Sushi GardenPosted: 11/25/2012
“I want sushi,” declares SB, for possibly the five millionth time in the six years I’ve known him. Generally I try to be creative and take him to new sushi places, in order to have some varied posts for the blog. But on this particular day, it was rainy and dreary, and we simply decided to have lunch at the Lougheed Highway location of Sushi Garden, which we’d been to a million times. I hadn’t yet blogged about Sushi Garden, and since I’d just purchased my new camera, it seemed like the perfect time.
The big joke about Sushi Garden is that SB and I have been here so many times and we basically order the same items every time. We usually start off our meal by declaring, “I’m going to try something new today!” and then revert to our usual choices. I suppose we’re just creatures of habit. In any case, SB ordered his usual in the Spicy Tuna Don ($9.50). And, as usual, it was satisfying, with the sauce being really spicy (resulting in SB breaking out in a sweat and drinking all of his, as well as my, water). He wasn’t as satisfied this time, however, because the tuna tasted a little frozen, and hadn’t been properly defrosted. The rice and the lettuce were standard, while SB personally felt that there were too many cucumber chunks. This sounds like a lot of complaining, but on the whole, I thought the quality and quantity was fine, especially for the price we were paying. Sushi Garden is definitely not the place to come if you’re expecting quality food and quality service (although some of their waiters are very nice and accommodating). Their focus is most definitely the quantity.
And look, we actually tried something new this time in the BBQ Salmon Roll ($3.95). I usually dislike these larger rolls since I have trouble eating them in one bite and have to take them apart, but oh well. There wasn’t much comprising this roll, with the insides literally being just cucumber and the BBQ salmon itself. The only way I can think to describe this is…dry. The salmon itself and the rice were both so dry that it wasn’t even counteracted by the natural water from the cucumbers. The roll also fell apart easily, which is a common problem with these larger rolls. There’s a reason that SB and I stick to our usual rolls at Sushi Garden–the new ones always end up disappointing us. But for $3.95, what could we expect, right? I would not order this roll again, but felt that some kind of sauce would help, or even a little bit of mayo on the inside of the roll or drizzled on top. Due to the dryness, there was no real flavour, and everything ended up being one bland, dry mush.
Despite our negative experience with the BBQ Salmon Roll, I’ve always been satisfied with my regular choices at Sushi Garden, like the Alaska Roll ($3.50) and Negitoro Roll ($2.95). The picture of the Alaska Roll is from a separate trip long ago, as my camera didn’t want to focus on the one we had this time. First, the Alaska Roll: thinly sliced salmon on top, with avocado and masago inside, drizzled with their house sauce. I haven’t been able to figure this sauce out yet, although I can tell it contains pureed apple for sure. This time, there wasn’t a sufficient amount of sauce, although what sauce there was, was drizzled mostly on the rice, which ended up being soggy. It was still decent, though, and we both enjoyed it. As for the negitoro roll, the seaweed was soggy and hard to break off, with the toro being very, very cold. Still, we both liked it, since the toro was sweet while the green onion had a satisfying crunch.
And here’s the last of our favourite rolls, being the Spicy Chopped Scallop Roll ($3.50). (Funny story: we order these so often that I forgot to write down the prices at the restaurant, and SB had them memorized…) Once again, this had some soggy seaweed, but lots and lots of filling. I personally love scallops and this was what I was looking for. The sauce wasn’t too spicy and didn’t overwhelm the natural flavour of the scallops. The cucumbers did their thing, adding some variety to the texture.
I bet you’re getting sick of all this sushi, so I did have one cooked item, the Kitsune Udon ($4.95), just some noodles in the typical overly sweet broth, with some fish cakes and button mushrooms. Likewise, I’ve had this so many times, and don’t have many thoughts about it. It’s quite one-dimensional, although the noodles were nicely chewy. And for a price like $4.95, how can we complain? All I really wanted was something warm to fill me up, and this did the job.
So what’s my conclusion on Sushi Garden? It’s not the place to go if you want authentic sushi, or quality sashimi. I would say it is better than many smaller neighbourhood sushi places, and they have a good variety of raw as well as cooked items. The service is usually indifferent, but what can you expect at these prices? Maybe it’s just my high school nostalgia kicking in, but despite Sushi Garden’s shortcomings, there’s a reason I keep going back.
4269 Lougheed Highway