Friday, September 19, 2014

Sushi Tengoku


After watching Sin City: A Dame to Kill for and disappointed we had regular seats instead of D-Box because we did go all the way to Langley for that… I let BF choose where to have dinner. Our two choices were between The Keg or Tokyo Hon. I mean, we can do better in Langley right? I like The Keg but would rather pass on a chain restaurant because we are in Langley! Despite that many Langley residents prefer chains… As for Tokyo Hon, the restaurant is great and it was another option because we stopped by Save On Foods which is very close by. But because I wanted to go somewhere new, I let him choose where in the end.

He has been eyeing Sushi Tengoku on three occasions now, once in Langley months ago and another time when we were at Guildford Centre (which has a horrible layout by the way). Since I really did not care which restaurant we went to because that would result in at least an hour of driving around, Sushi Tengoku it was.

This is a time when I wish I bothered to purchase a good camera because I cannot capture how nice the interior is. Sushi Tengoku is a large restaurant with a high ceiling and majority of the seating arrangements are booths. The interior is spacious and the cosmetics are nice, making Sushi Tengoku definitely one of the better looking Japanese cuisine restaurants.


LOBSTER ROLL ($7.99).
Due to being fussy, majority of the time there are not many sushi rolls I can order. Sometimes I feel obligated to order a roll and my first choice is always the lobster roll. My other choices would be something simple such as an avocado or mango roll, but I would not order anything with cream cheese or unagi. Fortunately, Sushi Tengoku offers a lobster roll which is not even on the menu. I felt bad asking if the restaurant offers one and was prepared for "no", but they do! Without knowing the price until after dinner, I hope we were not undercharged for the lobster roll and it was actually supposed to be $17.99? I mean, the price is cheap and even T&T sells frozen lobster tails for $6.99.

The lobster tail is lightly battered, tastes bouncy and the natural flavour is there. As for the other ingredients, the imitation crab meat along with the avocado provides some creaminess and the asparagus as well as the cucumber gives the roll a crunch. Teriyaki sauce is usually drizzled on the roll as well but I asked for it to be on the side. Without knowing the price ahead of time, we agreed that neither of us would want to spend more than $15.00 on the roll because the lobster tail is a bit small and the both of us have had better. Also as a personal preference, I did not like the asparagus because it made the roll too crunchy.

Like many restaurants, a miso soup is included with a purchase of teriyaki. The soup is served hot and there is a fair amount of seaweed, but no miso flavour. I personally would prefer nothing in the soup and have a rich miso broth.

BEEF TERIYAKI, GRILLED BEEF WITH VEGETABLE ON HOT PLATE ($11.99).
I have been on a good streak with beef teriyaki and never had any issues until now. The hot plate arrived sizzling but the beef was boiling! The kitchen cook basically threw a chunk of beef on the pan without separating the slices. This resulted in chunks of meat stuck together where the exterior is caramelized but the portions in the middle taste dry as well as chewy. Furthermore, the teriyaki sauce tastes runny and there is no flavour. Boiling meat is always a no-no!

DEEP FRIED SOFT SHELL CRAB ($9.95).
Sushi Tengoku uses tempura batter on the soft shell crab which is great because we did not need to make a special request. The restaurant also uses larger soft shell crabs and the appetizer is served with a side of salad.

In spite of the crisp exterior throughout the soft shell crab except for the bottom which is soggy, the crab is undercooked and semi raw. After mentioning this to the waitress, the kitchen microwaved the crab which really did not do anything and we just left it behind.

ASSORTED SASHIMI B, 18 PIECES  ($21.99).
The Assorted Sashimi B includes atlantic salmon, hokkigai, tuna, hamachi, tako as well as sockeye salmon and the price is a bit high for the selection. Beginning with the atlantic salmon, the sashimi tastes fresh and buttery. Following, the hokkigai counts as three pieces? The slices are in halves and there is only one and a half hokkigai. Nevertheless, the hokkigai is always generic, packaged, and has that natural sweetness along with a soft crunch.

Continuing along, the tuna tastes fresh and smooth but there is not much flavour because the upper body portion is served which is usually reserved for rolls or spicy tuna. Next, the hamachi is as fresh as the sashimi can get. The hamachi has that nice deep burgundy color and tastes fresh. Moving to the tako, the slices are a bit thick but not too chewy and have a soft crunch. Last up, the sockeye salmon has a nice lean taste and tastes fresh as well. All in all, the slices of sashimi are neither too big nor small but the selection could have been better considering the price.

SALMON ($1.75), TUNA ($1.75) AND HAMACHI NIGIRI ($2.75).
We wanted to order uni but surprisingly the waitress mentioned it is not in season. The day before, we actually purchased live sea urchin from the Fisherman's Wharf at Steveston (3 for only $10.00!). Asides from uni, we inquired about the amaebi and was told the restaurant only serves the small ones so had to pass. As for the nigiri, the selection is similar to the Assorted B Sashimi and the sashimi tastes fresh. In addition, the cut for the tuna nigiri is from the middle body portion and has a bit more flavour. As for the rice, there could have been a stronger hint of vinegar and the grains are slightly too hard.

TORO ($2.50) AND TORO YAKI, BBQ TUNA BELLY ($2.75)
The toro tastes fresh as well as fatty, and I like the addition of wasabi underneath because not many restaurants do that anymore. The wasabi flavour is a bit stronger than many restaurants' too. As for the aburi toro, the nice seared flavour is there and is naturally melt in the mouth. Although, there could have been some black pepper for that extra flavour and the nigiri filet is too thin. Furthermore, it is very overpriced for the mediocre quality.

TOTAL: $79.45 + TIP $12.55 = $92.00.

I am surprised to find out that Sushi Tengoku is a Japanese operated restaurant because overall the experience was a bit disappointing. The sashimi tastes fresh but the cooked items are not good, perhaps the dishwasher took over? I do not know how majority of the Japanese restaurants in Surrey are but there are a few good ones in Langley. As for the service, the staff is friendly but the booth seats make it a bit hard to grab their attention unless someone is passing by. We also ended up having to walk up to the counter when paying cash. In spite of that, our waitress really was friendly. When I requested for hot water, she asked if it is because of the caffeine and mentioned the restaurant serves corn tea which does not contain caffeine! This was great for me because I pass on tea due to the caffeine. If anything, she could have been a bit more informative and never got back to us about the price regarding the lobster roll. Also according to some photos online, the restaurant does seem to offer medium sized amaebi which we would have ordered if we were not misinformed.

POSITIVES
- Friendly staff
- Modern interior
- Fresh sashimi
- Japanese operated (for those who claim "authenticity" is better)

NEGATIVES
- The kitchen cook
- Semi raw soft shell crab is off putting
- Some items are a tad pricier than other restaurants
- Food can be better for a Japanese operated restaurant

Food: 3/5 (Cooked items 1.5/5)
Service: 2.5/5

Sushi Tengoku on Urbanspoon

6 comments:

  1. you're my fave blog! -wraithman

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I was actually referring to your amaebi photos in my post lol

      Delete
  2. Uni season for wholesale starts November in Vancouver. It is little diffrent with retails.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. May I ask where you got such information from?

      Delete
  3. It is running by koreans not japanese.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have heard that too but when I asked the owner, she said it was Japanese operated =\

      Delete

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