I have a secret to share with you, but you have to promise not to reveal it to anyone else.
Well, if you love sushi, then you’re going to want to pay close attention to the following information I’m going to impart to you.
When it comes to food, authenticity tops my list, next to quality, quantity and of course cleanliness. So when you’re thrown into the chaotic sushi scene that makes up Vancouver and its surrounding neighbourhoods, you may find it difficult to find a regular haunt to call home. But when you find it, you damn well don’t want the diners and patrons to ruin the ambience and very existence of a great, yet affordable eatery.
This is the kind of place that has the blogging world in a bit of a tale spin. It has gone through all the names of initially being: a hole in the wall, hidden gem and of course more recently has received mixed reviews on not living up to expectation otherwise known as the tall poppy syndrome.
Without knowing too much about the history of the store, rumours have circulated that the chef himself ‘apparently’ worked for a large hotel in Japan, moved to this great little city we love to call home and established a very much loved sushi restaurant to put his kids through school. Who knows if this rumour rings true, however, what is genuine, comes out of the kitchen and onto your table in a matter of minutes from ordering.
Now we’re talking ‘close to the stuff you would get in Japan’ sushi, not the fusion rolls smeared in cream cheese, thrown in a vat of oil and deep fried or worse yet…the kind that comes with a Chinese accent.
For only 4 hours and 45 minutes a day, this restaurant opens its doors to a long line of clientele who brave the winter rain, cold and snow for clean cut sushi with consistently friendly yet slightly abrupt service, and lack of complimentary miso soup which is made up through the free refills of Japanese tea.
If you are going to take my advice and join in the fun at this very well known Japanese eatery, there are certain rules to live by. Everyone knows about this tiny place that only seats about 20 people at a time. You’ll find anyone and everyone dine here and quite frankly they all contribute to the downfall of the restaurant. The line up starts before the doors open, for some strange reason the staff don’t like to fill up seats when considerate customers leave upon eating, but rather rely on sessions to turn over tables and if you awfully unlucky and hungry, you’ll find yourself waiting amongst famished diners waiting for your name to be called for more than 30 minutes.
The restaurant cries out for a revamp to stop the devil coming out of me each time I dine here. It’s highly disturbing waiting in line watching a family of three take up four seats at the sushi bar with their baby pram propped up on two chairs; there’s no excuse for a bunch of girls occupying a table for almost an hour with only the attention of eating a $2 roll per pretentious mouth; and to every patron who treats this restaurant as a place to have a beer, chill out and relax at, order, eat and get out in a fast and efficient manner without choking on the long strands of seaweed. And no, to the girl who brought a book to read – notice the stairs peering over at you through the window and chow down before some hungry fiend goes nuts from waiting.
You would be hard pressed to find any other Japanese eatery that provides the freshness and efficiency of a sushi bar – without the conversation or over priced Omakase menus currently sweeping the nation – combined with the delicious and well executed hot food and appetizers that come out of their hidden but undoubtedly well kept kitchen. Taking the queue from a table of Japanese diners, don’t go for the rolls and other fillers that are there to trick and feed hungry white folk, spend some time scanning the menu and order the Agendashi tofu, House salads, Yakinasu and of course the Ika… you won’t regret it. Chase this with a plate or two of well presented Tempura (on a good day) and finally get ready for a bounty of fresh Nigiri and Maki Rolls. I’ll leave the ordering up to you.
181 E 16th AvenueVancouver, BC V5T4R2Tel: (604) 874-5173