I found the food at Misato really good, but the prices far too high to bother going back again. While the food was good, it was no better than some of my favorite places, and the prices were about 1/3 higher than my most expensive favorite.
In early March Connie and I went to Misato Japanese Restaurant (read her review here!) after a long stroll around Bowness. (We were planning to go to Miki just across the river from where we were walking, but they weren’t open – and no times listed on the door either :) boo.)
We had looked for Misato once before, but never made it in. This time we got there right as they were opening. We had called ahead and had been advised to make a reservation, but we didn’t – though by the looks of things if we had been any later it would have been a very good idea. It was a Sunday evening, and by the time we were leaving, the restaurant was almost entirely full.
The atmosphere is fine – nothing special either way, though there were some paper signs throughout the Misato saying that they would be doing upcoming renovations, so perhaps in the near future the atmosphere might be more noteable. From overhearing the server, it sounds like they will be installing some benches to go along with the current tables and other cosmetic changes more than serious renovations. One thing we did note was the seemingly excessive number of staff working. When we visited the restroom, we noticed that there were at least four individuals working in the kitchen. There were also four individuals behind the sushi counter, and another four servers. Although the restaurant was full, there seemed to be too many staff for the number of customers – unless perhaps Misato has a significant take-out business along with dine-in customers.
With so many servers, I would have expected service to be a bit better – it was fine, but not great.
We started with splitting two unique rolls that we hadn’t tried before, the Matango Roll (Japanese mushroom and avocado) and the Rocky Roll (avocado, tuna, and green onion, wrapped with smoked tuna). From there we each had an order of tuna and salmon sashimi (which seems to be a trend with our sushi visits lately) and then each had our favorites – saba and tamago for her, ikura and chopped scallop for me.
We contemplated splitting an order of gyoza as well – but neither of us was really in the mood for deep-fried after our nice long walk.
I was also interested in trying their California Tomato Roll (Avocado, Sun-dried tomato, Japanese plum sauce) but Connie wasn’t keen on it and I didn’t want to have a whole one by myself. There were a number of unique and interesting items on their menu, but with their prices I would hesitate to return to try them out…
We also noticed that they charge $2 for extra ginger or extra wasabi. I can understand that there are some people who eat a LOT of ginger, but they only brought one small dish for the two of us, regardless of how much sushi we had. It seemed pretty cheap to me, since most places would have at least brought us EACH a dish, or would have put the ginger and wasabi on the plates with the sushi itself.
The mushroom was fantastic – I think that perhaps it’s marinated? Yum yum! The avocado in the Matango Roll wasn’t great though, it was totally overwhelmed by the mushroom and the roll was very rice-heavy. (6 pieces for $6.95)
The avocado in this roll played a much nicer, and was nicely combined with the tuna. Although I hate onions, I couldn’t taste them very much which was nice, and there was a much better rice ratio – more filling, less rice! The smoked tuna was fantastic as well – much more mellow in flavour than smoked salmon, and really enjoyable. (8 pieces for $8.95)
The tuna and salmon sashimi was good, but nothing extraordinary. There were 4 pieces of each for $15.95, which seemed pretty pricy.
Well, I can’t comment on Connie’s tamago (other than to say it was very thick, and she said it was nice and fluffy but a bit too sweet) or her saba (which she said was alright, but perhaps cut a bit too thick for her preference), but I can tell you about my ikura and chopped scallop.
The ikura was good, but not spectacular – it wasn’t quite as firm as I like. I suppose that part of what made it not taste great was the price as well. Each piece was $3.95 – well above what I usually pay for ikura.
The chopped scallop was very good though, though a lot more masago than I would really like. It looked like a huge portion on the plate, but there was probably a normal amount – the battle-ship style sushi just was full of rice. Like the other menu items, the chopped scallop was $3.50 – overpriced compared to other places in Calgary.
In both of my nigiri sushi selections I noted a bit of a fishy taste near the end – I wasn’t sure if it was perhaps the nori or the seasoning in the rice.
While the food at Misato is really good, it’s not the best I’ve ever had and the prices are probably the most expensive. I suspect that location and overstaffing might contribute to this, but either way, it’s not some place that I’ll likely find myself again. I can get equal or better sushi elsewhere, and pay less for it.
|Salmon & tuna sashimi||$15.95/ 8 pieces|
|Matango Roll||$6.95 / 6 pieces|
|Rocky Roll||$8.95 / 8 pieces|
Misato Japanese Restaurant
1851 Sirocco Dr SW
Calgary, AB (403) 217-3000