After the reservation issue in Banff at Miki, our sushi luck had taken a turn for the worse, and we popped into Canmore on the way home and decided to make yet another sushi meal. Our first choice came up on Google Maps – Marra’s Way Sushi. We drove past… and they were closed. So, we circled around again, and came up with a second choice, found parking, and went to head into Chef’s Studio Japan instead. They were also closed. So, it was a choice between waiting for Chef’s Studio Japan to open, or calling the third sushi place in Canmore before driving over. Luckily, we had seen O Canada Soapworks on our drive in, and it was just a block away, so since Chef’s Studio was set to open in just under 45 minutes, we decided to go hit the soap store and then come back.
It was a great decision (not only because we spent at least 30 minutes in O Canada Soapworks and had a great time; beautiful products, great scents, and a fabulous clerk!) because by the time we were done shopping, the restaurant was open and our appetites had returned a bit.
The decor in Chef’s Studio Japan is pleasant, though perhaps a bit confused. I didn’t understand the bookshelf in the back, or the chalkboard wall in contrast with the simple table settings. The chairs seemed cheap, and I didn’t love being seated right next to the emergency exit (I thought I would be too cold – but I wasn’t). I did love the little pebbles used for chopstick holders though. I just hope they get washed in the dishwasher before being used again though. There’s a bit of a hippy vibe to the whole place, with different themes of water, fire, earth, and air used throughout the decor and menu. It kind of works if you remember what Canmore used to be like before the big developers took over.
The menu – it might have wonderful things on it, but it is VERY small, and there is very limited selection. It also looks as though someone’s 4th grader did the layout and let the 2nd grader do the graphics with MS Paint. (Are those fishes? Whales? Abstract blue/green wavy things?) The photos were a bit deceiving too, and the descriptions just as much. “Your choice of sashimi” to me means that I can select which fish I’d like… not that the chef will choose based on what is in stock. I felt as though the photos gave the impression that my plate would have a bit more food on it than there actually was.
Before the sashimi plate, we both tried nigiri-style sushi that was our favorites – for Connie it was mackrel, and for me Ikura and chopped scallop. The Ikura was really good (but what’s with the cucumber?) but the special scallop was pretty bland and uninteresting. I don’t think that they added any tobiko to their mix. The presentation was really nice though – on a tile with a large leaf under the sushi pieces.
In terms of presentation, the food is presented beautifully – on slate tiles and plain black plates with a little twig mat and lots of leaves. However I’m not sure if the leaves and things are meant to be edible (would you eat a plain cabbage leaf?) and the twigs made me a bit concerned about hygiene (are twigs dishwasher safe? This is raw fish we’re dealing with…)
The sashimi plate we each ordered came with one whole raw prawn (head and tail included. ew.), salmon (which didn’t have much flavor) tuna (which also didn’t have much flavor) and a very tiny piece of squid, rolled up around something (which was delicious, but I’m not sure what it was!) For the price I would have expected just a little bit more food, though I left relatively satisfied.
So, now we’ve got a brand-new out of town place to go and hunt for tasty sushi treats! Have you had sushi at either Chef’s Studio Japan or one of the other sushi places in Canmore? Let us know your favorites in the comments below!
Chef’s Studio Japan
108, 709 Main St