Sushi Garden on Kingsway, Metrotown.

There are quite a number of sushi houses lining Kingsway near the Metrotown area like you won’t believe. Let me see those I can recall some of the popular ones at the top of my head … Oyama, Tomoya, Kura, Isami, Yako, Asakusa and of course …

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… Sushi Garden. Among all the Sushi houses here, it appears that Sushi Garden is the most popular.

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As popular as it is, I don’t normally go to Sushi even though it is a short walk from my office. The reason is the crowd. It is very busy during lunchtime. To get a table you are advised to get there at least 15 minutes before noon.

That was what I did. By noon, all the tables will have been taken. On the day I went to Sushi Garden it was also raining quite heavily and yet it was full at noon.

They are popular because of the value and their sushis are quite decent too. What sucks about Sushi Garden to me is their service. I understand that they are busy and the waitresses have their hands full keeping things together but they do have an aloof mannerism that it is bordering on rudeness … at least that is how I felt when I was there. Mind you, I was there so early and they had the time to properly serve me. Instead, they were standing by the bar chatting with the chefs. I had to signal them that I am ready to order (I had put my menu down for minutes already). It seems like my waitress was unhappy that I interrupted her chat!

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I decided on the item that has the most variety of sushis (and also the most expensive). The Deluxe Assorted Sushi is $16 and consists of 10 different type of sushis. It also has a couple of small tuna and salmon rolls “on the side” so to speak.

One thing I noticed all the time is that they serves their sushis on wooden platforms. Never been to Japan before myself, I assume that it is … (more…)

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Samurai Sushi House on Cambie Near 41st, Vancouver

This is one place we expect our boys would love. They like sushi — the more the better.

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When I suggested we go to Samurai Sushi for lunch, they were happy. They knew that Samurai is the sister restaurant to the Banzai Sushi House in Richmond. Their claim to notoriety is their ridiculously large rolls.

No serious.

If you have never seen their rolls, I am sure you will laugh when you see it for the first time. Their biggest is what they call the House Roll. It is so big that you can’t even pick it up with your hands without it breaking apart.

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We did not expect the place to be so small. There is some seats along the bar and about 2-3 tables. That’s all. Banzai in Richmond is a lot bigger. Here, they have a lot of take out business.

Their picture menu is pasted along the wall.

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The above are pages from Samurai Sushi’s take out menu.

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We got seated on the sushi bar and get to see three chefs at working making the sushi … and the ridiculously large House Roll below to see how massive they are.

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I so wanted to take a picture of the chefs at work but they have such a serious look on their face their I thought I better not. I wanted to show you the rolls that they had already made. You will be surprised how many they already made ready to go. There must be over a hundred rolls neatly stacked all over the place.

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My choice was the $9.75 Mixed Combo. It consists of 2 tuna, 2 salmon and 2 ebi sushi.

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The salmon … (more…)

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Free Dessert from Ebisu Robson and Broadway!

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Hello Vancouver.

Update 31-Aug-2009: Please note that this offer has lapsed and no longer available at Ebisu.

Read on because there is a summer treat for you … courtesy of Ebisu on Robson and Chowtimes.com.  It is going to be quite a treat, so you may want to pay a little bit more attention to this post!  🙂

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Suanne and I dined at Ebisu about a month ago.  We had a great time and we blogged about it here.

A couple of Thursdays ago, Ebisu on Robson launched their new menu with the introduction of a few pretty interesting and new dishes.  At the same time, they had also prepared the Spring/Summer specials.

Suanne and I were back at Ebisu to sample the new items on the day of the launch.  More importantly, we were there to work on a three-way-win plan.  Ebisu gets to introduce their new menu on chowtimes … and at the same time Chowtimes gets to inject some fun (and value) to our readers.  Most important of all, chowtimes readers gets a free dessert.

Like these …

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You may get any of these items above as a treat from Ebisu and Chowtimes.  Oh, wanted to be clear that this is available only in Ebisu on Robson and Ebisu on Broadway.  I’ll share with you the details further down this post because I wanted to show you what Suanne and I became a “guinea pig” for you Vancouverites.  He he he ….

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Deon, Ebisu on Robsons General Manager, hosted us.  We started off one of their new sushi rolls.  The one we tried was the Ninja Kicker (above).  This roll is targeted for those sushi lovers who craves for a little bit more spiciness in their roll (hence the name).

Suanne and I loves this roll a lot.  It is certainly a departure from the normal sushi rolls and is perfect in many ways.  If you like a kick to your rolls, I am quite certain you will love this.

