It’s been a while since I’ve had any Japanese food. A while for me is two weeks, so something had to be done about it before withdrawal symptoms set in. I’ve been feeling under the weather for the last bit and felt pretty good this morning, after my first good night of sleep in nearly a week. I suggested to “Monk” that we go to Sushi California for lunch, when she mentioned that it looked like it was closed for renovations. I don’t know the details, but instead we decided to check out Sushi Town [2773 Barnet Hwy, #28, Coquitlam, (604) 552-6156] which was in the midst of our errand filled day.
We had been to Sushi Town in Burnaby a few months back and I think there are even locations in Surrey and North Van now. As we pulled up to the restaurant in our death trap, triple recall hybrid, I was feeling quite hungry. We walked in, it wasn’t too busy and was seated quickly. The first thing I noticed was the room was kinda nice. I don’t think I’ve ever thought that about a budget Japanese restaurant before, but it’s true. It was tastefully decorated in their bamboo motif, the room had high ceilings and was relatively bright with big windows facing Barnet Hwy. The bathrooms were quite clean and everything looked relatively new and clean. Heck, the menus were inside a menu cover and was not the usual dilapidated laminated paper.
We quickly ordered since both “Monk” and I were quite hungry. We ordered the hamachi collar, the double dragon roll, the red roll and some nigiri sushi. I ordered two pieces each of salmon, tuna toro, hamachi, taco, uni and tobiko with quail egg. Within a few minutes and in two different visits, the server informed us that they were out of the hamachi collar and uni. I told him it was fine, I took a look at the menu again and “Monk” proceeded to order a filet o’ fish roll through another server.
Within a few minutes, the nigiri sushi arrived and we started to tuck in. It was all good, but none of it was exceptional in any way. The toro was not very fatty, that was dissapointing, the rice was bulky, though still warm, very well seasoned and well cooked. The quail egg on the tobiko sushi was a gorgeous color and most definitely must have been free range. During the whole time we were eating the nigiri sushi, I was wondering what Sada-san and Tojo-san would say about my new found fondness of moderately priced sushi. I’m a firm believer in the overall concept of “you get what you pay for”, but as I was saying to “Monk”, I’ve derived equal enjoyment from a piece of uni sushi from Sushi California as I have at Tojo’s at three times the price. Yes, the uni sushi at Tojo’s was much more delicate, elegant and technically sound, but the big ass pieces of ultra fresh uni at Sushi California was kick ass in it’s own ”truck stop” way. Maybe I’m a closet redneck, maybe I’m not a sushi purist, maybe even though I think I’m quite a gourmand, I don’t know what perfect sushi is or should be. I think I’m going to stop thinking about it so much, not feel guilty about what’s proper and just eat and enjoy for now. Heck, wait till I start analyzing the sustainability issues and the Ocean Wise-ness of my favorite sushi restaurants and items.
OK, back to the food. After we ate the nigiri sushi, the red roll and double dragon roll arrived. Both were really good. I was quite surprised too, but they were both really tasty. The only thing they were lacking was more of a textural contrast. The red roll looked a bit like dog poo, but it was a nice balance of scallop, spicy tuna and cucumber. The double dragon roll was unagi inside and out and perfectly ripe avocado. I know, I know, how seasonal and local is avocado in Vancouver in February? Listen, I have enough stress in my life and I have tons of stuff giving me gray hair, so I’m not going to worry about this today either. I’ve got “Sales Mix” breathing down my neck about crepes or something and “Doc” telling me my blood pressure is rather exotic, so I’m going to enjoy my perfectly ripe avocado in February and get on with my life. Boy, I’m feeling rather “Holden Caulfield” these days, with one of my favorite authors J.D. Salinger passing away recently, so I’ll try to keep an eye on my rambling.
After we finished the two rolls, we asked the server if our filet o’ fish roll was coming and after checking, it was never ordered, so we asked for the bill and got on our merry way. Issue and concerns; it was rather disappointing to be 86-ed on uni and hamachi collar. Also the dozy servers and their inefficient ways was a bit of a downer. I was really interested in trying the filet o’ fish roll. Rumor has it that it’s composed of fried fish, lettuce, processed cheese and tartare sauce in a maki roll. How awesome does that sound? I would have liked to sample that bad boy. The un-toroness of the toro sushi was also saddening, but life goes on. On the upside, the room was refreshing and overall the food was good and a good value. Will I go out of my way to return? No. If I’m in the neighborhood and I’m looking for a sushi fix, I’ll know where to turn.
On my chef’s night out scale, Sushi Town (Coquitlam) receives 3/5 SOB (slices of bacon).