Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Richmond Sushi (Revisit)

How can someone who is very picky about Japanese cuisine have Richmond Sushi as one of their favourite restaurants? Well, as surprising as it may sound… I get better sashimi from Richmond Sushi which is an All You Can Eat restaurant than at some Japanese run businesses! The reason is because since Richmond Sushi is constantly busy, there is never sashimi laying around and sitting there.

Richmond Sushi is a part of the Top Gun Group and there is another Japanese restaurant in Vancouver, Kingsway Sushi. Despite that both restaurants are affiliated, I find the quality regarding the sashimi a touch better at Richmond Sushi. The presentation usually looks nicer and the cooked items are more consistent too.

The restaurant is very large and spacious, with plenty of booth seating arrangements at the back of the restaurant and a couple of rooms suitable for large parties. I am pretty much here on a weekly basis and ironically the time I decide to blog about a revisit, we were seated near the front of the restaurant lol but meh. As for the service, the staff uses a PDA so the food comes out fast. This is great for those who are really hungry and the food is always served hot. If anything is ever luke warm, blame it on the front of the house staff!

ADULT $25.95 || CHILD (5-9) $12.95
DELUXE $34.95 || CHILD (5-9) $15.95
LATE NIGHT $14.95 || CHILD (5-9) $9.95

The avocado roll is always fresh along with ripe, and the fruit is never oxidized. As for the toro chop chop, it is essentially a mini ice cream scoop of toro mixed with green onions. Richmond Sushi does not offer toro sashimi and the restaurant uses the toro for the toro chop chop. This is worth mentioning because some Japanese restaurants do not even use toro in negitoro rolls, just the scraps of tuna. As for the taste, the toro chop chop tastes buttery and the green onion provides that refreshing flavour. Kingsway Sushi does not offer the toro chop chop.

Rating: 2.5/5.
The prawn tempura can taste good or only average, with the difference being the batter. In this case, the batter is a touch heavy but still tastes flaky and not oily one bit. Moreover, the prawns have a nice snap and the tempura sauce is always served warm.

Rating: 2.5/5.
Needing some fillers for AYCE, we usually order a few nigiri. Beginning with the inari, the tofu skin does not taste as sweet as I would prefer but there is a hint of sweetness. Following, the tamago is generic as always. As for the mirugai, the sashimi tastes fresh with a soft crunch  and there is that extra flavour from the seaweed. Further on, the hamachi is not a nigiri cut so there is less flavour but the sashimi still tastes fresh.

On the next row, the amaebi exhibits that natural sweetness and is nicely butterflied. As for the tuna, the middle portion is served and there is a light flavour. Following, the salmon tastes very buttery and fresh. Last up, the unagi is the cheaper variation and tastes a touch rubbery. With regards to the rice throughout the nigiri, there is a good vinegar ratio and the rice tastes soft. The formation is a touch stiff though and we have had better here.

Rating: 3/5.
The beef sashimi usually has a bright red color but despite the appearance, the thin slices of meat taste fresh and tender. As for the sauce, there is a sprinkle of green onion and a mild tanginess. Kingsway Sushi offers two types of beef sashimi, one with tataki sauce and a milder variation.

Rating: 3.5/5.
The time I decide to blog about a revisit to Richmond Sushi, we receive the tail portion of the hamachi lol. This is unfortunately a first for me but regardless, the hamachi tastes fresh and buttery. The hamachi also tastes better than the last restaurant I went to and this is the tail portion which should have less flavour! As for the tuna, the proper lower body portion is served so the sashimi tastes very rich. Following, the large amaebi tastes sweet and not gooey one bit. As for the hokkgai, there is the usual soft crunch and mild sweet flavour.

Following, both types of salmon sashimi taste fresh. The sockeye has a rich lean flavour and the atlantic tastes fresh along with buttery. As for the priciest item on the plate, the mirugai tastes fresh as always and exhibits a soft crunch. For those who like mirugai, one of the main reasons I prefer Richmond Sushi more than Kingsway Sushi is that the latter serves the inside portions which should never be a sashimi cut.

Rating: 4.5/5.
This is from another visit and I honestly laugh at how this plate can easily cost $40.00 at another restaurant. Look at the quality too! The hamachi is as fresh as the sashimi can get and exhibits that rich dark burgundy color, no BS oxidized brown crap here. Furthermore, Richmond Sushi uses large amaebi instead of the baby sizes.

Rating: 4.5/5.
Another photo from a different visit, exhibits every type of sashimi as fresh as it can get. I only recommend Richmond Sushi for those who like sashimi however, because the cooked items are not as good. In addition, I only recommend the restaurant to those who like "pricier" sashimi such as hamachi, amaebi and mirugai because considering the higher AYCE prices, sometimes a la carte may be more worth it at other restaurants. As for myself, I only come here after trying a mediocre Japanese restaurant or when I need a good sashimi fix.

