST have her day off too. So we had to eat out. I decided that we should just go to one that is closest to home and have a quick dinner. Moreover, the boys would definitely say yes to sushi.
I had little expectations really. Firstly the name Sakura Sushi sounded so unimaginative. Secondly, for a Japanese restaurant located in Brighouse Square I had my doubts that it is Japanese owned. Thirdly, the store front let me think how small it was. Fourthly, the sign is in bright red and yellow which makes me really think it is Chinese owned.
The place is small and simple. It is so small that counting the number of seats is easy … 1, 2, 3 … 11, 12, 13. That’s it.
Sakura Sushi is most definitely Japanese owned. The waitress is Japanese who was very polite and friendly and spoke English with a very heavy Japanese accent. Even though we were the first one there the waitress informed us that they are very busy and will take some time for our order to come. It seems like its a small operation … there is only the chef and the waitress that we saw the whole time. I think they were busy because of take away orders. We were not in a rush or what, so it was not an issue for us.
Their special is pasted on the wall. I was quite drawn to the Unagi Tamago Roll which has an extra line that say “please try this without soy sauce because it’s tasty!” The words “without soy sauce” was underlined and printed in red — so it must be darn tasty.
Sold! That is what I had.
The Unagi Tamago Roll costs $4 for six pieces. Since we had a coupon printed from their website, it was $1 off. So, it is $3. Not bad.
No wonder it said no soy sauce. It is because they already have sauce (teriyaki?) on it. It was quite good but nothing outstanding if you ask me.
Oh yeah, the tamago in the picture looks like avocado doesn’t it? It is made of eggs. It is just that it is compact and cut so smoothly and the greenish outline seems to make it looks ike avocado. Suanne and I debated about this for a long time and was wondering if we forgot or what.
We love the Deep Fried Soft Shell Crab. Delightfully looking isn’t it? This is $7.75.
The meat is simply fantastic … soft. The shell is so soft too that you just … eat the whole thing like there is no shell.
It came with a sauce but we did not like the sauce. It was too salty and overwhelms the delicate taste of the crab. Instead we used the lighter, sweeter tempura dip … much better.
The one above is called the Crispy Panko Dynamite Roll ($3.81). This is lovely. The deep fried prawns by itself is super crispy and flavorful. Nanzaro said that Dynamite Roll must be made like this. Yeah, I agree … and the tail must be made sticking out like that too.
Then we also had the Poke (pronounced as “por-keh” OK?) which costs $5.
This is more Hawaiian than it is Japanese really. I like this. It is smooth and creamy tasting. The cubed tuna which was marinated with soy sauce complements well with the avocado.
Suanne must have cooked food. She had not accepted raw food yet … maybe never. I told her that she cannot be a real foodie unless she eats raw stuff like Sashimi and Nigiri. She ignores me. What does a man need to do to have respect from his wife? Huh? LOL!
So Miss Suanne ordered the Tempura which is about the only agreeable thing for her on the menu. Well, Sakura Sushi has a limited Udon and Rice Bowl selection on the menu but she did not want that because it makes lousy blog materials. So it was Tempura … the six piece Mixed Tempura which costs $4.25.
There are asparagus, prawns, yam and zucchini.
The menu said six pieces but it came with 11 pieces. We did not ask why. We felt like the IKEA “Start the car! Start the car!” commercial. LOL!
We also ordered some normal rolls — the California Rolls ($3.95) …
… and the Salmon Roll ($2.50). They told us that they uses wild salmon for this.
The rolls are pretty small considering I am speaking from Richmond which is home to two sushi joints (Banzai and Jumbo) which serves ridiculously monstrous sushis.
The bill was not too bad; just under $30 before tips.
You should check their website which they keep up to date with specials and coupons. It is printed on the receipt above.
Remember to also get their Sakura Card.
It is good to know there is such a good Japanese sushi restaurant in Richmond. The recommendations from Kenrick and Vina is great. We would not have tried Sakura Sushi if not for them.
Here is their menu:
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Thanks for this review, Ben. Certainly sounds like one of the better ones out there, and not in the same vein as those “quantity-over-quality” Jumbo Sushi/Samurai Sushi places. Definitely one to note for my back pocket.
Have you ever been to Ajisai in Kerrisdale (in alley/walkway just north of the London Drugs). Well worth exploring them, and discover their uniqueness (which I won’t divulge here). Now I got you curious ………
I can vouch for Ajisai one of my favorites. I can also relate to the wife that does not eat raw anything… sigh Oh well more for me!