Suanne and I learned a lot from Deon.  It was interesting how they developed their new menu.  The Ninja Kicker has all the elements of a good creation.  It is pleasing to the eye with a good balance of colors.  It has a combination of contrasting texture. The prawn tempura adds crunch to the texture.

This one has an element of surprise in the taste department.

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The secret to the Ninja Kicker is the sauce.  All Deon would say is that they started this from a base … the humble Thai-style Sriricha hot sauce.  The sauce is darker than Sriricha sauce, that much I know.  It has a level of sweetness and with a strong flavour.  The spiciness leaves a lingering heat in the mouth.

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Tuna Tataki is one of the more popular Japanese dishes.  On the surface this looks kind of normal … (more…)

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Party Tray from Jumbo Sushi

Alright, this will come across to you like a test post. It is. There are a few things I wanted to test out and wanted to see how it goes.

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For some reason, I felt that the past winter had been particular long and drabby and cold. Nothing exciting happened during the past few months. But the winter is finally over … yah!

Actually it was still cold but at least the sun is out with a vengeance. So, I dragged a very reluctant Suanne out (the boys were OK) to have sushi takeout lunch at the park. I am wicked, I know.

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Banzai Sushi House on Westminster Highway, Richmond

We raved about our find at Jumbo Sushi just a couple of weeks ago. It was not because Jumbo Sushi is good or anything like that. It was because they serve HUGE JUMBO sized sushi for cheap. It was just perfect for my boys who can devour sushis like there is no tomorrow.

It WAS.

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Jumbo Sushi WAS the boys favourite for just two weeks. The family favourite is now the Banzai Sushi House (thanks to the recommendation of Vanessa, again).

Banzai Sushi is located on Westminster Highway in the strip mall across from the Richmond Public Market. It is actually just next door to Tsim Chai Noodles. For some reason, I had never taken notice of Banzai Sushi before … strange.

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The picture above is somewhat misleading. We were the first customer as soon as they open at 11AM. Shortly after, it was all packed — certainly a very popular place and to think that I thought there were no sushi places of note in Richmond.

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Nanzaro ordered the Tuna and Salmon Sashimi. This is just over $9.25.

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But they are HUGE … everyone of them. It was mind boggling seeing sashimi pieces these big. Nanzaro was absolutely delighted with his bowl and tried his best not to smirk at his older brother’s selection. It was not often that Nanzaro beats Arkensen in anything.

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Just look at the size of it one more time. It is just this thing alone that I am sure we will be making repeat trips to Banzai Sushi. Size DOES matter.

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Arkensen selected from the Maki Combo B. This is $9 and consists of five types of half rolls.

(more…)

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Jumbo Sushi on No 3 Road, Richmond

We just stumble onto a sushi place which will be a family favourite for sometime to come. We had been to Jumbo Sushi twice already. The first time, we did not even bother to bring along the camera as we did not think much about this place. The following week we re-visited Jumbo Sushi armed with the camera because we felt this will be worth writing about.

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Jumbo Sushi is located on No 3 Road across the road from Richmond Center. It is at the small strip mall between Cook Road and Park Road.

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Jumbo Sushi is pretty much a hole-in-the-wall. There is nothing to talk about in terms of decor. The furniture are IKEA — even the plastic cups are from IKEA. The only thing other than the word sushi here that attempts to make this like a sushi restaurant is limited to the small banner with Japanese words and a couple of lanterns. The people are Chinese for sure as they speaks perfect Cantonese.

Deciding what each of us wanted was not easy because there were so many choices and options with specials. They have pictures of their offerings pasted all over the wall.

To the purists, Jumbo Sushi will be the kind shunned as a wannabe Japanese restaurant.

But … it is the kind of place our boys love. Suanne and I like it too.

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Jumbo Sushi is named that way because they make JUMBO sushis. We love this place because it is value for money. Our growing boys do not care for top grade salmon sashimi for their sushi. They just want LOTs of sushi … and bigger is better.

In short, Jumbo Sushi is value for money for reasonable quality. They also have quite a number of unique sushi creations worth discovering.

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We had a few specialty sushi to share. The one above is called the Supreme Mango Roll which costs $4.75. In it, they have avocado, crab meat, mango and then topped off with more mango and roe. The roll, like all their other rolls are very big. It is so big that you could not eat this with just one bite.

