Thursday, August 14, 2014

Ki Sushi

A few years ago, there was a Chinese dim sum restaurant called Dragon Palace. I remember the dim sum was not that bad and enjoyed their steamed barbecue pork buns. However, I guess the owners decided to close up the Chinese restaurant and expanded their Japanese restaurant which was next door to Dragon Palace, Ki Sushi.

There are quite a few Japanese restaurants in New Westminster but when looking through some photos online, not many seem above average. In addition, when looking for dinner after 9:00pm and without many choices asides from pubs or Boston Pizza, Ki Sushi it was. At first, I was kicking as well as screaming and tried my hardest to avoid come here because from what I remember, the food is pricey and not that great. But like I mentioned, there were not many options. 

Also, Ki Sushi is Chinese owned as well as operated and from my experiences, most Korean and Japanese run sushi restaurants are a lot better.

The interior is spacious and clean, with plenty of seating arrangements. When we walked in, a waiter seated us and brought over the menus. After a while, he came back to grab us drinks. Furthermore shortly after five minutes, another waiter asked if we needed drinks. So far, I thought the service was good. The staff was polite and more than one waiter came by to make sure we had drinks on the table.

After settling down, the sushi chefs were cleaning up the bar and we frantically looked for someone to take our order. I hate the idea of ordering sushi when the chefs are cleaning up because I do not want my food to taste soapy or have dirty water (based on experiences!). Fortunately though, a small section at the sushi bar had not been cleaned yet and our food was prepared from there.

We passed on the assorted as well as deluxe option (salmon, tuna, tai, hokkigai and tako) because the selection did not seem very appealing for the price, and went for the salmon and tuna.

Starting with the salmon, the sashimi tastes fresh and has a nice smooth texture. As for the tuna, the sashimi is slightly still frozen and at a good Japanese restaurant, a sushi chef will let the staff know so they can mention to customers that the sashimi should sit for a while (rather than us finding out ourselves). Nevertheless, the proper lower body portion is served and the sashimi tastes fresh. In addition, the slices of sashimi are huge and I never knew Ki Sushi was that type of restaurant (although sometimes I prefer smaller slices).

UNI ($2.95), AMAEBI ($2.95), TORO ($1.50), HAMACHI ($2.95), RED TUNA ($2.95) AND TAMAGO NIGIRI ($0.95).
First up, the red tuna tastes fresh and the cut is perfect. Perfect. Up next is the toro nigiri. Before ordering, I asked if the toro was fresh considering we have had five not so good experiences regarding toro in the last few months. When the waitress confirmed yes, I had to ask again and her answer did to change hehe. The toro tastes fresh as well as fatty, and is nicely sliced. Moving along, the tamago is actually housemade which surprised us. There is a slightly sweet flavour and although the taste is rather bland, the tamago does not taste watery like Sushiholic's. Plus, Ki Sushi is one of the few restaurants with housemade tamago (although it is is "meh").

Next up, the hamachi nigiri tastes bland but slightly buttery. The cut is the belly portion and when ordering nigiri, the proper hamachi burgundy cut is expected. Furthermore, not every belly portion of a fish means it is better (although the belly cut is better than an end portion like what we received at Sushi Bella). Following, the amaebi is nicely butterflied, tastes fresh and slightly sweet. Last up, the uni tastes very fresh (as packaged can get) as well as creamy, and has a nice clear taste along with that natural slightly burnt rice flavour. In addition, the restaurant uses a generous portion of whole slices of uni rather than loose and broken pieces. There is roughly around a large slice and a half in each order!

The soft shell crab has a light crisp batter and tastes juicy as well as flavourful. There is a nice natural flavour along with a slightly salty taste (in a good way). In addition, since Ki Sushi uses tempura batter rather than cornmeal, we did not need to request for a specific breading this time! 

The fried amaebi heads are served on the side and the restaurant removed the top shell portion of the head, which made it easier to scoop out the tomalley. This is a first at any restaurant and is very appreciated!

The scallops taste juicy and the bacon tastes very soft, tender as well as fatty. If anything, the skewers could have been grilled a bit longer for that nice charred flavour and also for the bacon to stand out a bit more. However, it is good enough and the scallops do not taste dry at all.

Not wanting to go for donburi or nabeyaki udon, we settled on the beef teriyaki. The slices of meat are thinly sliced and taste very tender. In addition, the teriyaki sauce tastes rich and neither watery nor too sweet. Also, the bean sprouts underneath are just cooked; not soggy nor mushy, and have a slight crunch. As for the rice, it could have tasted softer and tastes slightly a bit too hard, but it was fine.

For an additional $3.00, the beef teriyaki comes with a side of tempura. I was only expecting a couple of prawns and in reality was preparing to receive one prawn and a slice of potato. However, the side of tempura is better than what I expected! 

There is a great selection of prawns, green bean, squash, yam, eggplant and a white mushroom cap. The small prawns taste juicy as well as bouncy, and I appreciate the restaurant for not over stretching them. As for the rest of the tempura, the ingredients are lightly battered, easy on the oil and tastes flaky with a nice crunch, along with moist. The tempura is nicely fried and I like that not even one drop of teriyaki sauce is touching any piece.

When all the dishes arrived, a friendly waiter came by and asked if we needed anything else because it was last call. So, considering the selection of nigiri were pretty good with the exception of hamachi, the both of us ordered another round of amaebi, toro and uni.

AMAEBI ($2.95), UNI ($2.95) AND TORO NIGIRI ($1.50).
Everything tasted just as good as the first order and the uni is the best value we have come across, as well as the quality. I am not sure if the restaurant was trying to finish up the package of uni before closing, but this time around we received two large slices (cut in halves)! As for the rice throughout the nigiri, there is a nice balance and flavour of sushi vinegar, along with the perfect amount of rice. However, the formation could have been better because every piece was on the merge of falling apart. Also, the amaebi heads are not included with the second order? Perhaps because the kitchen was closing.

TOTAL: $87.15 + TIP $12.85 = $100.00.

Overall, the dinner at Ki Sushi surprised me. I remember coming here years ago and never thought the restaurant was anything special. Furthermore, I even thought the restaurant was on the pricier end and am wrong! The food tastes great and there are no complaints, asides from the hamachi and formation of the nigiri.

- Uni (4/5)
- Friendly staff
- Fresh sashimi and above average eats
- Reasonable prices and great value
- Easily one of the better Japanese restaurant in New Westminster

- Staff was hard to find (although someone did show up to mention it was last call)
- Nigiri was close to falling apart

- One of the better Chinese operated Japanese restaurants
- Most speciality rolls do not have a description
- Parking lot is small (although it was not an issue for us because we grabbed the last spot an hour before closing!)
- I would revisit and Ki Sushi will most likely be a regular Japanese restaurant for me whenever I am in New West or Burnaby. Totally regret not ordering the lobster motoyaki too…

Food: 3.5/5
Service: 2.5/5

Ki Sushi on Urbanspoon


  1. I totally agree that Ki Sushi is one of the better Chinese-run Japanese restaurants in GVRD. Gahhh ... looks like I missed out on the Toro during my visit!

    1. Yup! Even better than a few Japanese operated restaurants I have been to

  2. I always pass by Ki Sushi when going to Douglas for classes and wondered if I should give it a try. After reading your and Raymond's blog, I think it is time I paid them a visit! Thanks for the reviews.



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