Sushi TownPosted: 07/19/2012
Aren’t there certain restaurants you associate with a certain period of your life? When I was seven, I lived near Seattle and the one restaurant I remember visiting was this Korean-Chinese one that Bill Nye had once visited. I don’t remember much about the food, but on a trip a couple months ago to Seattle, we stopped by this same restaurant, and I was surprised at how mediocre I found the food. Hm…well, Sushi Town is definitely a restaurant I associate with my high school days, due to the proximity. Before Sushi Garden opened on Lougheed Highway, it was also my family’s almost exclusive option for takeout. I no longer live in the neighbourhood, but made it out there for a somewhat nostalgic trip to Dolph’s favourite restaurant (harharhar) with SB, Keith, and Dolph (of course).
SB started off with the Red Roll, (please excuse the poor photo!) one of their specialty rolls with chopped scallop and cucumber on the inside, and spicy tuna on the outside. Looks like Sushi Town has been expanding their menu–the only specialty roll I remember is their signature Awesome Roll (below). (EDIT: Never mind. I guess I was blind because apparently it’s always been around.) The texture of this roll was all soft, with the mushy tuna and the scallops overwhelming any sense of crispness from the cucumbers. I found that the flavour of the chopped scallop was itself overwhelmed by the spicy tuna. Also, I wasn’t impressed with this aesthetically. As you can see it looked a little…messy? They have a high turnover rate here due to popularity (it was very full when we visited on a random weeknight), but I wished they would take more care into making their food, especially the rolls.
Continuing with their specialty rolls…Dolph and I decided to share their signature Awesome Roll. Like I remembered from high school, it came out looking messy (yes, there’s an actual roll underneath all those bonito flakes!). This roll has imitation crab meat, cucumber, avocado and masago on the inside, and salmon, green onion, masago, and bonito flakes on the outside. I really like the addition of bonito flakes here. They’re not only quite different from what you usually see, but also great presentation-wise. Taste-wise…I felt like there were too many ingredients, so that I couldn’t taste much of anything. The sauce itself is overly sweet, and there’s no need for soy sauce. We tend to order the Awesome Roll when we visit Sushi Town, since it’s their signature roll, but personally I do it more to see those bonito flakes than anything else.
Dolph and I also ordered the Fantastic Roll, which is one of their new specialty rolls. We had a hard time deciding between this and the Delicious Roll…haha. This roll had shrimp tempura and imitation crab meat on the inside, with spicy tuna and tempura bits on the outside, as well as other ingredients. I enjoyed the attempt to add extra texture with the tempura bits, but the roll fell apart as you ate it. As with the Red Roll, the spicy tuna overwhelmed the other ingredients. The shrimp tempura had obviously not been freshly fried and was simply lukewarm, not adding much flavour to the rest of the roll. I felt like I was just eating the Red Roll again, except with tempura bits…I wouldn’t go so far as to call this “Fantastic”, but I guess “Acceptable” Roll just isn’t catchy enough?
For those of you who know SB, you’ll know his ability to handle spicy food is…uh…not that well-developed. So he ordered the Mild Spicy Tuna Don, which is their new mild version of this popular menu item. He remarked that the sauce was sweeter than usual, but not in a bad way. Still, it appeared to be quite spicy, as the sauce definitely has some sriracha mixed in. The portion size was more than fine for the price, and both the tuna and cucumbers tasted fresh. I love the addition of cucumbers and green onions here, which add more texture, considering how mushy tuna can be. The rice was vinegary and sweet–nothing to complain about here!
Keith ordered the Dragon Roll, which is a standard roll with avocado on the inside and unagi, or eel, on top. He didn’t have much to say about this roll, except that the avocado was the overpowering ingredient, leaving no other real flavour to it. I had a piece and thought that the rice was a little too gummy for my tastes. The eel tasted fine–well, a positive side effect of Sushi Town’s popularity is that they have a high turnover rate of ingredients, so the food is usually quite fresh. Well, there are also definitely negative side effects of their popularity… It’s so loud inside that you have to yell at your fellow diners to be heard, but eh.
To wrap up, Dolph and I also ordered a Negitoro Roll, which you’ll know is one of my favourites if you’re a regular reader. It was sweet and simple, with the fresh toro contrasting with the crunchy green onion. There was nothing amiss, but to be honest, I didn’t see how they could mess this up. The rice was sweet and vinegary (but a little gummy, as mentioned before).
Some general points about Sushi Town. I’ve been here many times (especially during high school), and the service usually leaves something to be desired. That said, it was fine this time–not overwhelmingly friendly or welcoming, of course, but the waitresses were relatively polite, filled our water and tea regularly, and weren’t brusque. Here the prices are low due to its proximity and popularity with students from both Burnaby North and SFU. Sushi Town can’t compare with the high-end places, obviously, but it’s fine for what it is: a cheap neighbourhood sushi joint.
5935 Hastings Street