I’ve been hearing a lot about this place recently from my co-workers at Burnaby Hospital. So on a Monday night, instead of going snowshoeing, a bunch of us decided to go have sushi instead! Food always beats exercise!
The decor was nothing out of the ordinary, and if anything it is a very simple kind of restaurant. It likely seats about 60 or so. They also provide a long bench on one side of the sushi bar for people to sit and wait when the restaurant is busy. Funnily enough, I actually just came here the night before so I already had some rolls I had in mind to have. Compared to a Sunday night, when we arrived at 8pm and had to wait for about 10 minutes, it was still relatively busy on a Monday night at 6pm. The restaurant was approximately 40% full when we arrived at 6pm, and more and more people just kept sifting in! Like I said, I already came here the night before so I had an idea of what I wanted to eat, and since there was 4 of us this time, we were able to get a little bit more!
We started off with the Soft Shell Crab. The sauce it came with on the side was a bit of a sweet sauce with mayo mixed in for presentation. The batter was very thin and, if eaten right away, it’s actually quite good! The heat from the batter and the softness of the crab inside is a nice mix. As well, it was good that the batter itself wasn’t so thick that I couldn’t taste the crab. If I had to rate it, I’d give 7/10.
Then came all the rolls! If asked about what roll to get, the staff will always recommend the Nanaimo Roll and the Awesome Roll. At my table, we were kind of torn. Two of us preferred the Nanaimo roll more and the other two preferred the Awesome roll more. The eventual verdict? They are BOTH good choices!
Nanaimo Roll – A signature roll with spicy tuna inside, topped with deep fried potato pieces and Japanese mayo sauce. I was kind of indifferent about it. It was good, but even though I had only two pieces I was satisfied without craving for more. Two of the girls really liked it, and it is something they’d recommend to everyone, so it must be a crowd pleaser. I think because the deep fried potato pieces were just added texture (adding nothing to the taste of the roll), it felt less special for me. If I had to rate it, I’d give it 8.5/10.
Awesome Roll – I was definitely loving this one way more. It’s essentially a California roll topped with salmon, baked in the oven and topped off with your choice of bonito flakes or those potato things again. I chose the bonito flakes instead. Sorry that I didn’t get a good picture of the inside of roll or the salmon. When you order this, ensure you eat it right when they serve it. That’s when it’s still warm from the oven and it actually kind of tastes like a takoyaki! The salmon was nicely baked and if you look at it, you can even see the salmon oil juices coming out. I got this on Sunday but when I returned on Monday, I knew I had to get it again. Just for that, it’s definitely a 10/10 roll for me!
Sushi Pizza – We saw this on Sunday but decided not to get it because we were more in the mood for plain sashimi. But we saw this whilst ordering the soft shell crab and decided why not? It’s essentially an inch thick flavoured sushi rice pancake that is pan fried on both sides, topped off with a layer of sashimi, and finished with lots of mayo and some flakes. The rice was really crispy and if you eat it earlier the contrast between the sashimi and the rice was really good. As the dish cooled off however, the excess mayo made the rice less crispy and the “wetness” from the sashimi just kind of made it too messy for me to enjoy. I think it would be better if they fore go the mayo or at least put less! This was a 7/10 for me as well.
Overall:All in all, Sushi Nanaimo is definitely a hit for me. I think the sushi comes in very generous portions and very reasonable prices. Their specialty rolls are no more than $7 and the variety that they have really does make them stand out. I hear that the place can get quite busy but I think the two times I've tried it, I must have just been quite lucky! This is definitely a return place, if only it wasn't so far for me to get to!
Ambiance: 3.5 - nothing fancy, but clean and comfortable
Service: 4 - there are people who are on tea service it feels like and my tea cup was always full
*Our scoring system is out of 5. With 5 being the highest score.