Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Sushi Yoi

Finding a really good Japanese restaurant in North Burnaby is a bit harder than it looks, despite the plentiful supply of sushi restaurants in the area! Do not get me wrong, there are a few average restaurants that occasionally serves fresh (not the freshest) sashimi… but I need consistency. Revisiting a restaurant only to discover that the quality of food is not the same compared to a former visit (Sushi UOmo) is a big pet peeve of mine, and I am fairly selective towards Japanese cuisine. Why else would I revisit if it was not for the former positive experience, right?

So as I was looking through some Japanese restaurants in North Burnaby, Sushi Yoi caught my attention. No, the restaurant is fortunately not related to "Yo Sushi" In North Burnaby! The Chinese owned and operated restaurant is located near the Madison Centre, and is one of the newer restaurants in the area. What lured me in is a photo of their hamachi sashimi, which was uploaded on Urbanspoon from someone related to the restaurant. The photo shows hamachi at its best and with their reasonable prices, I declared the restaurant as a must visit.

I was really excited about trying Sushi Yoi too because asides from the aforementioned photo, the last sushi restaurant I went to a couple of days before was Sushi Hiro *cringe*. The interior of restaurant looks clean, modern and relaxing. The sushi bar is located at the back of the restaurant, there are booth seats along the walls, and the seating arrangements are not too tight. On our visit, the restaurant was not busy and the food arrived very fast, within minutes. This is always disappointing because I do not like too much food on the table at once, but it is understandable.

MISO SOUP ($1.85).
We ordered a bento box and a three item combo, which both includes miso soup. The miso soup is served hot, tastes rich, and includes tofu as well as green onion.

The three item combo costs $8.95 and one of our items includes the appetizer tempura (a la carte price is listed above). The selection includes a carrot, yam and prawns, which have a light flaky batter. Furthermore, the ingredients taste moist and the prawns have a nice snap.

UNI NIGIRI ($1.85).
Having learned our lesson from previous experiences, we only order one type of nigiri each rather than a couple in case the quality is subpar. In this case, the uni tastes as fresh as packaged can get. The uni tastes creamy, has a slight sweetness, and the whole slices are appreciated than loose packaged pieces. Also for that price? It is pretty cheap considering the quality is the same as many restaurants' that charge $3.00 +.

The bento includes tempura, a california roll, beef teriyaki, salad, a wedge of orange and miso soup.

Going for the main attraction first, the beef teriyaki is a let down. The slices of beef have both the appearance and taste of boiled meat. Why? In addition, the meat tastes dry but fortunately not too chewy. As for the teriyaki sauce, there is a nice flavour which is neither salty nor watered down. Sometimes I find it weird when Chinese operated Japanese restaurants fail in cooking… is it not usually the other way around? Good cooked dishes but mediocre sashimi and sushi?

The california roll tastes light on the mayonnaise and the avocado looks fresh. I am selective towards sushi rolls but when it comes with a combo, it is nothing but a great filler! As for the rice, there is a nice balance of vinegar but the texture is slightly too sticky (which I did not mind since again, I consider the roll a great filler).

Ending with the tempura, the selection includes a prawn, pumpkin and carrot. The tempura tastes exactly the same as the previous order, consisting of a light flaky batter and moist ingredients.

AMAEBI ($1.80), TORO ($1.35) AND HAMACHI ($1.80).
Other than the photo of the hamachi, there is a picture of amaebi with their heads attached so we ordered a couple of nigiri. However, the ameabi with heads may only be available for orders of sashimi since our nigiri arrived headless. Regardless, the medium sized amaebi tastes sweet and fresh. As for the toro, the generous cut tastes fresh and fatty.

