Sushi California

One night in February, SB and I had dinner at the Coquitlam location of Sushi California, and it was a terrible experience. I had a salad, the contents of which obviously came from this prepackaged salad mix sold at Costco (my parents often buy the exact same mix), and our sushi rolls were practically falling apart, with the rice having no hints of vinegar or sugar. Because of this, I was quite wary about visiting the newly opened location on Broadway. But since it was late, and I was too tired to think of another option, we ended up going there anyway.

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I ended up ordering the Kimchee Yaki Rice ($7.95), kimchi fried rice topped with seaweed, diced green onions, and a fried egg. This isn’t a dish available at a lot of sushi restaurants, but it is available here, since the restaurant is Korean-owned and operated. Despite being Korean, I don’t eat a lot of kimchi fried rice at home, as my mom only makes it for lunch, which I’m rarely home for. The table beside us was devouring this with such enthusiasm that I felt I had no choice but to order it, and it ended up being a good choice. The rice was sufficiently moist without being too oily (although it was a bit oily, obviously, being fried rice). I didn’t enjoy the pieces of meat (which I believe were pork), as they were quite dry and tough; I would have much preferred smaller, fatty pieces of pork to complement the acidity and crunchiness of the kimchi. The egg yolk added another dimension of savouriness. I was also satisfied with the portion size as well as the moderate level of spiciness, which makes it a good dish to order even if you have low tolerance for spicy foods.

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For his main, SB went for his usual in the Tuna and Salmon Don ($9.95), served with huge slabs of fish, as you can see. Both types of fish were sufficiently fresh but didn’t taste overly fishy, especially with a squeeze of the lemon included on the side. The tuna also retained its shape and wasn’t too mushy, while both types of fish retained their natural sweetness. Unlike the version we sampled at the Coquitlam location, the rice here was sweet and appropriately seasoned with vinegar.

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To share, we ordered two rolls, the first being our standard Negitoro Roll ($2.75). This wasn’t the most aesthetically pleasing of rolls, as you can see, but the toro was naturally sweet and mushy as expected, while the green onion added a nice textural crunch. The nori, meanwhile, was also sweet and a bit chewy, which we liked. Overall, this was a good value, and basically had what we were looking for in a negitoro roll, so we were satisfied. The only thing that they need to work on is the aesthetics.

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In an attempt to be more adventurous with our choices, we ordered the Yellow Town Roll ($3.95), which was described on the menu as a California roll with crab meat, smoked salmon, onion, green onion, cucumber, red tobiko, crispy flakes, and mayo and mustard sauce. This roll made me realize why we stick to our usual choices. There was nothing particularly wrong with it, but it just wasn’t our taste. I personally don’t enjoy rolls that have the toppings kind of sitting on top of them in this way. It’s difficult to eat, plus the toppings sounded exciting but the mayo sauce made it taste like some type of potato salad. Nothing really stood out in this roll, and so we would not order this again.

Despite the Yellow Town Roll at the end, we were satisfied with our visit to Sushi California, which is a huge improvement from the first location in Coquitlam. The ingredients seemed fresh, the menu relatively diverse, and the service was efficient and friendly. Although there are many sushi restaurants along Broadway, Sushi California would most likely be my first choice.

Sushi California
388 West Broadway
Vancouver, BC

Sushi California on Urbanspoon

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