Saturday, 15 June 2013

Sushi California

For an early Father's Day celebration, we met up with my grandparents at their favourite sushi restaurant, Sushi California. Located across from Lougheed Town Centre and the Skytrain station, it's a bustling little restaurant with many customers. I've been visiting Sushi California every now and then for the past few years. The cheap price and decent portions are what draws most customers back.

California Roll ($2.95) & Alaska Roll ($3.95)

Here are two staples that are ordered every time my family goes to have sushi: California roll and Alaska roll. My brother only eats California roll, imitation crab meat in mayonnaise plus avocado. My mom's all-time favourite is the Alaska roll, my grandpa greatly enjoyed it too. There is only avocado in the centre, a slice of salmon sashimi on the top and a special sauce poured on top. On today's visit, there was a generous amount of avocado in the middle, but a measly thin piece of salmon on top. There is usually a much thicker piece of salmon but I was taken aback by today's portion. Perhaps because avocados are in season and cheap right now and salmon isn't...? Taste-wise, I still enjoy this roll because of the sauce; there is no need for extra soy sauce or dipping sauce. We ended up having two orders of Alaska roll.

Unagi Roll ($3.95) & Spinach Crab Roll ($4.50)

Unagi (eel) is probably my favourite thing to eat at a Japanese restaurant. The price to buy it at the supermarket has become insanely expensive, almost $10 for one eel! The unagi roll here is a reasonable price, about $4, and they don't skimp with the eel. There's not much to the roll, just some eel and cucumber, but if you like unagi, you'll like the roll. The Spinach Crab roll is a new roll for us. We try to order one 'interesting' roll each time we come to just broaden our range. The crab can't be seen in the photo above (sorry!) but it's one of the larger rolls, like the House roll. I personally don't like large rolls just because it's impossible to eat a bit of each ingredient in one bite. It also shatters easily. Anywho, the flavours of this roll are quite unique, and my grandma really liked it. There is a chunk of crab (perfectly covered by that lovely clump of rice in the photo), wilted spinach, fish roe, cucumber, and a drizzle of peanut sauce. At first, I thought that the drizzle of peanut sauce was too little. But the amount given is enough to make an impact in your mouth. Doesn't overpower everything else but it definitely adds an extra dimension. I can see myself ordering this roll again.

Spicy Salmon Sashimi
Yes, the caption says 'spicy' salmon sashimi...but I forgot to include the small ramekin of spicy sauce in the photo. My family usually orders this with the 'sauce on the side' just so everyone can adjust the amount of heat to their liking. The portion of this has distinctively slowly shrunk over the years, I'm beginning to wonder if it's worth the $9 we paid... There isn't anything outstanding about this, nor terrible. The fish is fresh and the chunks are large. The sauce is quite spicy (made from Korean 고추장, hot pepper paste). If sashimi is what you come to eat, then this is an okay choice.

Fried Oyster ($3.95)
Completely new to my family is Sushi California's fried oyster. Just before heading out for lunch, I read a review on Urbanspoon praising the oysters. Since it's Father's Day my mom decided to order one for everyone. Each order comes with 2 oysters. They're pretty large and best eaten when hot. The sauce given (seen in the back) is probably a mixture of teriyaki sauce and mayonnaise. Tangy and sweet when mixed together. The breading can be a bit thick on some pieces, but overall it's a good value. Oysters are so expensive at the supermarket now. My grandparents have also put this on their list of favourites from this restaurant. We ended up eating 3 orders of fried oysters, now my dad has to make sure he eats his cholesterol medicine.

One last thing we ordered, for my totally-not-a-foodie brother, is tempura udon. For $6 you get a big bowl of udon in a simple broth with one piece each of zucchini, sweet potato, carrot, and shrimp tempura. The starch will keep my growing brother full. He eats all the vegetable tempura and leaves the seafood for anyone else (aka me). Tempura here is good, crispy but not over-fried, and hot when served. 

There are a few aspects of Sushi California where Coconut Crumpet shows discontentment. Firstly, the speedy service. Usually that is a compliment but in this case, not so much. It's so fast to the point you can't sit and enjoy yourself or have a conversation without feeling rushed. I suspect the food comes fast so you can just get the heck out of there once you're done. Not the place for a date night or to catch up on some conversation. Also doesn't help the fact my family inhales food at record speeds. Secondly, the some of the waitresses get rather annoying. I'm usually not the type to complain about service since I don't have much expectation for it. However today's waitress (whom my grandma says she doesn't see on weekdays) literally came to ask us if we were ready to order every 2 minutes. Obviously we're not ready to order if we're starring at the menu. She would rush around like she's super busy and just pop by as if it was just a numerical routine. The restaurant is only so big, do you really have to speed walk? I must stop ranting. My point is to not expect service.

The total price for stuffing six bellies full came to $50. There are not many places left where one person can have a meal for less than $10, including tax. Sushi California is a place to go when you're craving sushi and don't want to spend a fortune. And if there is no wait for a table, you can be out of there in a jiffy. True fast food. I am sure my family will be re-visiting in the future as there is no reason not to.

Sushi California on Urbanspoon 

Love from Coconut Crumpet's Corner ♡

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