Location: 105 Lonsdale Avenue, North Vancouver (again, super trendy new Lower Lonsdale development area)
Environment: Kind of like a nice sports bar. Kind of an open kitchen (you can see the top half of the chef’s while they work the line). Nice layout to the restaurant and comfortable booths.
One thing we certainly don’t have a lack of in Vancouver is sushi restaurants. Everywhere you go, there are handfuls of sushi restaurants, from the good to the bad and the ugly. It’s kind of an overload of sorts but I get it, cater to the market and Vancouver is now an Asian market. If I’m being honest, I rarely visit sushi restaurants that make me think “this is amazing!” but to be fair, I haven’t been to two of the city’s best (or at least most hyped up) restaurants – Tojos & Miku. I just rarely go downtown these days because the bridge traffic is THE WORST. And I didn’t specify which bridge because their both terrible. Anwyhoos, that means I’m doing a lot more dining on the North Shore. And that’s fine by me, spend less money on gas, there’s always more parking and no worries about an accident causing a 3 hour delay.
Mr. Sushi’s original location in a tiny strip mall in Lynn Valley, flanked by a Little Caesars on one side and mini-mart style convenience store on the other, was a hidden gem, of sorts. The sushi was always good – I have literally NEVER ordered from their (take-out or eat in) and been disappointed. Their staff is friendly and the sushi chefs are too. Granted, it is a tiny space so the sushi bar is basically right next to your table, no matter where you sit but still. They only use Wild Sockeye Salmon (bless them) and their rolls are original and well-balanced. They use a thin layer of perfectly seasoned rice to hold their generously filled rolls together. The ingredients are always fresh and tasty. They happily accommodate any modifications to their rolls and sometimes they even name their rolls after their regulars!
So, when I saw that Mr. Sushi was soon going to be opening on Lower Lonsdale, I was HYPE. A new space (closer to my place) and a plethora of new menu items had me right excited.
Service – 4/5
Super friendly, attentive and you get your food really fast.
Miso Soup – $1.50
It was good, well balanced. Not too watery, not too salty. Even had a few tofu puffs in there, my fave.
Ebi Sunomuno – $4.00
The tastiest sunomuno vinaigrette, I ever did have. Really great noodles too, super chewy and generous portion. The shaved carrots and purple cabbage were a great compliment but I could have done without the green cabbage – too clumsy/chunky in the bowl. The surprising part of the dish was the actual Ebi (shrimp) – one bite and I was taken aback by how much the shrimp tasted like … chemicals? It was odd and not very appetizing.
Flat Gyoza – $4.50
It’s deep fried so you can’t really go wrong. Nice to have something different from regular gyoza!
Snow White Roll – $9.00
Essentially a California roll topped with chopped scallops (in mayo) and then torched. Bit mushy of a mouth feel but that’s to be expected when you order raw scallops (in mayo, no less). The torching on top added a nice depth of flavour but I feel like the raw scallop mix would be better balanced on another base roll – not the California roll. Maybe something with tempura prawn or even spicy tuna mixed with tempura bits, anything to give it a little more texture. Still tasty as is though and I really enjoyed the flavour of the scallop salad.
Chicken Katsu Bento All-Day Special $12.00
This is a great deal – huge portion for a good price. All the elements of the dish were delicious. Their chicken katsu is really tasty and not fatty or skimpy on the actual chicken meat. The breading is perfectly crispy and the veggie stir-fry it sits on was tasty enough to eat on its own. They don’t just use the cheap veggies either (carrots, sprouts and cabbage), they included sautéd mushrooms and peppers and onions too. They go easy on the rice on their rolls which made this regular California roll taste really nice and balanced. The spring rolls were crispy and tasty. The tempura was flavourful but not oily. I even enjoyed the green salad, which is usually an after thought. It was probably the best lunch special I’ve had at a sushi restaurant, in a long time. Unbelievable value!
Negitoro Roll – $3.50
Was not a fan. Definitely was expecting more green onions (see below for the 3 tiny pieces that were in every other bite). Also felt that the toro was a bit warm? Like it had been sitting out for a while. Didn’t exactly taste fresh to me…
Ebi Oshi Aburi Sushi – $13.00 (lol just no.)
Definitely would not recommend this dish. If you want to pay $13 for 6 pieces of box-shaped Ebi Nigiri that are covered in a sloppy squirt of mayonnaise, a slice of black olive from a can and a touch of sprouts (but why?) then be my guest. But – if you are expecting the Aburi Sushi listed on the menu: tiger prawns with basil pesto and black olive, you are going to be disappointed. No pesto in sight. Strongly doubt they used actual tiger prawns. Only one piece appeared to be 1/4 torched. The mayo and black olive just made the whole dish taste weird. Would not order this again and it’s a shame because I was so excited for their new addition Aburi Sushi menu items *sad face.
Final Thoughts: Happy they are in the new happening ‘hood. Not so happy that they didn’t get the Aburi right but everything else on the menu, so far, makes up for it. I would recommend their Chicken Katsu All Day Bento Box special over anything else I’ve tried, thus far. Service is great and they are super friendly. Customers seem to already be mostly regulars, so the vibe is really nice. Not exactly Miku but they aren’t trying to be. Oh – they also have Asahi on tap!! Major bonus points for that 🙂