From what my father had heard, the place spent over $1 million dollars in renovating the restaurant. I was looking forward to this new restaurant that my parents now often went to. Growing up in Calgary, there weren’t that many sushi restaurants and when there were, they were often expensive and nothing like the sushi-scene in Vancouver – though that could be said the same for Vancouver when we immigrated to Vancouver first in 1989 from Japan.
After going to Tango Vietnamese restaurant in a strip mall, I wasn’t too surprised to drive up to another strip mall. Seems like it’s common in Calgary. I know Sushi Boat which my parents go to every week is also in a strip mall like area. From the outside, there’s nothing extraordinary about the place. It seems like another western restaurant. But once you enter, it’s another world. It’s a really large restaurant and the interior design is modern, slick with a lively atmosphere. The AC is blasting cold, but I did like the comfy U-shaped booths.
The menu is pretty extensive with a photo to each item making it easy to decide for first-timers. The prices were on the higher side, but since it had been three years since I got together with my family to dine, it called for a bit of indulgence
We got there around 4:50pm on a Saturday, and it was about half occupied. My mom worried that if we came after 6pm, it would be super busy with a long line up. Indeed, when it got closer to the time for us to leave, it was almost full.
The green tea was of good quality though a bit odd to be served in a white Chinese tea cup. Our bill indicated that ’2 Tea’ was $3, so not sure what that means. We were three people…though we only got one pot.
A complimentary plate (to share) with pieces from different rolls.
We started off with Special Tataki $5. This was a disappointing start as the tataki were not seared at all. It was only slices of salmon and tuna drowning in sauce with crispy tempura on top. They were not tataki, but just ordinary sashimi. There were too much of the crisps and they overwhelmed the flavour of the fish, if not already by the excessive sauce.
Luckily, the other dishes were good. The salmon nigiri (2 for $3.45) was really good. Nicely cut thin and just the right amount of rice.
Negitoro $3.95 was the first time having it as a nigiri rather than a roll. The content was very good, but I think I still prefer eating smaller roll pieces instead. Pricey for the amount.
Red Tuna $5.20 Must haves for my parents whenever they go to a Japanese restaurant. I didn’t have any.
Avocado roll $3.45 Seemed a bit pricier for such a simple roll and smaller since it was a maki and not the one with rice on the outside, nonetheless, it was still good.
Okinawa Roll $12 It was pretty to look at, but nothing super different about it.
Assorted Vegetable Tempura $4 (4 large pieces) Hot like right out of the deep frier.
Ikayaki $8.80 This is probably my favourite dish. The squid were nicely flavoured and the tobiko on top was a nice decor as well as to eat it with. The mayo went really well with the squid and the price is reasonable.
Crab Claw $6.80 Very good!
Grill Long Bean $4.90 Cooked to perfection, but quite salty. Would have went really well if I had some white rice.
Coconut Surprise $5.25 For dessert, we had icecream. We only ordered one for 3 of us, but it was perfect cuz it was pretty large, and all three of us weren’t big ice cream eaters, so the amount was just right to share. Presented very cute with a paper umbrella and two Pocky sticks. The flavour of coconut was rich and my mom fell in love with it. My dad and I really liked it as well.
During our dinner, there were two birthdays performances in which about a dozen staff would surround the table with tambourines and drums as they sang and clapped for the birthday boy/girl.
In the end, they brought some boxes of Pocky sticks to your table – with a choice of either chocolate or strawberry flavour. I was shocked to find out that they only give the boxes to females or children! I couldn’t believe this! How discriminatory is that! Ok, I can understand if they were only for children, but why only female adults? My mom told be that it seems that if the guy asks for one, they wont say no, but they wont present you one in the first place. In this day and age, I was sad to see this. I actually wouldn’t be surprised if it happened in Japan, but this was Canada. So, only my mom and I got them and my dad didn’t If I had brought along Sheepie and my Chinese friend, I think they both would have been p****. My brother? Not sure. But maybe I’m making too much of a deal of this? I have only read reviews of how happy one was in getting the Pocky – but then again, they were girls. I read only one guy who was upset for not getting one.
On the bill, you may see a certain number of “Love from Kinjo”. We had 777 of them for $0. I guess it’s another service to show their appreciation for the customers. The food was for the most part good, though I don’t think I’ll order the tataki, Okinawa roll, avocado roll again. The tempura is not my preference, but my mom loves them, so if I dine with her, she’ll order them for sure.
Our server was very cheerful and friendly. The atmosphere and decor was great. A little pricey for the quality. The only thumbs down is the Pocky. To me, their extra service is backfiring. It would be better not to do it at all if they can’t give it to everyone. Your thoughts?
Back for 2nd Time
I and my brother were visiting my parents in Calgary, and since my mom had won a $50 certificate for the restaurant, we decided to go for dinner.
One thing that my mom doesn’t like about this or any other restaurant is when it’s cold. When the AC is blasting, she continues to wear her coat. I always complain about AC settings in restaurants… hmm… I wonder who I got it from.
First, the complimentary plate of 4 random pieces of rolls to try out.
Tea is $1.50/person. With four of us, the tea already costed us $6!
Grilled Long Bean $5.10. Same portion, but prices have gone up since the last visit (which was about 2 years ago)
Gyoza was on promotion. 2 for only $5.20! Each set had 4 pieces. What a deal! However, the presentation doesn’t really seem like a high-end feel.
Stone roll $12.50 I don’t know why, but I’m just not a huge fan of sushi with a lot of sauce poured on them. It was still good though, but pricey.
Ikayaki $9.40 (deep fried squid) crunchy and interesting texture when eaten with the masago. Not much points for presentation though. Okinawa Roll $12 in the back, my parents seem to like that roll.
Ginger Shrimp $6.50 Yup, my mom loves deep fried stuff. I don’t think I ever eat as much deep fried, as when I’m with her, lol. They were really plumpy and juicy.
(in pairs) Masago $4.10, Salmon $3.60, Red Tuna $5.50, Unagi (eel) $5.50 and Negitoro $4.10. They were all good, but I think some are pricey!
Overall, the food was good, but I still think they are overpriced for a not upscale restaurant. The restaurant itself is big and spacious, but it’s not the ‘Miku’ of Vancouver. The presentation on those coloured plastic plates reminds me of fast-food sushi (or kaiten-sushi where they are placed on a mechanism that goes round and round in circles throughout the restaurant, already made). I was surprised that we went over $100 for 4 of us. Luckily, we had the gift certificate.
Taste: Price for Value: