Wonder Sushi Land – Vancouver, BC

[Update: October 2009, CLOSED and replaced with Samurai Sushi Bar]

Wonder Sushi Land
4572 West 10th Avenue
Vancouver, BC
Tel: 604-228-9266
Hours: Mon to Sat, 11:30am-9:30pm
Payment: Visa, Mastercard, Interact, Cash

Truly fitting for the Vancouver sushi scene, with a word such as “wonder” in the business title, as more often than not, I “wonder” if what I will get will be any good at all. I like to think that it’s the adventurer in me and my open heart that allows me to give any spot at least one chance and a reason why I continue to tryout the city’s many non-descript, off-the -beaten-path restaurants offering sushi.  Rest assured, I am generally a logical bloke and I know that I am playing Russian roulette here – but with more than one bullet in the chambers.  The odds are stacked against me, but yet I still pull the trigger, time and time again.  Call me crazy, call me stupid, either way, I know it won’t stop – this despite the fact that I’ve eaten in some of the finest sushi bars in Ginza

Wonder Sushi Land has to be one of the most westerly-located sushi restaurants in Vancouver.  There’s a few on campus at UBC, but this has to be the last outpost for sushi before getting onto those university endowment lands.  It a hole-in-the-wall, sits right next to a Starbucks, and across the street from a decaying Safeway in this Point Grey neighborhood.  Given the area, its not surprising to see that the customers on this night when I decided to get some takeout, was a pair of fourty-something Caucasian ladies, apparently enjoying the demographic’s favorite, chicken teriyaki, and a not too surprising order of California maki.

Thinking I’d make it easy for everyone, least of all myself, I scanned the takeout menu and eyeballed the list of nigiri sushi set.  Quite hungry and knowing the portions could be small, I opted for item #86 (Combo “D” Nigiri Sushi) that said it was “good for 2”, comprised of 2 pieces each of tuna, salmon, tobiko, ebi, hamachi, chopped scallop, tako, and tekka maki.  Told it’d take 15-20 minutes, I stood around for a while checking out the decor and seating arrangements before my ears started to hurt.  Why?

This place is Chinese-owned/operated and the chef was blurting out loudly in Mandarin to the lone server, despite the fact she was a mere foot or two away and the kitchen space is not separated from the dining area by any barrier – so the sound traveled.  I could see that sitting and eating there could be a bit annoying if that kept up.  I am not sure how that couple could continue their conversation.  Decided to save myself from the noise pollution, I said I’d step out and come back later, retreating to the relative quiet of the inside of my car parked outside.  I noticed the outdoor seating at the Starbucks was full, but Wonder Sushi Land wasn’t.  Perhaps its the “audio enhancements” that was a deterant, at least that’s what I told myself as I began to think about my meal being prepared inside.  Again, I wondered

Dashing back in and out while the loud talking continued from the kitchen, I quickly paid for my meal and snatched the plastic bag and headed out of there in a hurry.  Once back in the safety of my home, I unwrapped the package to find my order.  An immediate look relieved my first worry, all the pieces were there.  Appearances, not bad, though the hamachi looked a bit doggy, and upon tasting I was right.  The chopped scallop dolled up with all that mayonnaise disguised how fresh or unfresh it was.  The tobiko, plentiful.  The tako, a bit thin but otherwise acceptable.  Ebi, good.  Salmon, nice.  Tuna, a bit too soft, same with the tekka.  Moreso with the tekka it was the rice that was too mushy.  The “chef” had tried to compensate for the overdone-ness of the rice by putting an extra squeeze on the rice for that and also the nigiri.  It was much too tightly balled up, as I like my rice to almost fall apart once in the mouth.

Was it completely bad?  No, not at all.  Was it great?  Far from it.  For the price, $19.95, the quantity was good, as it was a good sized meal with fourteen pieces, plus a half maki.  If they’d fix the rice, I’ll be back, as its one of the more convenient places for me to do a order-and-dash takeout.  Another joint down the road is just horrible, and another nearby is borderline acceptable, so Wonder has it by default that I might be back.  But I know I will never eat inside, if that kind of sound from the kitchen is commonplace.  I’ll let you wonder for yourself if Wonder Sushi Land is for you though…

Wonderland Sushi on Urbanspoon

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