Genji Japanese Restaurant – Burnaby, BC


Genji Japanese Restaurant
7533 Market Crossing
Burnaby, BC
(604) 433-9710

My first experience dining at this restaurant that is situated in the relatively new commercial shopping area on the southern edge of Burnaby along Marine Way was mixed to say the least.  My brief recap that I’d posted as a regular post on Urbanspoon was as follows:

A newish-looking and spacious interior, perhaps a bit too large as near the entrance its quite barren and when there are few customers, it just feels really cool and library-sih quiet. Had an assortment of roll sushi with a friend who enjoys that kind of thing. Wasn’t horribly bad until our off-the-wall pick of one that had some white sauce. Had a bit of an annoying mix up, mainly due to language barrier with our server, that dragged on much longer than we thought it should as it was an communication mistake (on their part) and though we thought they might ding us on the bill, they didn’t. Not enough shines thru with the sushi to get me to come back.

Now I’m at times a forgiving fellow.  Even when it comes to places to eat that I was less than 100% satisfied.  Part of returning is to be fair, and also to see if things had improved at all.  This time I went solo, as I did not want to burden a dining partner as I had the first time.  For sushi in this part of town, choices are somewhat limited, so Genji Japanese Restaurant has that going for it, for now…

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Kimura – Vancouver, BC


Kimura Sushi & Japanese Cuisine
3883 Rupert Street
Vancouver, BC
(604) 569-2198

[Re-visit (Feb 2011) post here]

There seemed to be some buzz in the local community surrounding this newly opened sushi-ya on the city’s east side, not traditionally an area that one associates with the best Vancouver has to offer in this genre of cuisine, so I added it to my list of places to visit upon returning from my latest summer Asia adventures.  This meal at Kimura took place on a quiet weekend afternoon in the hopes of taking in the reputed laid back, jazz-infused environment that I’d heard about through the grapevine and local blogging community.  With a few tables and seats at the bar counter occupied, it was just right in terms of ambient people noise and atmosphere as I gingerly slid my jet-lagged body into a chair for a meal with one of my most hardest-to-please sushi eating associates.

I won’t repeat what others have gone into in terms of the proprietor’s background and restaurant experience as its been laid out more than enough times for those that want to learn about it.  In any event, its a welcome arrival from my perspective, and hope others in the city make their way here to take in a careful (e.g. not rushed) service and meal with some quality ingredients and preparation.  Just make sure if you do, to keep your eye out for this place as its not the easiest to spot if you’re coming from the other side of the street as its nestled subtly into a building that houses some other businesses, with plenty of natural foliage (for as long as the leaves survive anyways) of mature trees further blocking the view.

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Matsuzushi – Coquitlam, BC


Matsuzushi
403 North Road #203
Coquitlam, BC
(604) 931-3713

Things have changed since I last visited Matsuzushi.  For one, the combined space with the small grocery item store has been downsized.  Though there is a definite partition that divides the two, it still retains its very casual and almost cafeteria-like ambiance with minimal decor and fuss.  For those unfamiliar, the system is a pay-first one.  After placing your order at the cashier and paying for your meal ahead of time, find a seat and your food will be brought out to you – no need to rush back to the counter for pickup.

Outside on their handmade signboard on this day, I noticed a listing of specials.  As I’m apt to do, I decided to try something on it and given the hot weather, the summer hiyashichuka (cold Japanese noodles) seemed perfect.  There seems to be a growing number of places in town that feature this dish when the warmer weather arrives, which is just fine with me.  For something so simple, its nice to see the variety of combinations and therefore flavor profile in each one of them.  Search around the site to find some previous commentary on this Japanese dish.

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Guu in Aberdeen – Richmond, BC


Guu in Aberdeen
4151 Hazelbridge Way
Richmond, BC
(604) 295-6612

I’ve come out and said it before but my personal desire to explore the full realm of the Vancouver izakaya scene is not exactly the strongest.  Again, its not that they are bad or a terrible bastardization of this unique genre of dining out found in Japan, but that the context is lost on me and my memories of many izakaya outings overseas has ruined me and thus nothing will ever compare.  I’m sure I’d say the same for other specific segments of popular national food from around the globe if I had the similar depth and breadth of experience such as say in the diverse Liguria regional cuisine of Italy or the so called ‘rainbow cuisine’ that is reputed to be available in Southern Africa.  Any transplanted replica outside of those regions would just seem, well, how can I put it… “off”?

I suppose I should relax this hesitation I feel whenever I hear the names of well known joints such as Hapa, Kingyo, and so on.  Believe me I’ve tried.  And a pair of visits to the Guu chain should be proof that I’m not all that stubborn in my beliefs.  This particular post is about the Aberdeen location, found in that shopping mall in Richmond best known for drivers in the parking lot who feel that there is nothing wrong with holding up a long line of cars just to secure a precious parking spot near one of the mall entrances.

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Sushi Bar Zipang – Calgary, AB


Sushi Bar Zipang
1010 1 Ave NE
Calgary, AB
(403) 262-1888

Its unfortunate, but even those places that were once held in good regard – and for sushi in a place like Calgary – for me, it was Zipang out in Bridgeland – times can change.  It used to be the best of a mediocre lot.  ‘Big fish in a small pond’ for sushi kind of thing.  On a recent return to the southern Alberta city, I made my way down to their sushi bar again for a quick early dinner, hoping that I could get an acceptable showing from them as in previous years…

Inside it was pretty packed, busier than I usually remembered it being.  I guess word has gotten out that it (was) decent.   I did notice that the guys behind the counter were different from the fellows who served me in the past – younger and seemingly less experienced.  Families and groups of friends seemed to be the general clientele on this weekday dinner session and there was a good buzz in the room of conversation.  However, once some folks departed the lack of any kind of soft toned music playing in the background reduced the place to an almost eerie environment, which could probably use some improvement.

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Hayashi Sushi – New Westminster, BC


Hayashi Sushi
1065 Columbia St
New Westminster, BC
(604) 527-1194

Hayashi Sushi is located in a newish commercial shopping area off Columbia Street that cuts through this riverside town.  Nearby are New West stalwarts such as Burger Heaven and Cockney Kings Fish & Chips (the subject of a future post in the foodosophy backlog).  It is a mid-sized, Korean-operated, Japanese cuisine restaurant, with takeaway options.  For this visit, that’s exactly what I did.

After placing my order, I waited in a nearby booth and was offered a cup of hot tea to pass the time.  The restaurant started filling up with other dine-in customers while I waited, so seemingly is a frequented place by locals.  With only one man behind the sushi counter, my large order of various pieces of nigiri sushi took some time to prepare.  Some of them are pictured below, but it was not the entire lot, as by the time I got it to our group for eating, some were more anxious than others and couldn’t wait for me to finish taking pictures. 🙂

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Torarenbo – Richmond, BC


Torarenbo Japanese Restaurant
Richmond Centre, 8191 Park Rd
Richmond, BC
(604) 214-1402

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.

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