505-329 North Road
Itshoni (in my eyes, a misspelling of the romaji for the Japanese word ‘together’) emerged from the space previously occupied by the Blue Sea Seafood Restaurant, and is serving up a mix of Korean and Japanese cuisine. It is conveniently located in this high traffic shopping complex that is home to many other places where one can a meal – many of which reported on here at foodosophy.
The interior has received a noticeable makeover with most of the former enclosed spaces and booths removed and replaced with dark wooden tables and chairs. The floor looked re-done as well, in addition to the similarly colored wall treatments and refreshed with new art hanging on the walls. The mural on one of the side walls (not pictured here) really stands out. The place was filled well with both Asian and non-Asian customers (this table of nine got filled up by a big group of women minutes after we were seated nearby).
Torarenbo Japanese Restaurant Richmond Centre, 8191 Park Rd
Escaping the madness of people flowing out of the Richmond Oval after an afternoon Olympics competition, and navigating along some very unfamiliar territory looking for someplace quick to eat, we found our way to a place known as Richmond Centre. Essentially its a strip mall with some limited parking and thus I drove right into one of the reserved (likely for staff?) stalls right in front of Torarenbo. Rules be damned, I was hungry.
With these random, shotgun approach dining adventures, I never know what I’m going to get. The partly covered window coverings further created a shroud of mystery about this place as I could not really see inside and know if in fact there was anyone eating inside. Alas, once I got through the front door on the side, I did see some people having meals and a few empty tables. After being asked if I had reservations (“for a place like this and on a weekday?”, I thought) and replying “no”, we were given one of the empty spots along the glass wall. In hindsight, I’d suggest you ask for a table deeper into the restaurant as whenever the front door opened, a brisk gust of cold wind would hit us, as well people who wandered in waiting to be greeted would linger not far from our table.
Its not exactly a love fest when you scan the online reviews of Dai Sushi. In fact, it reads like a pretty mediocre and poorly serviced establishment. Of course, I learned this too late and experienced it firsthand after my own impromptu visit for a quick, random dinner with an out of town pal in Burnaby. With a roundly popular Japanese restaurant (Nao Sushi) just a few doors down in the same complex, it makes me wonder how this restaurant continues to survive. Let me explain…
Knowing full well that it wouldn’t be an elite dining experience, I decided to opt for the chirashidon. The reason I tend to do this is so I can avoid some really horrible nigiri sushi (that can be reasonably expected from such a place), but at the same time get a chance to sample how their sushi-use rice measures up. The verdict here is that the toppings were on the light end, and whoever designed this dish was relying too much on the useless garnishes and veg. The saba was fine, though the salmon was pretty weak in flavour much like the bland type I had before in Singapore. Some slices of tako and pieces of amaebi hidden underneath. All in all, a big disappointment, rice included.
Everyday Sushi Bar (formerly Samurai Sushi Bar, formerly Wonder Sushi Land)
4572 W 10th Ave
What’s in a name?
This place became known as Samurai Sushi Bar back in the late-fall, complete with a new exterior signage and menu. My visit to it was based on when it was known as this.
But a few weeks later the same restaurant was re-branded as Everyday Sushi Bar.
Three names within a month, not a good omen I’d say.
The sudden swap made me wonder, was it a copyright issue? After all, this place is trading on that name already in the GVA. I guess you can’t get anymore generic than dumping “everyday” into your title. So perhaps they can avoid any more lawsuits…
Regardless, when I asked the new owners of the then-Samurai Sushi Bar, how they came to get the keys to the palace, she mentioned they bought out the previous proprietors. I’d noticed not much had changed inside the place, though the menu had been revamped, and heavy on the maki (rolls). As she asked if I’d been here before (the previous place), I replied yes and she emphatically told me I’d like the new version better. We’ll see…
[Apologies for the low quality images, just the first one was taken with a simple point & shoot digital, whereas the others were taken with my cell phone. The setting inside with many customers in a close space was not conducive to whipping out the big DSLR.]
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Hachibei. Long on my to-check-out list, but never quite enticing enough to warrant it rising to the top. In a quest for some good Japanese comfort food, we finally made the short trip out to this place. As you can see from the outside, it was fairly plain and nothing screamed at me that I would be getting a great meal.
The experience for me in leaving an often highly anticipated and quality meal in the hands of the chef, is one that I truly enjoy. Of course, this all depends on the establishment, the existing relationship with the person behind the counter and/or kitchen, and more often than not, my budget.
For this particular meal at Lime, I was going in quite unfamiliar on the first two counts, and on the third issue, I was hesitant to go too high out of fear that my dining experience would turn out less than I had hoped for. For me to completely release the wallet, it would have to come with some mighty strong recommendations and proven reputation. On this night, I did not have this “security’ when I stepped through the entrance door…
With a completely empty back-of-the-room bar counter, a seat up front and personal with the cooking crew was thus easy to request and receive. In the front half of the space, tables of pairs and groups were busy eating away, and already the noise level in the place was quite high. It definitely had a unique vibe, one that I’d been warned of by others who remarked to me they once had live music and other acts to entertain diners.