Sushi HiyoriPosted: 08/14/2013
When I mentioned to acquaintances that I’d be spending two months of my summer in Europe, many told me to indulge in sushi while I could. As I sit writing in my flat in Oxford, I wish that I’d considered their advice more seriously. Sushi restaurants here are nowhere near as plentiful or inexpensive as in Vancouver, and while I’ve been too afraid to try any myself, my classmates all agree that sushi in England is nothing like sushi back home. I’ve found in Vancouver that while popular spots like Sushi Garden are popular for a reason, the small neighbourhood joints are often quite good. This post is about an excursion I made to a relatively small sushi place in downtown Vancouver, with my favourite sushi connoisseur, SB.
I’ve found that while there are many Japanese restaurants downtown, a simple good old-fashioned sushi place is hard to find. Sure, there are many izakayas and ramen joints and Spaghetei, but sometimes I just feel a craving for a simple negitoro roll. Sushi Hiyori is a quick walk from the central shopping area of downtown Vancouver, and had exactly what we were looking for: all the basics plus some specialty rolls of their own.
SB had his usual Salmon Don ($9.95). We thought that the plating of it, although not particularly practical, was somewhat cute in the chef’s thoughtfulness. As for the food itself, SB pronounced it acceptable, as the rice was sweet and vinegary but not overly so, while the sashimi seemed decently fresh. I personally thought that the salmon was sliced a bit irregularly, with some thick pieces and some very thin slices, but overall, it was fine considering the venue and price.
We also decided to try one of their specialty rolls, the Las Vegas Roll ($8.99), which was described as a California roll topped with spicy tuna sashimi, prawn tempura, and sweet and spicy sauce. It wasn’t exactly neatly presented–SB observed that it was like a California roll wearing a hat, and was difficult to eat due to its height. The tempura appeared to have been freshly fried, being warm and crispy, but there was too much batter to really taste the prawn inside. With the avocado, imitation crab, and spicy tuna, the roll had an overall mushy texture, and the rice was rather gummy in places. I’m generally not fond of specialty rolls and their often high price tag, so this didn’t especially stand out for me. I would take a simple maki over a fancy roll any day.
And, of course, we had to have that simple maki in the form of our favourite, the Negitoro Roll ($2.45). Although this wasn’t the best version we’ve had, it was still acceptable. The seaweed was a tad soggy and therefore difficult to chew, but the toro was smooth and creamy, and the green onions were satisfyingly crunchy. The toro also had a sufficient level of fishiness, while the rice, again, wasn’t overly sweetened or doused in vinegar, which I liked.
Our meal at Sushi Hiyori wasn’t spectacular, but it was definitely acceptable. We were especially pleased with the service, which was very friendly, plus our tea and water were both refilled many times without us having to ask. Based on my experience, I wouldn’t recommend trying their specialty rolls, which are mostly variations on the California roll or the dynamite roll, both of which aren’t my favourite rolls anyways. Other than that, Sushi Hiyori is a viable option if you’re in the neighbourhood, and clearly a neighbourhood favourite: although there weren’t too many seated customers during our visit, there were many customers coming in and out to pick up their take-out. This place isn’t gourmet by any means, but hey, who wants to eat gourmet all the time?
1348 Hornby Street