There are three sushi places I’ve visited in Calgary’s Mission district; Towa, Kawa, and Hana. While Towa and Kawa are less than a block apart, Hana is on the opposite side of 4th street and closer to 17th Avenue. I visited Hana with a friend after a Saturday event in June, and I thought I’d share a brief post about our visit.
While 17th Avenue was extremely busy and every patio was full, most of Mission was the same. When we approached Hana and there weren’t even chairs put out on the patio yet, I was concerned that perhaps they had gone out of business!
It was just after 5:00 p.m. and they had recently opened for dinner, but we were the first to take a seat – and weren’t joined for quite some time. When we left we were one of only three occupied tables (though two others were waiting for take-out). It was a bit disconcerting actually to be in a place so quiet, in an area of Calgary that was so busy!
After reviewing the menu, I selected the Tuna sashimi, Hana Flower Roll, and two pieces each of Ikura and Chopped Scallop, while my companion selected the Komachi Roll, an order of Tuna and Salmon sashimi, along with a piece each of Mackerel and Chopped Scallop.
Considering how empty the restaurant was, I also found it somewhat annoying that they sat us at a table for two; allowing us to constantly juggle the plates on our table, and have our water and soy dishes in acquired locations to accommodate the large display plates for our sushi. With it so empty, we all would have been better served to sit at a table for four, since there was plenty of room. (I also was a little sad that we had to share a little bit of ginger together…. I like a little more ginger with my meal than what they offered for us to share.)
The tuna sashimi was fine – it wasn’t especially flavourful, but that’s ok (sometimes that’s a good thing!) and the texture was fine as well, no major stringy bits… My companion thought the same of her Tuna and Salmon sashimi. It was a bit odd to see our sashimi served with line slices instead of lemon though. Our individual pieces arrived at the same time, and we probably should have eaten them right away… but more on that in a moment…
I sampled a piece of my companion’s Komachi roll (steamed prawn, sea crab, cucumber, fish roe, mayonnaise, soybean wrap and “a touch of spicy sauce”) and… well, their idea of a “touch” is vastly different from mine! The roll was incredibly spicy – to the point where all I could taste was a bit of prawn, and lots and lots and lots of spice… My companion liked it though! (Though after sampling my Hana Flower roll, she agreed mine was better!)
The Hana Flower roll (mango, salmon, avocado, scallop, fish roe, mango sauce, and “a little bit of seaweed salad”) was quite good (though there wasn’t any mango in it… just the mango sauce) and nicely presented. I normally don’t like seaweed salad either for that matter, but this one was good, and I actually ate it!
So, while the roll was quite good, and the sashimi was fine – the a la carte selection… wasn’t. Pictured at the top of the post, I had two pieces each of Ikura (Salmon Roe) and Chopped Scallop. The Chopped Scallop tasted fishy, and the seaweed had sat too long, resulting in a sticky, chewy wrap. The Ikura was worse still – not only was the seaweed chewy, but the eggs were STICKY. When I picked up the piece, I wondered about the puddle of sticky pinkish mess that had seeped out of my roll. I thought perhaps it was some sort of sauce, but in looking back I think my companion was right in suggesting perhaps they hadn’t been thawed/rinsed enough or something. Not enjoyable at all.
So, in short, I’d suggest the rolls at Hana (just watch out for that “touch of spicy sauce”) though I definitely wouldn’t recommend their a la carte selections. In terms of value, the prices on the rolls and sashimi seemed normal, though the a la carte pieces (which disappointed me) seemed a bit over-priced compared to similar restaurants.
As we spent over $50.00, they gave us a $5.00 coupon for next time – though neither of us could imagine going back within the 30 days before it expires.