Wow! Sorry for not posting in a while, final week of classes are intense! I might disappear for the next little bit as well because of finals and a long 3-week journey with Lilo & huneybear. Anyway, back to the post!
Sushi Garden! This is one of my favourite places for cheap and yummy sushi. It is owned by Koreans not Japanese people and the service mostly is good but they are always busy! In this review I’ll be talking about both locations.
Let’s start with the original location on Kingsway (South location). I don’t prefer to come here because there is minimal parking in the back and it is very very tight. I’m always worried that I’d hit someone else’s car or someone might just back into me. The street parking (pay parking) is a hit and miss too because there are a lot of shops and restaurants along this stretch that also only have street parking. Not to mention that Kingsway is a crazy busy street.
Besides from parking, once you get in, remember to leave your name at the front where the cash register is. That is because if you wait by the door, you’ll never be seated! (I did this before =3=)
Let’s start with the food! Me and my sister went out one weekend and got the following:
Ebi sunomono! It has two pieces of shrimp, red cabbage, cucumber and carrots and a slice of lemon over some noodles in a sweet vinegar-y sauce. The shrimp were firm and the veg crunchy. I think the lemon is mainly for show because I found the sauce tart enough. It was very appetizing because of the sweet and sour mixture. The noodles were just right, not melting and not overly firm. I enjoyed this and would order it again if the mood strikes me. :)
Half order of the Spicy Salmon Sashimi. It comes on top of shredded daikon radish and is cubes of salmon and cucumber mixed in a sweet but very spicy sauce. Green onions, a wedge of lemon and the pink pickled ginger accompany the dish. I love love love this dish. I order this almost every single time I’m here, and when I don’t order it I feel like I’m missing out! I used to not like spicy foods, but this dish really taught me how to appreciate it. The spiciness level starts off soft because of the sweetness, but as you devour more and more of the dish, it will start to bite back. To counteract this, use the lemon or eat some of the daikon. The sauce makes the daikon taste wonderful! Don’t worry about not tasting the salmon, because even though it is coated with the sauce, you can still taste it. The cucumber however does not have any flavour besides the sweet spice. I find the difference in texture between the softer salmon and crunchy cucumber to be a very interesting and so always finish up the whole dish.
To satisfy my sister, we also ordered the crab <3 papaya roll (left) as well as the ebi roll (right). The crab <3 papaya roll has 2 fried imitation crab sticks with cucumbers, a piece of papaya (yellow) and mayo. I really like the sweetness from the papaya and mayo with the fried imitation crab. To give the roll more texture, the cucumbers were a nice touch, everything else is soft in comparison. The ebi roll has two of my sister’s favourite things, shrimp and egg (tamago). This is also a savoury roll with a hint of sweetness. The shrimp again was firm and on top of the roll only. There was some tamago (which is like sweetened rolled egg omelette) and cucumbers. The tamago is not bad and I have added this roll to my long list of favourite rolls at Sushi Garden.
Moving on now to the Lougheed location, I mainly come here with work buddies and over two occasions ordered the following:
The Mentaiko Udon. This is a garlicky, creamy, warm udon that is not in a soup. It is made of basically spicy cod roe. I found an awesome recipe here for those of you who want to try it at home. You can find mentaiko at the freezer section of some Asian stores. The Sushi Garden version comes with chopped spring onions and nori. I really love this dish (and I think Lilo does as well!), because it is creamy, salty and I think garlicky. It’s like udon with a garlic alfredo sauce but with fish roe that you can actually see! So good! Try to order it if you go to Sushi Garden.
On another outing, I ordered the assorted sushi combo. This is kind of expensive, I think it came out to be around $13. It was the standard assortment of nigiri and roll sushi. Not terribly exciting, I like Sushi Garden’s raw seafood because they don’t have a weird slimy after taste and the fish aren’t hard as ice when they get to you. The rice was ok, nothing special. Starting from the top and left to right. The ebi (shrimp/cooked) was ok. The tuna was not bad, but there wasn’t much flavour. I personally preferred the salmon over the tuna. The ika (squid) was firm but when you bit into it, it was like butter. The amaebi (sweet shrimp/raw) was not bad, there was the shrimp flavour and the flesh was still firm. The tako (octopus) and hokkagai (surf clam) were a bit chewy and these were my least favourite. I enjoyed the tobiko (I love fish roe!) and the salmon and tuna rolls were a meh~ It satisfied a craving for raw fish, but I don’t really recommend ordering this.
For the Lougheed branch, I found that if you want to be seated as soon as you get there, the best times are right when they open for lunch or later in the afternoon. Around noon, it starts to get busy and they do a ton of take out orders (I am totally guilty for this!), so the service starts to suffer a bit and there may be line ups to pay if you are using credit or debit cards.