Gaya SushiPosted: 02/19/2013
It was time to choose a restaurant to go to after work again, and I was craving sushi… but couldn’t decide on a place to go to. I know, there are a ton of sushi joints we could go to in North Burnaby, but I was tired and famished, and really didn’t feel like making my way to Sushi Garden just to wait forever and a day for a table. A friend of mine recently recommended Gaya Sushi, a small restaurant that opened up in the past year at a strip mall on Bainbridge and Lougheed, so Samson and I, along with my parents, decided to give it a try.
Gaya was pretty busy too, but we managed to get seated right away. The restaurant is bright and spacious but on the smaller side (compared to Sushi Garden, at least), and I immediately appreciated that it was quieter– I’m not a fan of the hustle and bustle that characterizes the other places we go to.
My friend Rosy had insisted we get the Tuna Tataki ($6.95) to start, and I was really glad that we did. The fish was sliced at a perfect thickness, seared lightly along the sides, and tasted very fresh. Presented in a ring topped with garlic chips (my new favourite topping), and with shaved daikon, white onion, yellow and red peppers in the centre with a pool of ponzu sauce, this dish was both visually and texturally appetizing. I’ve really been into tuna tataki lately (ever since my lunch at Guu Garden), and I’m happy to say that this suburban restaurant offered up something comparable. I’ve been to Gaya Sushi twice since this visit, and I’ve ordered it every time.
Now, I’m a bit of a soup nut (I could seriously live on soup and bread for weeks), and besides, I needed to be warmed up after skating for 4 hours. So, I ordered the Miso Soup ($1.25) as another appetizer. I actually really like miso soups, despite their commonality and saltiness, but this way you can actually tell how it compares to other restaurants. This one did the job, and had plenty of ingredients– green onion, seaweed and tofu– to make it a substantial starter. I liked that the green onion wasn’t wilted (they must have put it in right before serving?), as I do enjoy the crunch. Also as part of our appetizers, we ordered 3 pieces of nigiri sushi (My dad didn’t want one): 2 pieces of Tobiko Sushi ($1.35) and 1 piece of Ikura Sushi ($1.80). These were pretty typical, and the different kinds of roe all tasted fresh. My personal favourite is the Tobiko, as the little eggs have more texture and ‘pop’ than masago roe does, but it doesn’t squirt out quite as much salty juice as the Ikura roe does.
We ordered 3 rolls to share as well: from the left, we had the Chopped Scallop Roll ($3.99), the Hot Night Roll ($5.99), and the Spider Roll ($6.99). The Chopped Scallop look pretty typical, with small pieces of scallop mixed together with masago in a light mayo sauce and accompanied by cucumbers, but I thought that it tasted a little fishier than what I was used to. I did, however, like that the filling wasn’t a weird orange colour. The Hot Night Roll is one of their specialty rolls, and is basically a Dynamite Roll topped with spicy tuna sashimi and some crispy noodle bits. The tempura shrimp was fried up nicely (not too oily), and the spicy tuna was just spicy enough. I liked the crispy noodles on top, which added some more texture to the roll, but found that it got messy quickly, especially since I severely lack in chopstick skills. The Spider Roll again exhibited a nicely deep-fried filling in the soft-shell crab, which was surprisingly meaty. Overall, the rice was cooked just right, and I thought that the rolls were nicely executed, if not a smidge on the expensive side.
For something more filling than just sushi rolls, we also ordered a Chirashi Don ($10.50) and a Tempura Udon ($6.95). This Chirashi Don was certainly one of the best I’ve had in a long time, and is definitely the best deal out of ones I’ve had. At $10.50, we weren’t expecting that big of a portion or that many different kinds of fish, but as you can see, the bowl this came in was gigantic. There was a lot of rice underneath the fish, which was drizzled lightly with sesame oil, but the real star of the dish was the sashimi. On it were several pieces each of red snapper, salmon, tuna, toro (fatty tuna), hokkigai (surf clam), tamago (which is egg, not raw fish) and hamachi. The fish was all very fresh and cut nicely with a beautiful sheen, and we really appreciated the assortment and amount that was served. The Tempura Udon, which was our final dish of the night, was a solid dish, but I wouldn’t necessarily get it again. The noodles were fairly al dente, and the soup was nicely flavoured and wasn’t too salty. Served with the noodles was a piece of fish cake, some Inari, and a variety of vegetables. On the side was a basket of assorted tempura, and like the shrimp tempura in the dynamite roll, these pieces, which included shrimp, yam, carrot and zucchini, were also fried up adequately.
Like I said above, I’ve been to Gaya Sushi a few times since, and I’ve had great service and food every time (and I wasn’t carrying a hefty camera for many of those visits either). The waiters are very kind and polite, which is a nice change from the borderline rude service you receive at some other sushi restaurants, and came over to refill our drinks without us asking them to. Price-wise, I find that they’re pretty average– some items are a little more expensive in comparison, while some others are a great deal. Being on Lougheed Highway, the restaurant isn’t too inaccessible, but it is a good walk up from Sperling Station (there is always the 134, but that only runs every half hour). I would urge you to make it out to this little strip mall sometime soon to try Gaya Sushi out! You definitely won’t regret it.
2900 Bainbridge Ave