Friday, October 17, 2014

Kaya Japanese Restaurant (2nd visit)


Generally I choose not to blog about restaurants when I have a meal with my family or a group of friends. The reason is because I am spending time with good company rather than for the purpose of eating. Plus, considering the amount of food I order with just BF… imagine how much dishes there are with more people! Another reason is also because I tend to visit my regular restaurants with family and friends rather than trying somewhere new.

However, Kaya Japanese is an exception. My family and BF travelled forty five minutes just to come here because my first experience was great; food and service wise. Our waitress followed up with our dishes a few times and always asked if we needed more drinks. Most importantly, the food was good too! I practically raved about the restaurant on my first blog post. Although unfortunately, the staff from my first visit was not here this time around and our experience was a negative one.

Walking to the front doors, I noticed a sign on the right door. There is a sign that mentions which door to open now… so no more getting yelled at by the staff as a welcoming! After seating, my father did not bring his reading glasses and asked the waitress what the meaning of a Chinese character on the cup was. Surprisingly her response was, "Why? Why are you asking me?" in a rude tone of voice. She could have easily mentioned that she cannot read Chinese instead, or fake her customer service skills and talk in a "happier" tone of voice, like she is shy and was curious to know why he asked.

Furthermore when the waitress brought over the table setting later on, she did not even bother serving the plates and side bowls to us. She just plopped them on the table and walked away. Not much service so far…

KIRIN, LARGE ($8.95).
My father ordered a Kirin for himself and shared a bit with my mother who only drinks wine. When I tried a sip, I was pleasantly surprised. The flavour is smooth with a hint of sweetness, and the alcohol taste is not strong.

Fifteen minutes after the Kirin arrived, my father was presented with edamame beans. The edamame is served warm and lightly salted, but not fresh. The beans are mushy and soggy.

Shortly after half an hour of ordering… one of the appetizers arrived. Everyone had dinner before coming here except for me and I thought the appetizer tempura would be enough for me, but it was not! I wish I ordered a larger portion considering it did take thirty minutes to arrive, with only ONE other seated table of three in the restaurant. 

The tempura is lightly battered, flaky and the ingredients taste moist. The prawns have a nice snap and the only issue would be the yam, which tastes undercooked, hard and crunchy. The other ingredients are broccoli, pumpkin and eggplant.

I am oystered out from Rodney's so my parents had a couple each. From what they said, the oysters taste fresh, plump, juicy and well shucked. I was a bit surprised the restaurant does not have tabasco sauce and uses rooster instead, but my parents said the flavour is not too strong.

Father ordered another beer and went for the Sapporo, I found the flavour spikier and not as smooth. My mother likes the carbonated flavour more so enjoyed the Sapporo over the Kirin. As for father and BF, both agreed Canadian Sapporo has no flavour and looks darker compared to the ones from Japan. Then they reminisced about how the ones in Japan are better and more flavourful, yada yada. No edamame beans for the second order of beer though! Not like we are missing out anyways...

The hama roll is a lot smaller than the  one from my previous visit and the sauce is very runny. When picking up a piece of sushi, the ponzu dressing kept dripping so we had to use our plates to catch it. As for the soft shell crab, it tastes slightly undercooked and lacks that soft crunch. There is also no flavour from the tuna tataki or a seared taste, and the sashimi tastes dry. The roll overall tastes bland, mushy and slimy from the ponzu. In addition, the rice tastes very hard and most of the pieces fall apart.

When the assorted sashimi arrived, it was a huge disappointment. For $36.00 this is a very poor selection and on the previous visit, both the quality and variety was much better. This order includes two slices of hamachi compared to three on the former visit, and no saba or toro. Instead, the sushi chef decided to replace saba and toro for chopped scallop? A very stingy move. It would have also been nice if there were four slices of each type of sashimi and the less favourable selections (ebi and chopped scallop) to be omitted. We actually received less items compared to the former visit and there are double the people this time!

Starting with the basics, the sockeye and atlantic salmon along with the tuna sashimi tastes average. The slices are also fairly small and "quality over quantity" is not the case here. Following, the tako and hokkigai taste generic but are properly rinsed. Continuing along, the amaebi tastes a bit gooey and lacks that soft crunch. As for the tuna tataki, the cooked portion tastes chewy and the sashimi is fairly bland.

SEAWEED ($0.50).
We requested for seaweed for the scallop, chopped scallop and ikura like the former visit. There was a charge for the seaweed this time around though, which is fine but could have been mentioned.

These were a hit on the previous visit! But, not this time around. The chopped scallop tastes overcooked and very dry along with rubbery. In addition, there is no crab flavour this time and the sauce tastes like a generic mayonnaise.

Finishing the dinner with the nigiri, every piece is poorly constructed. The rice is not skillfully put together, is poorly cooked, poorly seasoned and falls apart. Actually, the rice crumbles apart! In addition, the rice tastes bland, old, stale and dry. Eventually we had to bring our plates to the side to catch each piece. BFs hamachi and amaebi fell on the table and I gave him a couple of glares lol. I guess this time I cannot really blame him because it is not his fault.

AMAEBI ($2.15).
Beginning with the amaebi, the prawns have a light sweetness but do not taste fresh and are slimy. The soft crunch is missing too.

TORO ($1.75), TUNA ($1.65) AND SALMON ($1.65).
Following, the toro could have been more fresh and tastes dry. Not fatty one bit. As for the tuna and salmon, generic with no complaints (except for the rice).

UNI ($3.00).
Continuing along, the uni tastes great and was a favourite (as well as an accept item) of the night! The uni tastes fresh (as packaged can get), slightly sweet and there is a fair amount. Some have whole slices of uni while others are broken pieces and there is a nice creaminess.

HAMACHI ($2.55).
Last up, another favourite of the night is the hamachi. The hamachi has a beautiful burgundy color and tastes fresh along with buttery. If only the rice tasted better and the nigiri held its shape.

Kaya Japanese seems to be an inconsistent restaurant and essentially what I am saying is, the staff from the former visit was much better! The quality of the food is not comparable to the former visit and our waitress? Wow, a typical Korean cuisine restaurant staff. Usually Korean operated Japanese restaurants have friendly staff and Korean cuisine restaurants do not, but this was not the case.

Our waitress was not friendly, did not clear finished plates or empty bottles, and never bothered asking once if we needed more tea or water. What is she here for? We also had to ask her to remove empty plates while she tried squeezing new dishes on the already full and cramped table. Even after paying for the bill, she did not bother clearing the table! I am embarrassed to invite my parents here and am happy everyone already ate, because the food was below average (with the exception of uni and hamachi). Furthermore, I paid for the bill behind everyone's back and was firm on only tipping 10%, but $13.00 is not bad for doing nothing. Oh yeah, the restaurant was not even busy! If anything, I like how the bill mentions how much the meal would cost per person. For the same price, Richmond Sushi is an all you can eat restaurant that serves good quality sashimi and money is better spent there than here. Plus, there is unlimited amaebi, hamachi and mirugai at Richmond Sushi!

- Fresh oysters

- Horrible sushi rice
- Below average food
- Waitress is not friendly
- Service is non-existent
- Food expedite is very slow

- Sushi & and Hanamori in Burquitlam is worth the ten minute drive from Kaya Japanese

Food: 2/5
Service: 2/5

Kaya Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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