Monday, June 2, 2014

Noma Sushi Japanese Restaurant

Noma is located in Langley at what appears to be a newer developed area, Willoughby Town Centre, along with stores such as Shoppers, President's Choice and Mattu's Coffee & Tea. The reason for visiting Noma is quite silly actually. We only came here because I wanted to take a photo of my Louboutins with their koi pond! That is a painting on the floor… not a real one. In addition, to make the drive to Langley seem more purposeful, we went to see Godzilla after at the Colossus (DBX which is way better than VIP!).

Asides for a photo of my Louboutins, the photos of the interior which are posted online lured me in as well, mainly because of the koi whirlpools painted on the floor. The restaurant has a high ceiling and a clean simple interior. As for the seating arrangements, there are a few seats by the sushi bar, around ten tables, and outdoor seating is available as well. Actually, it was a bit annoying that the side door was left open (which is understandable) because the dandelion fuzzes kept flying in and could land on the food. Either way, it was fine because eventually we were moved since the table was too small for our order.

When we walked in, there were four seated tables and by the time we finished ordering, no one had food on their table. Everyone seemed to be waiting quite a long time for food and the restaurant may have the wrong concept. Some restaurants think just because customers are at the restaurant, they can wait to eat. And for those grabbing pick up, can come and leave right away, which was the case. But, a good system is to always take care of the appetizers and give customers something to munch on. Speaking of appetizers, twenty minutes after ordering, we received our order of soft shell crab.

Before deciding on the appetizer, we noticed the soft shell crab is slightly pricer than many restaurants. In addition, since the restaurant is Korean operated and we are not a fan of the type of breading, we requested for no batter. At first it was confusing since the waiter did not know what breading or batter was, and after mentioning flour a few times, he understood. Furthermore when the dish arrived, he confirmed if it was what we wanted which is very nice of him. As for the soft shell crab, it is the smallest one we have ever seen. And twenty minutes for one that is not even breaded? When the restaurant is not even half full? That is quite a long time. As for the taste, it is not over-fried and tastes a bit moist, although it would have tasted juicier as well as meatier if it was not so small.

The nabeyaki is served boiling in a stone bowl and consists of two prawn tempura, Shanghai bok choy, an egg swirl along with Chinese mushroom and an egg, as well as generic frozen octopus, mussel and squid. As for the soup base, it has a nice seafood udon broth taste with a hint of seaweed, along with perfectly cooked noodles. To compare, Tokyo Hons' in Langley does taste better because the seared chicken makes a huge difference, compared to Nomas' small pieces of chicken thrown in which tastes dry. However, the broth is what matters to me the most, and Nomas' does not taste bland or salty.

After a long wait for the food to arrive and not very impressed with the soft shell crab, the mango and avocado roll which eventually arrived did not help. Rather than fresh, the restaurant uses canned mango which tastes sweet as well as syrupy, and resembles the taste of canned peaches. However, the roll is properly made and the rice is not pressed into the seaweed. 

Since the food was taking extremely long, the kitchen sent every table an order of potato croquette and apologized for the delay. To be honest, we should have turned it down since neither of us are fans. But, I was selfish, hungry, wanted a bite and ended up wasting food. The croquette has a light crispiness (not a hard crunch) and the potato filling tastes moist. On top of that, the potato croquette does not taste oily at all.

While ordering, the waiter seemed annoyed when we asked what was included in the deluxe assorted sashimi and he responded "salmon and tuna". After confirming if it was just salmon and tuna, I think he felt bad and went to ask the sushi chef. When he came back, he mentioned all the sashimi on the menu and we requested to omit ika and/or tai. However, when the sashimi arrived, tai was overlooked and the waiter mentioned it was fine for us to keep the sashimi. But, because neither of us like tai and did not want to waste food, we insisted for the kitchen to take it back.

Starting with the red tuna, unfortunately we received a cut closer to the tail end which tastes like how it looks. Chewy with lots of tendon, without much taste. And although some restaurants choose not to serve this cut as sashimi (usually it is used in a roll or tossed in udon), to be fair, someone has to eat it which I guess was us… Next, the tuna is served at a nice cool temperature and does not taste mushy. Further on, the white tuna which is actually escolar, tastes buttery as well as soft, and has a nice thickness. Although try not to consume too much because of the possible "sickness" after.

