The last time I was in Vancouver, I visited Sushi Star – and with good luck, I stayed close to there again – right across the street in fact! This meant that good sushi wasn’t far away, and I visited twice while in the city. (I also checked out Juno Japanese Sushi Bistro – click the link to read my review!)
On my first visit, my companion and I had a few different things at Sushi Star, including Agedashi Tofu (a battered and fried tofu in a fish-based sauce), Tuna sashimi, Salmon Sashimi, and then two rolls. We split both of the sashimi orders and the tofu, and then had the chance to try one another’s roll as well. My companion and I also ordered a piece of Saba (Mackerel).
We started off with the Agedashi Tofu, though the sashimi came shortly after.
The bowl of tofu was piled high – which was a great sign of quantity to come. The tofu pieces were a good size – not too big (which made them easier to grab and eat rather than when the pieces are too big) but the tall pile meant that the tofu pieces at the top never got to sit in that delicious fish-based sauce, but the ones at the bottom were soaking in it. We quickly rotated things through, setting the top tofu on our sashimi plate to make sure each piece got to sit in a bit of sauce – but not long enough to get super soggy.
The (sockeye) salmon sashimi (pictured above as well) was good, but honestly wasn’t anything special for me. It had a decent flavour, but really didn’t stand out. I haven’t been having ‘good salmon luck’ lately though – each time I’ve had it lately, it really seems to be unimpressive. This is the sockeye salmon that seems to be more common here on the west coast, and although it might have other benefits, I think for sushi I really do prefer the salmon that I usually have here in Calgary.
The tuna on the other hand, was amazing! It was flavourful, super tender, fleshy, and delicious! I really enjoyed it, and when I returned to Sushi Star for a second time during my all-too-short visit to Vancouver, I made sure to have it again! Highly recommended!
Both of the sashimi dishes were served garnished with a large quantity of grated daikon, lemon slices, and a few slivers of cucumber – which I figure is the most vegetables I’m going to get when sushi is on my mind…
My companion had been craving a baked scallop roll for a while, and ordered one of the rolls topped with baked scallop. However she hadn’t read the menu’s top comment, where it said that all of the rolls were topped with sauce, so when it came with spicy sauce (just sniffing it was super-spicy) she had to send it back – but quickly had the above roll which was really good!
I enjoyed the Tropical Roll though (and shared a piece with my companion of course!) which is a scallop roll (with fake crab too.. see more about that below) covered with avocado and mango and a really delicious (though not identified on their menu) sauce that I really liked.
The upsides and downsides
While I really enjoyed my meal, my companion was a little less impressed I think, largely because of the mix up with her roll. I was happy with the prices and with the food, as well as the service, but I didn’t like two things…
1) The temperature
It was super-cold inside of Sushi Star! With no double-door system, and not even a bend to break up the incoming cold winter winds, it was mighty cold inside. This wouldn’t be nearly so much of a problem in nicer weather, but we visited during a chilly patch in mid-December, so it was pretty uncomfortable at times.
2) Pollock filler
I understand that pollock (or that fake crab stuff..) is an inexpensive fish, but I really didn’t like that they used pollock as ‘filler’ in what was advertised as a ‘scallop roll’. I would have at least expected the roll to be advertised as a ‘scallop and fake crab’ roll instead of being advertised as a scallop roll – where I expect just scallops!
One of the sights I went to see while in Vancouver was the Bright Nights light display on Stanley Park. So pretty!
If you’ve been to Sushi Star in Vancouver before – let us know what you thought in the comments below! If you want to see some of the other places we visited in Vancouver, make sure you follow Happy Sushi Belly on Facebook!