Saturday, December 28, 2013

Ebi Sushi Japanese Restaurant

All you can eat Japanese restaurants, I am a fan (of certain ones). First, expectations are not that high and if the food tastes above average, it is considered a bonus. Second, AYCE restaurants provides an opportunity to try a variety of items and only order a couple of pieces. Third, it is one of those restaurants for hungry customers who want food asap (me).

I have been to Ebi Sushi (previously E Bei Sushi) many years ago and never liked it (rolls and cooked foods were not that great). Why the sudden interest to visit? Because I like mirugai, amaebi and hamachi which I never did in high school. Coming on a weeknight around 10:00pm, we asked for a booth seat (considering the close to empty looking restaurant) and the manager was a bit hesitant until we persuaded her by saying we would be ordering off the deluxe menu rather than the late night. The restaurant has a variety of seating arrangements to satisfy almost every customer - seats by the sushi bar, tables at the front facing the TV, plenty of booth seating and lots of private rooms for larger parties. By the way, I never had a chance to post my first visit because the revisit was so soon after! That is a good thing right? I think the revisit was actually a couple of days after if not the day after, Sushi by Yuji. On the revisit, it was a weekend evening and I was surprised that we got a booth seat with no hesitations.

DELUXE $31.95 CHILDREN (4-9) $23.95, ADULT $24.95 CHILDREN (4-9) $16.95

The tuna tataki is evenly seared and tastes fresh with a light tasting sauce.

The avocado roll had mushy pieces of avocado on the first visit but it does not even matter since the roll tasted creamy as always. The soft shell crab in the spider roll tasted pretty meaty on both visits and lightly battered - I am surprised at the meatiness of the crab especially for an AYCE. The alaska roll tastes generic - imitation crab meat, avocado, salmon, topped with tobiko. The rice tastes pretty flavourful too - not overcooked and has a good amount of sushi vinegar.

BEEF TATAKI, SEARED BEEF. The beef sashimi tastes fresh as well as tasty but the slices are too big. One slice equals to four regular pieces! On the revisit, the presentation looked nicer and was topped with green onion, however, the slices were too big as well. Key point - beef sashimi tastes flavourful and fresh.

MISO SOUP AND MANGO PUDDING. Both of these items are not on the fill out sheet and customers need to order from the staff. The miso soup has a light miso taste, is served warm and does not taste overly salty. For the mango pudding, the pudding tastes watered down and "typical" or expected at an AYCE. Richmond Sushi is still my favourite for mango puddings and has one of the best.

All the sashimi tastes fresh and has nice smooth cuts. Starting with the tuna, the proper lower body portion is served and has a more flavourful taste with less tendon. Moving to the salmon, the sashimi tastes buttery and fatty. Next, the hamachi has a slight natural sweet taste and is very fresh with that nice deep red burgundy color. Continuing to the tako, the tako has a slight snappy chewy texture but is sliced a bit too big which makes it unappealing (for me). For the saba, the saba has the natural fishy as well as salty taste and some green onion and/or ginger would have been nice, however, at an AYCE? Not a big deal. Next, the hokkigai has a chewy snappy texture and is fun to munch on for "health" benefits. If I want to be picky, the hokkigai does look a bit smaller than usual considering they are packaged. Moving to the mirugai, the sashimi tastes fresh and has a delicious slightly sweet taste with a soft chewy snappy crunch. And last, the amaebi which tastes sweet.

The shark fin nigiri has a light sesame oil taste with packaged imitation shark's fin and jelly fish. Next, the lobster roll consists of packaged but real lobster meat which surprised me. And despite the somewhat saucy look, the taste of the lobster is there, mixed with a light mayo then topped with masago, and the portion of meat is pretty good! Continuing, the tobiko and masago are what it is, soft tiny crunches. As for the toro nigiri, the sashimi tastes fatty, fresh and creamy - pretty good. And lastly, the eel which tastes like unagi with unagi sauce (lol). For the sushi rice, the rice is tasty with a good amount of sushi vinegar. The only complaint would be that the rice was squeezed a bit too hard for the nigiris.