Moving along, the salmon tastes buttery despite that a part of saran was still attached. Further on, the hamachi is as fresh as it can get. Perhaps since the restaurant is located in Langley and hamachi may not be a first choice of sashimi, I swear the restaurant just opened the package! Last up, the sockeye salmon tastes flavourful and has a heavier "wild salmon" taste compared to most restaurants.

TORO ($1.95), HAMACHI ($2.50), AMAEBI ($2.25), SALMON ($1.75), TUNA ($1.75) AND SABA ($1.95) NIGIRI.
First up, the toro tastes fresh as well as fatty, and the slices are not too thin. Next, the salmon is close to the belly cut which tastes fattier, and no complaints with the tuna. Following, the saba has a light pickled taste and the green onion is appreciated.

Oh. My. God. The hamachi. This is such a rare cut of hamachi because most restaurants save it for themselves LOL. Seriously. So we were quite surprised when the restaurant served this cut. The hamachi tastes flavoursome and more rich, compared to other cuts. .

Finishing last, the amaebi tastes fresh along with a slight sweetness, and is nicely butterflied. As for the rice throughout the nigiri, no complaints. The rice is perfect, not mushy, has a proper formation and a good balance of sushi vinegar

One of the sushi chefs brought over an order of tuna tataki as a replacement for tai in the deluxe assorted sashimi, and mentioned he hopes we will enjoy it. The tuna is evenly seared and the flavourful charred black pepper taste was the highlight for me. As for the tataki, it has a light taste of sesame oil along with soy, and there are a few slices of fresh as well as ripe avocado. The tuna tataki tastes pretty good, and I would order it separately.


Never reading the description on the menu, I immediately went for the lobster roll. But, it is just not a lobster roll, the sushi is topped with chopped scallop as well. And, neither of us like chopped scallop (to be fair, most do). As for the roll, unfortunately the chopped scallop overwhelms the taste along with the texture of the lobster meat and to compare, I prefer Toyko Hons' more because the butteriness from the lobster was highlighted. In addition, the roll comes with yam flakes which we asked to be omitted.

TOTAL: $90.90 + $13.10 = $104.00.

After seating and ordering, I felt kind of selfish for choosing to have dinner at Noma just for a photo of my heels on the floor (also since I was responsible for visiting four not very good restaurants in a row) because the service was not very welcoming or friendly. Furthermore, the open door which let the dandelion puffs come in and potentially land on the food, did not go well with BF. Also, the soft shell crab, mango and avocado roll, and red tuna were not a good start.

However, half way through dinner, our waiter was a lot friendlier and more welcoming. He even ended up bringing six cups of hot water throughout the dinner since, well, I drink a lot, and frequently followed up with us. In addition, he was surprised at the amount of food the two of us could eat. Overall, we thought the food would not be so great but most of it was properly prepared.

In addition, although I would like to give a rating of 3/5 because the staff was more welcoming towards the end of dinner, I cannot be biased because most of the dishes were only average. Furthermore, the small soft shell crab, canned mango, plastic on the sashimi and the horrible cut of red tuna, makes the restaurant only average. But, it is a good restaurant for those in the area because keep in mind, we travelled to get here and are not Langley or Surrey residents.

- Fresh sashimi
- Friendly staff (although not until half way through dinner)
- Unique interior and the effort shows
- Better than some restaurants in Vancouver

- Slightly pricier
- Canned fruit rather than fresh
- Suran on the sashimi
- Portion of red tuna served as sashimi

- While posting the description of the dishes on the menu along with the prices, I noticed the restaurant offers lobster motoyaki!… Pretty upset we did not see that on the menu
- We prefer Tokyo Hon in Langley more (value, quality and service wise)
- I would revisit after trying out a few more restaurants in Langley and if I get bored of revisiting certain ones

Food: 2.5/5
Service: 3/5

NOMA Sushi Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. I'm going to try this place tonight!
    I'm actually surprised you like Tokoyo Hon as they have some of the worst sushi and prices I've experienced. Not to mention over the years their amount of food has decreased, as well as their taste, and the price has gone up. It's kinda gross.
    A great sushi place is Damiko in south Surrey or Langley. There's also a lovely sushi place in Abbotsford in Clayton that was also amazing. Would highly recommend those over Tokoy hon any day.



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