Normally I have avoided the conveyor belt sushi places. These are the places where the chef prepares plates of one roll, or two pieces of nigiri sushi, or a small bowl of salad – and places them on a conveyor belt – usually shaped like a train or little tug boats. I’ve always felt as though the sushi would not be as fresh – and that going past patron after patron – that the chance of germs would be higher as well.
Well… I’m ready to toss that whole idea out of the window after visiting Sushi House Banff.
I’ve walked past it several times, and have always gone somewhere else – but I highly recommend popping in -if you can find a place to sit.
The restaurant is extremely small – there are maybe 14 seats – and you will be rubbing elbows with your neighbor – this is a shared eating experience for sure! The seats are also stools – which I find really uncomfortable – but … for sushi in Banff (especially in the day when my favorite place is closed) it’s a great alternative.
(The other two places include a very expensive – but good – place in the Banff Springs Hotel and a highly disappointing Sushi Bistro.)
So – after finding a seat (we didn’t need to line up, but as we were leaving there was a pair of beautiful young Japanese women who were anxiously waiting for our seats), and rubbing elbows, and kind of feeling like you need to hurry through your meal… why?
The food – it’s excellent.
We were new to the conveyor belt style – so I’ll give you a run-down in case you are too. There is a menu describing the things that they offer – but the chef is in the middle, so you can see what he’s making as he makes it. Each item is on a specifically coloured plate – the blue plates are the most expensive (the menu will tell you the prices) while the ivory plates are less, and the pale blue plates are less still. Do I even need to say that I picked mostly dark blue plates? As the train goes around, you pick off what you want (it took me a bit to get a hang of the timing, and my companion had to grab two of my first dishes for me!). When you’re done, the hostess counts up the number of plates you have, and prepares your bill.
The cost – I would have thought that this fast-food kind of sushi should have been cheaper – after all, the chef really only has to make the items that he has the ingredients for, and there is no real service – since it’s mostly self-serve. However, the price was very similar to an ordinary sushi restaurant. My companion’s lunch (who picked mostly ivory plates) came to about 21$ before tax, while mine (mostly dark blue plates) came to about 28$ before tax.
In terms of keeping germs off – MOST (but not all) of the plates have small plastic covers. This is great – but the covers are the same diameter as the plate – which makes them hard to pick up off the train. However – one note on ettiquite – (and yes, this is directed at one of the people who came in as we were finishing our meal) if you don’t know what something is – ask the hostess or the chef. Don’t pick up the plate, with your potentially unwashed hands, breathe on it, look at it, and then put it back on the train. Ew.
Also – I found it a bit hard to get the hostess’ attention when I wanted to place an order – but when I did, the chef made it very quickly, and we admired watching his skill. For some good photos of the space, check out the Google listing, or Rob’s Flicker photo. If you want to read other reviews, (and much better photos than I have!) check out Elsie’s blog, or F-log for thought. Note to self – try this place in the evening too – and use my good camera!
So – I have had the chance to eat at all (I think) of the sushi places in Banff – but I haven’t blogged about all of them yet. Who wants to come on up with me to Banff some time to write about the others? Which Banff sushi place is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!
Sushi House Banff
304 Caribou Street,