SALMON, TUNA, TAKO, HAMACHI, TAI, MIRUGAI AND SALMON BELLY. This is from the revisit and everything tastes fresh, just like the first visit. Tai was ordered by accident (none of us eat tai) and for the salmon sashimi that has skin attached, it is because it is the salmon belly cut - which tastes fatty and fresh. The only tiny complaint is the tako, the tako is sliced so thick as well as large - not appealing at all. The mirugai could have been sliced thinner too.

LOBSTER, MASAGO, EEL, INARI, SABA, TORO AND EBI NIGIRI. These are from the revisit as well. Inari is tofu skin that tastes slightly sweet stuffed with rice and I always love it. Next, the saba nigiri has forgotten green onion and/or ginger but again, no biggie. And for the toro, the slices of nigiri are large as well as thick, however, the toro does not taste fresh and tastes old as well as dry, with no fatty taste.

We wanted to order uni on the first visit but they were sold out. If uni is one of the reasons why you plan on visiting, I recommend calling in advance. Some of the nigiri has one whole piece of uni rather than broken pieces which is pretty good for an AYCE, considering that some restaurants serve cheaper loose pieces for $4.00/each. However, I was not a fan of these because although packaged like what most a la carte restaurants serve, the grade is a bit lower and I personally did not like the taste.

PRAWN TEMPURA. On the first visit, the prawn tempura had a really thick and not so flaky batter but the prawns tasted nice and bouncy. On the revisit, the prawns have a nice flaky batter but again, the batter is too thick and not tasty. The tempura did not taste too oily on both visits though. 

KAKI MOTOYAKI AND SMELT FISH. The restaurant uses half slices of canned oyster and the oysters do not have a strong canned taste. Also, the mayonnaise does not taste too heavy and the motoyaki tastes average, not bad. The only "issue" is the reused cosmetic oyster shells. I prefer the aluminum shells and find them more sanitary. For the smelt, the fish tastes crisp and tasty. On the first visit, they were over deep fried and dry.

The seafood udon has a light clear broth taste with a hint of sweetness and seafood taste, topped with green onion. The udon has a piece of salmon which tastes overcooked as well as slightly dry, and a slice of tako.

PAN FRIED VEGETABLES AND NEW YORK STEAK. The vegetables do not taste overly oily and has a nice buttery taste, the revisit was consistent too. On the second visit, we ordered the new york steak which tastes quite chewy and has an odd poached meat gamey taste, drizzled with some teriyaki sauce.
SAMMA SHIOYAKI. The fish tastes dry, stiff and has the natural salty taste. On the revisit, the fish tasted a bit better and less dry.

GRILLED LAMB CHOPS AND BEEF RIBS. The short ribs taste tender and has a nice flavourful slightly sweet marinade taste, these tasted consistent on the revisit. For the lamb chops, the meat has no seasoning or marinade and tastes gamey as well as overly chewy and tough. I think these are only available on the deluxe menu.

SALMON BELLY SHIOYAKI AND CHICKEN WINGS. On the first visit the salmon belly was deep fried, overly salty and tasted very hard. Luckily on the revisit, the belly tastes fatty, tender and very tasty. We did not order chicken wings the first time but did on the revisit. The wings have a nice crispy exterior and tastes flavourful and enjoyable, despite the dry tasting meat.

- Fresh, above average and nice decent thick slices of sashimi
- Service is friendly and somewhat attentive
- One of the better AYCE restaurants for sashimi

- Cooked foods can improve but acceptable for an AYCE
- Tempura batter is a bit thick

- Pay parking $2.50/hour
- Last call is an hour before closing
- Restaurant has AYCD pop and not everyone on the table has to drink pop, I like that
- Ebi Sushi is probably my second favourite AYCE (not a fan of the larger sized cuts of certain sashimi though) with Richmond Sushi at the top of the list
- Revisit was on a weekend, wonder if that was why some of the cooked foods tasted better than the first visit
- Does Ebi Sushi and BC Sushi have the same owners? One of the sushi chef works at both locations (but BC Sushi has a lower food quality compared to here)

Food: 3/5 (sashimi 3.5/5 for an AYCE)
Service: 2.5/5

E Bei Sushi Japanese Restaurant 一平料理 on Urbanspoon

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