While in the deep recesses of South Calgary, dinner time beckoned and we found ourselves at Sushi Ginza in Willow Park. Before getting out of the car, we checked the menu online (to ensure that they offered enough non-sushi options for my non-sushi-loving companion) and I checked UrbanSpoon on my iPhone as well to see what kind of reviews other posters and bloggers were offering. Overall, my expectations were pretty high (with my only hesitancy coming from an anticipated high bill too…). What would we do without technology huh? Need to go into a resturaunt to see their menu, need to call friends to get opinions… LOL
I was really impressed by the decor in Sushi Ginza – it looks as though it’s the kind of place that has been here for a while, and that the owners really care in creating an entire experience for their patrons, rather than just selling them food. Right away we were asked by the hostess if we wanted to sit at the (conveyor belt style) sushi bar or at a table – after a fantastic conveyor belt sushi bar experience in Banff, I would have been up for it again – but with a non-sushi-eating companion, we chose a table instead.
We started with an order of Gyoza. While my companion really liked them (eating some of my ‘half’ as well as her own!) I wasn’t terribly impressed. I thought that perhaps the dough was too thin, because they broke apart too easily, and seemed somewhat “mushy” to me. However, the flavor of the filling was excellent. They served it on a plate where the dipping sauce was very shallow, and it spilled over the dumplings as well. I usually really like the dipping sauce, so I didn’t care for this either. Giving up some of my share wasn’t a huge loss, especially since my companion was really happy with them.
My companion ordered a tempura plate, which came with a LOT of tempura – including really nice large pieces of yam and broccoli. I personally really prefer large pieces, because I can get tired of the tempura batter after a (short) while. This happened to my companion as well, and even though it was really good, she said it was also too much. Next time: mental note to order a smaller order of tempura, and then a salad or something as well, to avoid getting tired of the tempura batter flavour.
I ordered my usual favorites – Ikura (salmon roe), and special scallop (chopped scallop with mayo and tobiko (flying fish roe)). I also ordered two pieces of masago (smelt roe) from their a la carte menu, and then from their regular menu, a Mt. Fuji roll which was a tuna and avocado roll topped with yam tempura and spicy sauce.
My sushi was really good. The Mt. Fuji roll was a perfect balance of flavors, and a good size – not those huge rolls that you have to take apart to eat. The spicy sauce was just that – spicy, but not too much, and the yam tempura on top was an unexpected and delightful flavor. (Mind you, the only tempura that I reallllly like is the yam one anyways, so I’m probably biased towards yams!) The presentation was pretty, with lots of extra drizzled sauce for dipping. My only problem is that the soy sauce dish is attached to the plate, and is very shallow, so I ended up getting spicy sauce in my soya – which wouldn’t have been so nice for the other selections.
The Ikura (salmon roe) was firm, although just a tiny bit stickier than I normally like it. I also found that their rice was a bit sweeter than I normally like it – though eating it in rolls was fine. If I had been having a bowl of it – it would have been too much. The masago was good, and the special scallop was delightful.
The service was prompt, attentive, and that wonderful mix of friendly AND professional. I was surprised though that during the time we were there, not a single person sat down at the conveyor belt sushi bar – though that is where the chefs were preparing my sushi, so they were busy. Not sure why this might be – however the restaurant was not packed at all while we were there. (Dinner hour on a weeknight.) The rest of Sushi Ginza was reasonably busy – not so much that we were rubbing elbows with neighbors, but still active. There was one table with a little child who shrieked like a banshee at one point – but only once. Good parents! I appreciated that they had an online menu, and although we didn’t have alcohol, I liked the fact they had a decent drink menu.
The price – well, Sushi Ginza was expensive. Not the most expensive place I’ve ever gone for sushi, but still pretty high. I think that between the two of us, the bill came to $68.00 before tip. Although the atmosphere was good, the staff were great, and the food was good, the cost and the location (far from where I live and normally travel) will likely keep me from returning too frequently.
Have you been to Sushi Ginza? What do you think of the koi pond in the middle of the restaurant? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
10816 Macleod Trail South