Saturday, August 30, 2014

Sushi Town : Coqutilam

The original Sushi Town restaurant is located in North Burnaby along Hastings street, and the small franchise has expanded to Coquitlam as well as North Vancouver. Back in my high school years, Sushi Town in Burnaby was the go-to place for large portions at a cheap cost. Also, I have never complained about the quality.

As for the location in Coquitlam, I have been here on three occasions. On the first visit, I took my parents here and bragged about how the portions are huge. However, my father was very unpleased because the sashimi did not taste fresh and the table setting was dirty, he is even pickier than me… We left the restaurant with only a few grabs from each dish and the car ride home was silent because he hates having low quality food. Many years later, I did not want to revisit because of the bad memory with my father LOL… but BF wanted to try this place out. The second visit was very similar to the first, but the ending was more "I told you so" and me gloating.

Fast forward to a couple of more years later, there was a third visit. This time, I needed an excuse to go to Coquitlam's T&T because after spending the whole day going to Richmond (Osaka and T&T), Downtown, 1st Avenue and Burnaby's T&T… NONE of them had ice cream mochi. WTF? I was desperate and really needed them, so we had to go to Coquitlam.

Sometime within the last few years, Sushi Town has renovated. The interior is nice and looks like Cactus Club, compared to the former cafeteria layout. We waited at the front for a while and noticed a sign to put your name down but despite doing so, the waitress seated the couple who arrived after us. Furthermore after seating them, she was about to seat another group of people who arrived after them! Fortunately, the group mentioned we were ahead of them.

The sashimi arrived within two minutes after ordering and as expected at Sushi Town, the slices are huge. Starting with the salmon, the portion is near the tail and tastes very bland. There is no flavour whatsoever and is just an unlucky draw.

As for the tuna, the sashimi should have been stored at a cooler temperature because there is a wet pool of water on the bottom. At first I thought the wooden board was not properly dried, but the water came from the tuna. It is such a shame because the tuna is fairly fresh and the water did ruin the sashimi.

MASAGO ($1.35), TAMAGO ($1.00) AND HAMACHI NIGIRI ($2.00).
A bit traumatized on a visit to a similar "fast food and large portion" Japanese restaurant Sushi California, we only ordered a bit of nigiri in cause they are heavy on the rice. Fortunately in this case, there is not too much rice and only a sticky and damp texture. As for the selections, the masago and tamago is very generic. Following, the hamachi nigiri filet is the proper portion and tastes fresh; however, the stretched sashimi for a larger appearance is very unappealing. Nevertheless, the freshness is there.

The "Awesome Roll" is a high school memory of mine and is Sushi Town's original roll. I looked forward to the roll because I have tried other variations in the last year at Tentatsu as well as Sushi &, but neither are the original roll and the restaurants tweak a bit here and there. Although if it was not for the high school memory of mine, I would never order the roll because I am not a fan of saucy dishes.

The awesome roll is a simple california roll that is topped with salmon sashimi, masago, bonito flakes as well as green onion, drizzled with Japanese mayonnaise and teriyaki sauce. Then, the roll is baked for a bit to cook the salmon.

The california roll which is topped with cooked salmon tastes good, along with the tiny crunches of masago and the flavour of the bonito flakes. Also, despite the overwhelming teriyaki sauce, the Japanese mayonnaise helps cut some of the sweetness. In the end, I would not order the roll again because it is not my type of thing, but it is great that after a couple of failed attempts to finally reminisce a high school memory of mine.

The beef teriyaki arrived on a sizzling hot plate and the thin slices of meat taste tender. As for the teriyaki sauce, it tastes rich and neither too sweet nor salty. Furthermore, the bean sprouts underneath are just cooked and have a soft crunch.

Knowing that we did not order much food, I needed another roll and went with the alaska. Again, this is another high school memory of mine. The alaska roll consists of avocado as well as cucumber, topped with salmon sashimi. Usually the alaksa roll is topped with Japanese salad dressing too, but I always ask for it on the side.

Avocado rolls are one of the trickier rolls to make sometimes because of the mushy and soft texture. In this case, I never knew if restaurants like Sushi California, Sushi Garden and Sushi Town make the avocados in the alaska rolls "mushy" deliberately?

Nevertheless, despite the unappealing  looking roll, the creaminess from the avocado along with the mix of Japanese mayonnaise and ponzu pairs well. If anything, how lazy can someone be to leave the skin on the sashimi? I mean, I do not expect quality here but even the rolls are poorly constructed. The rolls are not even round, are flat shaped on the bottom and are very loose.

TOTAL: $37.45 + TIP $ = $42.00.

Honestly, I thought Sushi Town would have improved. The restaurant continues to serve fast food sushi with very mediocre quality at best. How does the restaurant survive? Sushi Town serves its purpose in delivering food fast, large portions and a low price, and now has a nicer atmosphere. Having said that, I am curious to see if the location in Burnaby (or even North Vancouver) is better than this location. Sushi Town in Coquitlam seems to have always been below average.

As for the service, we did not need any. All the items arrived within ten minutes, BF had his pop on the table and I had a bottle of water in the car. If anything, I felt obligated to eat everything ASAP because it is my mentality when all the dishes arrive at once and got a stomachache after five minutes of eating LOL. However, for those who want to take their time and drink tea, may find it frustrating to wave someone down.

- Cactus Club atmosphere
- Large portions at a cheap price
- For those hungry and want food ASAP

- Technically worse than "fast food sushi"
- No service (although many people paid at the front)
- There are a few really good Korean operated Japanese restaurants, but the sushi chefs here are just university students

- Beef teriyaki (2.5/5)
- No toro or uni in our case, on a Monday evening
- We wanted to order the soft shell crab with tempura batter, but the crabs are already battered ahead of time with cornmeal

Food: 2/5
Service: 2/5

Sushi Town on Urbanspoon

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