Certainly looks fantastic! The thought of eel and tamago already sounds like a wonderful combo to me :). Haven’t seen poke with avocado so far yet though. Those sashimi chunks seem huge!
wow, i like their menu. some original rolls… i want to try the shitake and avacado + papaya roll. yum!!
Hey Ben! I’m glad you tried it out! They always seem to give extra tempura so good to see it applied to you as well haha.
My favorite rolls there are the crispy panko dynamite, negitoro, and chopped scallop.
Sorry to see you didn’t enjoy some of the sauces but I agree sometimes too much saltiness can ruin a delicate taste.
We also frequent this sushi joint. It’s actually good, cheap and authentic. They also include GST in their prices. I wonder what will happen when the HST comes to town.
Wonderful review, like usual.
I only have one problem though.. I have finished reading all your restaurant reviews from 2006 to this one.
what should I do nowww… there’s no restaurant review even half as good as Chowtimes’!
Looks great, Ben! Hopefully the gazillion tourists coming to town in the next few weeks will read your review before venturing to the many disappointing sushi places in town.
The food looks great there. I am definitely going to sample their menu. Ajisai in Kerrisdale is very good; fresh sashimi. It is definitely worth a try.
Third Ajisai recommendation! There is no way I could ignore this recommendation now. LOL! LotusRapper, what is the uniqueness you are talking about? I promise I will go check it out but you need to tell me what it is.
OK Ben, I’ll let you in on Ajisai’s mystery. Let’s take a little trip back in time ….. way back in time …..
Hi LotusRapper: That was so long ago. I almost forgot about tasteof604 and vaneats. It was just last week when I wrote to rtanglao asking if vaneats is going to make a comeback. We miss him and Barb.
Yeah, sorry Ben, I’m not exactly monogamous with Chowtimes, LOL !!
I think Roland has VanEats only on Twitter now, his website is now down.
Taste-of-604 and Dinehere are easy directories for restaurants’ quick snapshot impressions.
Unagi at a buck fifty? Sold!
Personally, as long as it isn’t the usual Samurai/Sushi King/Banzai chains, I’m usually okay with it. Those places try too much for quantity and never quality with those roles that are bigger than my forearm. Maybe if I’m drunk at 3am and have the munchies but otherwise, I’m never going to those again. Glad to here there are still some rather authentic places in the city to get sushi.
What the…? Suanne…no raw food?! Raw is the only real way to enjoy the real flavor of anything. I’m the complete opposite…I will not eat any cooked sushi.
We get takeout from Ajisai a few times a year — dining in is really difficult with more than 2 people and as mentioned you have to come by 5 or expect a line. The tables are also quite uncomfortable to be sure to sit at the bar if you go.
For raw stuff, their seafood salad is delicious and you get a lot of sea creatures. The no raw food thing could be a bit of a problem here but they do excellent vegetable rolls (avopara) and veggie nigiri (red pepper, kaiware sprouts), plus lovely tamago. They even have mountain yam which is somewhat unusual (not a personal fave but worth trying). My favourite sunomono here (try the seaweed version) as well. And the corn flakes really are a good alternative to deep frying!
Grayelf – you gave away the secret to Ajisai !!! 🙁
‘tho Ben will have to figure out what it is first …..
Colour me clueless — I can’t figure out what the secret is :-).
I finally got a chance to try out Sakura Sushi. I really enjoy the good quality sushi. I’d just wish they wouldn’t close as early as 7pm
I went to this place a few days ago. I ordered their ebi sunomono and spider roll sushi and got severe food poisoning.
The restaurant manager was very rude and impatient. I was shoulder checked by one of the staff on the way to the bathroom. The waitresses were nice, but took an inordinately long time to refill the hot water for our tea and check on me and my sister, whom I was visiting during this ‘lovely time’, for our food. The overall experience leads me to never want to return to this place again. If I would give it minus stars I could.
I have been going to Japanese restaurants in Victoria and Vancouver ever since I was a kid. The very best experiences I would have to say have been at Kibune Sushi (Kits), The Yokohama (downtown Victoria), Japanese Village (downtown Victoria) and Hapa Izakaya (Kits), and Gyoza King (Vancouver on Robson). This was the worst of the worst Japanese food experiences I have ever had.
I’m surprised you had such a nice time – maybe obviously hetero couples have an easier time finding good restaurants that serve delicious food and hospitality. SIGH.