By Tana Kosiyabong
It was the lunch hour on a cold and rainy afternoon. My stomach was growling. I was desperately searching through my drawers and locker for any sign of edible items so that I could stay inside. Unfortunately, I got nothing to fill my empty stomach. It was do or die time. I must defy the spine chilling rain to grab something to eat. But why suffer alone when I could drag someone else down with me? So, I persuaded a couple of coworkers—Apiradee and Jason—to go along. Even without wearing my Axe cologne, both of them took the bait almost immediately.
And off we went out in the bitter cold rain like the Three Stooges (or Musketeers???) on a mission. It was only a few blocks walk but it felt like a hundred miles away. I was shivering from head to toe. About half way there, I started to doubt my decision to go out for a sushi lunch. Perhaps we should have ordered pizza instead.
Finally, we were in front of Sushi Mart. When the three of us walked in, there were already 6 or 7 customers inside. Sushi Mart’s interior is interestingly decorated. It is quite different from most sushi places. The restaurant is clean, modern and has only one very long wood table that could comfortably seat 16 people if not more.
This was my third visit to Sushi Mart. During the first couple of visits, I was able to keep my lunches at $5 or less. One was the Combo 2 (spicy tuna and California roll). The other was a BC roll (also known as “Seattle roll” in, you know, Seattle) and a Tamago roll (egg omelet). See menu at the bottom of this post for price details.
So this visit I decided to splurge a bit. I ordered my favorite from the earlier visits—a BC roll and a spicy tuna roll ($5.75 total); Apiradee got the Combo 2 and an order of Gomaae (chilled spinach salad with sesame dressing); Jason got a tuna roll, a salmon roll and 2 pieces of salmon Nigiri sushi.
My BC roll (barbecued salmon with skin on, imitation crab, and julienne cucumber) was really good. It was drizzled with thick, dark brown, sweet and savory sauce similar to Unagi (Japanese eel) sauce. The sushi was perfect as is. No need to dip in the soy sauce unless you want to challenge your own kidneys. The cucumber added crunchy texture to each bite. The barbecued salmon flavor did overpower the crab, but I didn’t mind. The more, the merrier. (As far as I know, BC roll doesn’t normally come with the fake crab anyway.)
The spicy tuna roll was impressive. The roll came with a chunk of raw tuna meat—instead of chopped raw tuna—marinated with Japanese spice (possibly Shichimi Togarashi). The tuna chunks allowed me to taste the natural flavor and texture of raw tuna better than the chopped siblings. Although I still can’t eat Nigiri sushi with a big honking piece of raw fish on top, I can handle the smaller chunks in the rolled sushi.
Apiradee really enjoyed her Gomaae, and her sushi combo. She told us that she had attempted to cook her own Gomaae before, but it didn’t quite work out. She let me sample it as if she knew that I would never buy that salad for myself. It was unexpectedly yummy. The spinach was cooked just right. The sesame dressing was delicious. Jason particularly liked his salmon sushi. He said the fish was very fresh and tasty. The salmon color was so bright, it hurt my eyes.
One great thing about Sushi Mart is that they throw in free miso soup and hot tea (for dine-in orders only). The tea comes in a big kettle. You can drink it all if you don’t mind multiple trips to the bathroom later. I hope Sushi Mart continues serving these complimentary soup and tea for years to come. They were the reason why we went there on that nasty day, aside from the tasty sushi. Thanks to the free hot soup and tea, we felt so warm and cozy we wished we didn’t have to walk back to work.
Apiradee gave her overall order 4-1/2 stars. Jason was struggling between 4 and 4-1/2. He also mentioned that it could go up to 5 stars if Sushi Mart made his order a new combo (so that he could save a buck or so). What a Cheapskate! He must have been hanging out with me too long.
Sushi Mart also sells readymade sushi in the display fridge for those who are in a rush. You can also order by phone or online. All menu items were priced from $1.25 to $9.75.
Sushi Mart BC roll: ©©©© 1/4
Sushi Mart California roll: ©©©©
Sushi Mart Spicy Tuna roll: ©©©© 1/2
Sushi Mart Tomago roll: ©©©©
Sushi Mart is located at 1668 Robson Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada. (T) 604.687.2422 (Website) sushimart.com
For another point of view on Sushi Mart from imonlyhereforfood blog, click here.
©2009 Tana Kosiyabong and CheapAppetite.com™. All rights reserved.
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