Rating: 3.5/5.
The tuna tataki tastes fresh and is evenly seared. The nice thin slices also taste rich because the sashimi cut is served. As for the sauce, there is a light tang and hint of garlic.

Rating: 4/5.
Another reason I like Richmond Sushi more than Kingsway Sushi is because the restaurant offers salmon belly! This is one item that can be inconsistent but when it is well executed… oh man, so tasty. The salmon belly is just cooked, tastes very fatty and tender. Everything practically melts in the mouth except for the skin, which I leave behind lol.

Rating: 3/5.
I am not a big fan of udon because most restaurants' I have tried are only average, but the broth at Richmond Sushi is surprisingly good. There is a rich udon flavour and a hint of dashi, without tasting heavy on the salt. I like the broth more than the noodles along with beef, and actually leave the ingredients behind LOL. The noodles are always slippery and well cooked, where the thin slices of beef taste tender too.

Rating: 3/5.
The presentation of the sunomono does not look as pretty as usual, but meh. The noodles are nicely cooked and there is a rich tang.

The oyster motoyaki is served in disposable aluminum containers which I find sanitary compared to using faux oyster shells. There is a light mayonnaise flavour and the taste from the canned oysters are not overwhelming.

Rating: 3/5.
The black cod is another must order at Richmond Sushi. The fish tastes very buttery, soft and melts in the mouth. In addition, there is a hint of sweetness which does not overwhelm.

Smelt is another inconsistent item here, where sometimes there is no batter and occasionally there is. In this case, the smelt tastes dry.

Rating: 3/5.
My friend ordered this and I was thinking psh… vegetable udon? I really wanted soup however so stole it from him and wow, the broth tastes great. There is a rich udon broth, but also the addition of a nice settled vegetable taste. The vegetables are actually cooked with the broth for a fused flavour and I did not expect that.

As the name suggests, the mussels are buttered up and topped with garlic. Best when eaten hot, the mussels taste buttery along with juicy and have a rich garlic flavour.

Rating: 1/5.
Yeah… remember the inconsistency regarding the cooked salmon belly? This is the perfect example. The salmon belly is overcooked, has a crunchy exterior and tastes dry.

Rating: 4/5.
Wanting a better cut of hamachi and hoping another table finished the tail portion, I ordered one piece of sashimi for round two. The hamachi tastes as fresh as the sashimi can get, but it is still not the desirable cut that I wish for. Meh, it is an AYCE restaurant and I have had worse at a la carte restaurants. Fortunately though, the mirugai sashimi made up for it. The mirugai is honestly the best cut and I have never had this portion at the restaurant before! I bet the staff usually keeps it for themselves… The mirugai tastes fresh, slightly sweet and delicious. As for the amaebi, the pieces are large, sweet and fresh like always.

The dessert is served hot and has a rich mango tapioca flavour, along with a nice surprise of black sesame in the middle. Sometimes the staff forgets to provide a spoon on the side.

One of my favourite complimentary mango puddings (another being Pelican's) is from the Top Gun Group. The mango has a rich taste and a mild level of sweetness. Sometimes I question whether real mangos are involved because occasionally I see a mango fibre.

Deciding to try the agedashi tofu for the first time, it is pretty good. The tofu is lightly fried and there is a good amount of sauce. The sauce has a hint of sweetness and the tofu exhibits a nice light crisp exterior.

TOTAL: $68.95 + TIP $11.05 = $80.00.

Since we have a Top Gun membership card, the deluxe menu is only $31.50 instead of $34.95. But even with the discount, it is hard to believe AYCE restaurants can be up to $80.00 for two people these days because considering for the same price, you can try any Japanese restaurant. However, Richmond Sushi is still my go-to on a weekly basis because this is one restaurant I can rely on for fresh sashimi (as odd as it may sound). As for the cooked items, most of the time the food is good. Only one out of five visits the cooked food is mediocre, which unfortunately happened this time. There are also a variety of dishes on the menu including the usual LA cut ribs, wings, tonkatsu, etc…

As for the service, majority of the staff are friendly and the ladies are especially attentive. With regards to this visit, it was oddly the best service we had. There were plenty of plate changes too which rarely happens. Perhaps because we seated near the front of the restaurant?

- Friendly staff and owners
- Quality and fresh sashimi
- Restaurant is not cramped
- For those who like mirugai, hamachi and amaebi

- Cooked items are a gamble
- On the pricier side especially for AYCE

- Post on Kingsway Sushi [here]

Food: 3/5 (Sashimi 4/5)
Service: 3.5/5

Richmond Sushi on Urbanspoon

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