HAMACHI (1.80$) AND ABURI TORO ($1.50).
Call me crazy, whatever... but having been traumatized on numerous occasions from being served hamachi that is not fresh, I asked the waitress if the sashimi is "brown" instead of red. She mentioned that she will ask the sushi chef but never got back to us, so I assumed everything was okay. Plus, remember how fresh the hamachi looked in the photo?! But when the nigiri arrived, I was a bit sad. The hamachi already oxidized which could have been prevented from proper storing, but a bit of the flavour of the sashimi is still there and in no way is it as bad as Hiro Sushi's.

As for the seared toro, we ordered two but fortunately only received one. The toro tastes over seared, dry and not tasty at all. I like aburi nigiri because asides from the seared flavour, the rice usually tastes very soft and delicious… but this is just meh. I do not even know what kind of sauce is used because the whole nigiri tastes dry and bland.

SALMON ($1.20) AND TUNA NIGIRI ($1.20).
About the three item combo, the other two items we selected are the salmon and tuna nigiri. For $8.95, this is a very good value considering that we also had an order of tempura! As for the taste, the salmon tastes a bit buttery and the tuna is very fresh. Moreover, the proper cut of tuna is served and there is an actual flavour. With regards to the nigiri, the formation is a bit loose so a couple of pieces almost fell apart but the rice is decent.

The deluxe sashimi is presented with slices of cucumber which I prefer more than lemon (since there is no acidity) and includes salmon, tuna, tako, hamachi, amaebi and toro. First up, the salmon sashimi tastes fresh along with a light butteriness. Following, I would have preferred the proper lower body portion of the tuna for a richer flavour, but the sashimi does taste fresh. However, the last piece is partially cooked and should not have been served. In addition, the cooked portion is turned around! This may be because the sushi chef improperly handled the sashimi as he was preparing a cooked dish.

Continuing along, the tako is pretty much perfect. I was literally just saying the day at Hiro Sushi that tako is supposed to be sliced long and thin, and this is it! The tako does not taste too chewy and there is a slight natural saltiness. As for the hamachi, the sashimi looks more fresh compared to the nigiri because the cut is from the other side that has not oxidized.

Next, the amaebi tastes fresh and sweet. I would have liked the heads to be fried, but meh. Ending the deluxe sashimi with the slices of toro, the sashimi taste fresh and fatty. However, there is too much chewy tendon which is not the restaurants' fault.

TUNA KATSU, "Tuna lightly deep-fried on the outside with avocado and tobiko on top, served with ponzo sauce" ($7.95).
The tuna katsu is very lightly deep fried as described, and has a nice crunch from the fry job along with soft crunches from the tobiko. Furthermore, the ponzu dressing provides a nice tang and there is a creaminess from the avocado. The tuna katsu overall is actually very well executed; the sashimi is the proper cut and very evenly fried. The quality is also better than the sashimi we had earlier and is at a perfect cool temperature.

TOTAL: $67.30 + TIP $10.70 = $78.00.

We packed some sashimi for home because I am not a fan of having improper cuts (tuna) or not very fresh sashimi (hamachi) and wanted to make albap the following day. Also because we ordered a bit too much food this time lol. As for the partially cooked tuna sashimi, not sure what happened there… Regardless, Sushi Yoi is worth visiting for those who live in the area. The restaurant offers one of the lower prices and some of the sashimi tastes fresh. We also ordered more uni again and took advantage of the daily special!

As for the staff, our waitress was friendly but could have been more attentive considering this is a newer restaurant. The food expedite was also too fast because the restaurant was not busy, which is understandable. But sometimes it is frustrating because I do not like having too many dishes on the table when dining for two.

- Low prices
- Great bento and combo values

- Poor aburi nigiri (0/5)
- Boiled meat in teriyaki?
- Partially cooked tuna sashimi

- Tuna katsu (3/5)
- Tuna nigiri (4/5)
- One of the better Japanese restaurants in North Burnaby

Food: 2.5/5
Service: 2.5/5

Sushi Yoi on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. 'Rico116' votes down other Japanese restaurants but votes themselves good…



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