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Does any of you knowledgeable about roes? Are these salmon roe? Tell me more about this because I know so little of them.

Anyway, although the roe are big, they tasted kind of fishy. Is it because it is not fresh or does roe supposed to taste like that?

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The Hawaiian Beef Roll is one that Suanne will eat because it is cooked. Suanne has still not come to grip with eating uncooked food.

The Hawaiian Beef Roll had beef and pineapple with teriyaki sauce. This is good … and only $3.50.

(more…)

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Daimasu Japanese Restaurant in Richmond

Updated: 18th Dec 2014; This restaurant is closed.

Nanzaro was away at a camp. He was none too happy when he found out that we went to a “gourmet” Japanese place for lunch on the weekend while he was away. For us, gourmet Japanese is anything that is not a AYCE.

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So we went Daimasu that one weekend. Daimasu has been at this spot for as long as I remembered. What prevented us from coming to this place previously and what brought us here lately is their tagline — “A Fine Japanese Restaurant”.

Daimasu is located on Granville between No 3 and Garden City. You won’t miss it because of the imposing red sign that have up front.

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In our mind this is very much a Chinese owned Japanese restaurant. We don’t know that for a fact but the workers there looked very Chinese and speaks Chinese too. So, we were surprised to see how authentic looking the decor is. We like the place as they do have a very good selection of bright and dim spots.

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Apparently Daimasu has another outlet on the Burnaby portion of Kingsway. I work just a block away and I did not even realize it. I will want to check it out one day for sure.

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I eyed a poster on the wall showing a new menu item which they call Sashimi Adventure. The poster said:

Dare to try our freshly imported selection of Yellow Tail (Hamachi), Wild Sockeye Salmon, Seared Mackeral (Saba), Garlic Pepper Tuna and Beef Sashimi.

Without hesitation, I ordered that … I like the “Adventure” part.

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Fish Sashimi, that I can readily relate but beef sashimi? Actually this is the first time I had beef sashimi … and I must say it is very good. Normally you would get blood red meat when it is rare but not this one. It seems like they had lightly cooked the sides before it’s served.

I must give credit to the Japanese. I mean … how on earth did they managed to convince the world to call uncooked food cuisine. LOL! Suanne swears off sashimi but I love it.

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The dip above is meant to go with the beef. Not exactly sure what it was though.

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Between Mackeral, Hamachi and Tuna, I can hardly tell the difference between them … but am going to hazard a guess nevertheless. Let me know if I got this wrong.

The above looks like Mackeral. Although the menu said it is Seared Mackeral, it does not seem seared to me. There are quite a number of little garnishing all over the plate — all very nicely arranged. I figured that the chef would have placed the garnishings next to the sashimi pieces that they are meant to go along.

Seeing that the Mackeral is split in the middle, I took some of the greenish and orangey stuff (help me describe the orangey stuff here!) and sandwich it between the fish. Mmm … mmm … fresh. (more…)

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Conveyor Belt Sushi

This is so cool ... so awesome. I simply have to share this with you chowtimes readers. I came across this YouTube video on Ed Lau's Ed.Edition blog. He blogs…

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Japanese Sushi

Frank’s Japanese Feast ended with non other than Japanese Sushi. We did a mistake by removing the sushi rice from the rice cooker too soon. According to Frank, the rice has to be hot and the sushi chef will fan the rice to cool it down a bit. Nevertheless, we still asked Frank to demonstrate to us how to roll the sushi despite his unwillingness due to the mistake we made. Frank just wanted everything to be perfect.

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I will not illustrate how to roll the sushi here as I had covered that in this blog. Frank’s maki roll is filled with a kind of bamboo (I will show you this ingredient later), pickled daikon, avocado, cucumber and artificial crab meat.

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Winnie gave Frank a helping hand while Frank demonstrated how to make sushi roll. Winnie’s daughter loves sushi and Winnie often make it for her daughter at home.

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This is the bamboo thingy I mentioned above. It came in dry form in long strands. You can find most of the Japanese ingredients which Frank used here in Izumi-Ya Japanese Market at 7971 Alderbridge Way, Richmond.

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The dry bamboo has to be soaked in warm water until soft. It is then rinsed a few times until the water runs clear. After that, it is boiled in water until it expanded and soft. Dump off most of the water, leaving just a bit, add 4 tablespoons of sugar, a few dashes of mirin and soy sauce and let simmer on low until the liquid is almost evaporated and absorbed into the bamboo. The final product is sweet and has a crunchy texture.

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