Updated: 16th Nov 2014; This restaurant is closed according to Urbanspoon.com.
There are so many Vancouver food bloggers these days that I could not even catch up reading all of them, let alone aware of all the new ones. However, there was one that caught my attention because he blogs about restaurants in Burnaby and a number of them along Kingsway. So, I had been following Karl of The Friday Lunch for sometime.
I like his easy to follow style with short to the point sentences. Not to mention too his selection of restaurants are exactly the type I normally go to. Since both of us work around the vicinity, we arranged to meet up for lunch and say hi.
I suggest that we meet at Kura Sushi on Kingway. Kura Sushi had been a place that I wanted to visit for a long time because LotusRapper had recommended that place a few times. I had been trying to save this place up to go with Suanne but we never got round to that — and I think we will never get round to it given all the “To Try” places we have on the list.
I had walked past Kura Sushi many time before and had seen their menu. It does give me the impression that this is a very authentic Japanese restaurant (with higher than normal prices). This is reinforced by the heavy wooden door outside. This was a real thick heavy door, not a fake. Frankly I don’t know if this door works in their favour because it sort of felt less welcoming to the customer. That is just my opinion.
The hand-written sign outside the restaurant sounded very convincing that they are the only branch of a some big time sushi restaurant in Tokyo. I was curious right? So, I tried googling various combination of Kura-Tokyo-Sushi but came up with some Kura Sushi which is a Kaiten Sushi joint.
Anyone able to tell me if there is actually a well known Kura Sushi in Tokyo?
He he he … at a glance, the picture above looked like it’s some call center operation, right? It’s just that they have partitions between the smaller tables just to save space and provide some privacy. From the looks of it, there are a lot of office workers when we were there.
I like that tall ceiling and dark walls … and yet it was very well lighted where it matters.
They have a large menu with pictures — making choosing difficult. I wish I could take pictures of their entire menu because I am sure many of you will like to see it. Given the number of pages, I thought I better not or else Karl and I freak them out. So, I just took pictures of their Lunch Special above.
What do you think? It’s a buck or two above the normal lunch special price range in many places but they all look a bit more better too.
Hmmm … LUNCH SPECIAL. Not sure about you but my benchmark price for lunch specials is $7-$8. Anything above this is expensive and anything below that is real cheap. What about you?
The Miso Soup. We did not order that. I guess it is complimentary for all customers. As far as I know, not many Japanese restaurants serves complimentary miso soup.
You know, I can’t get over the idea after all these while that they don’t give a soup spoon with the miso soup. Yeah, I know … the Japanese drinks, no slurp, the soup direct from the bowl. I am saying this because in my research on Chinese cuisine, Chinese do not customary drink direct from the bowl in a formal setting.
We decided to get a couple of rolls and two other “fancy” items instead of getting the lunch special. That is just me … I just don’t want to blog about lunch specials because they do not often represent the best the restaurant has to offer. Oh … did I say that just a few days ago?
Anyway … we got Beef Sashimi … a small order ($6). I would have preferred a bigger order ($10) but I guess it’s too much to order.
Isn’t the beef sashimi beautiful? It is simply one of the best looking sashimi I had ever see … and it tasted great and flavourful. When I was eating this, I was thinking if this is safe eating raw beef. LOL! If Suanne is here, she would comment that it is not safe because bacteria will multiply quickly on the surface. So I am curious how they are able to keep this safe. I am sure it is safe … but just wanted to know.
Then we got the Geoduck. In Japanese they call this Muragai.
Anyone of you know how Geoduck ended up being pronounced as Guu-ey-duck and not G-O-duck? Don’t roll your eyes when I say this OK? Not everyone knows what Geoduck is. For one it is not a duck and does not resemble a duck. This is how Geoduck looks like. A little trivia here … did you know that the Geoduck has the longest lifespan. It is known to easily live up to 150 years!
When it came we were kind of delighted, or at least I was. I was thinking … oh wow, all this for just $8?!?
Sigh … my balloon was deflated when …
… it was just a few tiny pieces of geoduck awashed with lots of sauces … served on a very tall but shallow thingy. The butter garlic sauce was nice and garlicky but it was virtually 80% of the taste. The geoduck was a tad tough.
Kura Sushi has a lot of specialty rolls. I think it was like two pages long with pictures. Because of all the choices, our criteria for selecting one is that it has to be colourful and look good in pictures. So we got the Rainbow Roll which is $9.
It turned out just so-so. It was not particularly “rainbow” as we thought it would be. The diff is that they had wasabi mayo on this … and I don’t like wasabi!! I ate it nevertheless but thought it was … well, like I said … just so-so.
The more expensive Kyoto Roll ($10) was more of my kind of roll. It has tempura prawn in it and I like sweet soy sauce. I always like tobiko on rolls. It kind of add that extra twist to the rolls.
Frankly, I was not particularly impressed with the presentation. Looked like of messy and does not look good photographed.
