Monday, June 09, 2008

Ajisai Sushi Bar

2081 W 42nd Avenue, Vancouver, BC

(pictures from May 2, 2008; dined here a lot of other times)
Two reviewers: ts and js

After working in a Japanese restaurant around twelve years ago and suffering through a particular bad run of Japanese restaurants a couple of years after that, meals that range from mediocre to downright yucky, we have dramatically cut down on our Japanese restaurant visits for the past ten years.

For those who remember Vancouver restaurant history, that bad run happened just before the mass proliferation of small sushi bars and all-you-can-eat Japanese restaurants around town. Market for sushi was growing, and a lot of would-be entrepreneurs cum sushi chefs flooded in to supply the increasing demand. Unfortunately, the quality of the supply was not always up to snuff.

It's still not always, so we have learned to be carefully picky when dining out at Japanese restaurants.

Ajisai is one of our Japanese restaurant standbys. It has the added pleasure of being so conveniently near our house. It is a small place, approximately seating only 40 people, and from what I know, they do not take reservations. There is almost always a lineup at the door and the wait can sometimes be very long. We've never waited for more than 30 minutes, though, as that is our cut-off. In general, sushi won't rate more time than that among our family members.

One drawback of Ajisai is they do not serve hot food, from the kitchen. They are strictly a sushi bar, and the only way they can get away with putting out "dynamite rolls" is having corn flakes (or some sort of crunchy flake-like things) stand in for the tempura coating on shrimp.

Still, the sushi is very good and the quality of fish is up to standards. One of our favourite dishes is this saba dish. Quite delicious.

I almost always order the Spicy Tuna Don. I'm not too big on sashimi, as I prefer my raw meats prepared in some way. (Beef Tartare? Carpaccio? Ceviche? Bring it on!)

This is perfect for me as the tuna is flavored. Besides the "spicy" on the tuna, the rice also has a sauce drizzled on it. Very nice. I love sushi rice and theirs is great. I love nori as well, and they do have some nori strips hidden under the fish there.

Below is a sampling of some of their menu items: an order of sushi (top) and their lunch special consisting of sushi, sashimi and a salad (bottom).

Perhaps another drawback is that the servers don't seem to be as efficient as, say, servers in a Chinese restaurant. A remedy to this would be to go only if you're not in a hurry. Then everything would be fine. Of course, this is more "expensive" than your "sort-of-Japanese" restaurants, but you get what you pay for in authenticity and quality.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing! I was just looking for a restaurant to go to in Kerrisdale on the weekend, and I think this will be it.


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