Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Hirame Sushi

Hirame Sushi is located in Langley at the Brookswood Plaza and used to be my favourite Japanese restaurant. However, is now only one of them due to the quality going downhill in the last four years despite being still above average. Hirame is known for their huge selection of rolls as well as large portions with an above average quality and although the restaurant is a bit small, there is a good amount of seating for the restaurant's size. Hirame serves all you can eat as well as a la carte, however, their AYCE is not like any typical AYCE restaurant. The portions for AYCE are exactly the same as when ordering a la carte, meaning, huge portions and the possibility of not being able to try a bit of everything on the menu. The good part is that the rolls are freshly made rather than pre made, however, the downside is for those with smaller parties such as only a few people, can only try one or two rolls.

ADULT $32.99 CHILDREN (11-15) $19.00 (6-10) $10.00 (1-5) $5.00

I usually go for the a la carte but on my last two visits, went for the AYCE. On my first visit, none of the staff mentioned that the AYCE menu serves the same portion as a la carte, so BF and I had a lot of leftover food. The good part - at the end of the meal, customers can pay for the leftovers and take them home. However, there were some discrepancies and the waitress mentioned we could not take the leftovers home despite paying for them and we had to mention that we were told we could.

The sauce tastes flavourful with a subtle sweet taste and as for the tempura, the batter could have been flakier but tastes good and not too greasy. The lobster tempura is a chick tail which tastes flavourful with a nice snap and as for the king prawns, the meat tastes flavourful as well. I believe the AYCE is limited to one piece per person.

The sashimi is sliced thick which I prefer for a richer taste but could have been cut more on a diagonal. To start, the toro tastes fatty as well as buttery and the hamachi tastes fresh. If anything, the hamachi is slightly pricey for only four pieces but the portion is very generous. Following is the sockeye salmon and tuna sashimi which tastes fresh.

The mackerel has nice grill marks and a crispy exterior but the meat tastes stiff as well as chewy.

This is the only reason why I started visiting Hirame! My favourite roll, a negitoro with my favourite sashimi on top, toro! The roll used to cost $16.00 and is now only $9.00. The tuna toro roll is not just huge but actually tastes good. BF does not eat rolls much so it sucks that I could only choose one roll for AYCE. This roll is the ultimate for any negitoro or toro sashimi fan, however, for picky eaters like BF, this is the worst choice for him. He hates negitoro because it usually consists of the left over scraps after removing the sashimi and nigiri portions.

The house seafood soup comes with one prawn as well as a mussel and a bunch of vegetables. As for the soup base, the broth has a slightly sweet taste but not even the slightest hint of seafood. Also, there are not much seafood ingredients other than the couple of items… but for $6.00, the portion is quite generous.

TOBIKO ($1.50), REAL CRAB MEAT ($2.00) AND AMAEBI NIGIRI ($2.00). 
The amount of rice served is ridiculous for AYCE, however, may be considered a good amount for a la carte so diners will be full. First, the tobiki has soft tiny crunches. Second, the crab meat has canned crab meat mixed with some mayonnaise and tastes a bit too heavy, I was not a fan. And last, the amaebi tastes slightly sweet but unfortunately the heavy amount of rice overwhelms the taste of the sashimi.

The portion of the salmon is the end piece which tastes very bland and is usually only used for rolls or spicy salmon. Also, the sashimi has no fattiness or butteriness and I assume the restaurant only serves the end pieces for AYCE because considering the a la carte price, it is pricey for only four pieces.

This was given to us by mistake and is actually the Hirame Sashimi Tower which usually costs $15.00-$19.00 if I remember (I used to always order this). The tower consists of real but packaged crab meat, sliced shiitake mushroom and cucumber, then topped with tuna and sockeye salmon sashimi. The only difference between the Hirame Sashimi Tower and the Shiitake Mushroom is that the tower has sashimi rather than the shiitake mushroom which has a higher and only a crab meat tower.

TORO SASHIMI  ($12.00). 
The toro sashimi is disappointing because the tendon was tougher than usual which made every piece taste very stringy. I was pulling out pieces of long floss which I never experienced before with every slice of sashimi that were three inches long, literally.

- Above average quality (usually)
- One of the better Japanese restaurants
- Lobster tempura!

- Small restaurant
- Pricey
- Service was better when it was just the owners and their daughter working
- Quality has gone downhill

- Never been to a restaurant when the staff would clean up the teapots without asking if customers wanted more tea and then cannot provide water as well because everything is "cleaned and closed"
- I recommend a la carte for groups of less than three but AYCE for those with six to eight
- Do not order too many rolls if you cannot finish them because we paid an extra $20.00 for two half finished rolls (we did not know rolls came in full orders)
- I recently found out about another Japanese restaurant in Langley, Tokyo Hon. Definitely recommended!

Food: 3/5
Service: 2/5

Hirame Sushi on Urbanspoon

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