I won’t say it is expensive for the quality but it is certainly not cheap. Perhaps I came here with too high expectations but I find that it is just a little better than nearby sushi places like Sushi Garden … just a little, not a lot.
The bad thing here is the service. They are polite, demure and sweet … but they are forgetful. I had to ask for the receipt a few time before it came. Each time the waitress said “hai” … and then the bill never came. Karl had to head back to work because he could not wait for them. Let me tell you, Karl … I was there for the next 10 minutes waiting for the bill.
Alright … go now and read Karl’s take on Kura Sushi here.
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Ben, many thanks for your kind words. You were a major inspiration for me to start sharing my love of food. It was truly a pleasure to break bread with someone who has, like myself, an unquenchable sense of discovery.
Sorry your experience was less than you expected. Maybe that was my fault, having mentioned Kura several times. I guess each person’s impression is *largely* formed by his/her food orders, and in your case yours did not suit your personal palate well.
Maybe a second chance is in order for you, but with their “lunch specials” as a baseline comparison, hehe.
Admittedly it’s been at least a year since I’ve been to Kura myself. I’m much busier at work nowadays and places like Kura can be challenging to get in & out in about an hour-ish. But maybe on a slow Friday …. whenever.
I mentioned the “new” Yakko Sushi recently. Trust me, they are a “minimal risk” place to try and compare with others, mainly against the popular Sushi Garden, Asakusa and Isami.
BUT have you tried TOMOYA Sushi on Nelson, beside the Swish Swish Hot Pot and Lao Shan Dong ? I’m guessing they are more your style of casual sushi lunch spot. See menu here:
The food at Kura was OK. Maybe it was due to the food we ordered which was quite random. The beef sashimi was great to tell the truth. You got it … Yakko Sushi is one place I will definitely check out from the strength of your recommendation! As for Tomoya, Karl and I went to it last week. It was great and I find it much better than Kura. I’ll write about it next week.
Re: Beef sashimi
Basically what you ordered is not beef sashimi.. I would say it is tataki. Becaus ethe outside has been seared or torched in order to kill surface bacteria.
Beef is okay to eat completely raw. In fact, dry aged beef develops it’s flavour from rotting. This might sound disgusting but it’s what makes it delicious. When beef is stored in cryovaced bags ( in its own blood) it picks up an irony taste oppose to dry aging, like a fine cheese, where it can pick up a nutty, tangy flora.
In your photo, obviously, because of the uniform slicing, this beef has been pre frozen. Which makes it easier for the chef to slice.
It irritates me that people think its wrong to eat animals rare to medium rare, but eating raw fish is fine.
Hi JD: Thanks for the primer on raw beef!
😛 Sorry to burst your bubble Ben but Geoduck is nowhere near the longest lived animal. Tortoises, koi, and Greenland sharks all live closer to 200 years. Sperm Whales have been seen living for over 211 years (harpoons from the 1790s were found embedded in their skin!), some mollusks can live for 400 years, and there’s a species of jellyfish that is biologically immortal – instead of dying after reproducing, it simply goes back to being a tiny little polyp that floats in the water, and this cycle can repeat forever. Then there’s the hydra, a tiny animal that lives in the water and is also immortal (unless you destroy all its cells at once, any damage to the cells gets ‘diluted’ because the surviving cells divide until the damage is repaired and the body rebuilt).
That’s not fair! Marine biologists are not supposed to comment here. He he he … just kidding. Thanks for setting the record straight, Dyn. I just googled “longest living animals” and found that some even lived to over 1000 years old. I wonder how they determine the age.
Yoda was around 900 years old when he died.
Oh wait, Yoda was fictional ….. LOL
pretty rolls! i’m not into wasabi either though. beef sashimi is not actually safe, you should proceed with caution. it’s safer than chicken sashimi though – don’t go there!!
I’ve never seen such a shallow “soup” bowl before. Most restaurants in my area do serve free miso soup, except at the high end places where miso soup is a separate charge.
Geoduck comes from a first nations term “gui-duck”. It means dig deep (because of their tunneling skills). Over time the name got misspelled and now confuses everyone at first.
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Enjoy your food adventures. Long time reader, first comment today. I have to comment because sushi garden does not measure up to Kura. I have eaten several times at Kura and their ingredients are always fresh and clean tasting, especially the sashimi. Other places serve them at the wrong temp., sliced too thin, or give you end pieces (leftover). My favourite Kura dishes are the tokyo roll, soft shell crab, the seafood miso soup, hamachi and tuna toro sashimi and . . (too many to list all). I am also not a wasabi person until I discover fresh (yes, the real stuff) wasabi at Kura. This is the only Japanese restaurant where I eat the wasabi. In my experience, aside from Tojo’s, Kura is the best. Tojo’s prices are crazy!
Hi kn709: Thanks for the comments. Is Kura that good? Maybe my judgment was tainted by the next visit to Tomoya which was much to what I like and that is why Kura felt kind of over-rated. If only I knew about Kura fresh wasabi earlier …
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