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Category Archives: North-East Calgary

Po-ke Special Bowl

Poke bowl from the Kensington Poke location.

Poke bowl from the Kensington Poke location.

Almost a year ago, my friend Skye and I walked past a Poké place on center street – not far from an event we were heading to. We’d already had dinner… but we made a mental note to go in there and try it sometime.

Well… we never did. Instead, while out playing PokemonGo a while ago I was in Kensington, and walked past another Poké place. I was actually on my way to a recommended Ramen place… but it was hot…and I was hungry.. and Poké it was!

Boy was I glad for the detour! Read the rest of this entry »

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Sumo Grill Japanese Restaurant

Sushi and sashimi from Sumo Grill in Sunridge Mall

Sushi and sashimi from Sumo Grill in Sunridge Mall

It’s been… YEARS since I was last at Sumo Grill in Sunridge Mall. Part of this is because I’m rarely in that area.. and partially because when I am – I’m now grabbing food at the nearby Blaze Pizza instead. However I was there not too long ago, and popped in because… well honestly I was too tired and hot to take the extra time outside to get pizza…. LOL Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2018 in North-East Calgary, Sushi

 

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Other dishes from a medieval pot-luck

In my last post I mentioned I’d be attending a pot-luck gathering, and was bringing some Viking Age desserts to share. Today I’ll share with you just a few of the other period food items some of the guests brought. I didn’t get photos of everything – things arrived bit by bit, and I wanted to eat too – plus the tables of food got crowded fast! 😉

 


I think one of my favourite dishes was Björn’s 15th Century Herbelade, which contained pork, parsley, sage, hyssop, dates, currants, pine nuts, powdered ginger, eggs, butter, and flour (for the pie shell) though there were so many interesting and delicious things there that night! (And many things I missed out on, because I just didn’t have room in my happy belly!)

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2015 in North-East Calgary, Treats

 

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Sushi Bar Zipang – highly disappointing for all the hype

Sushi & Sashimi lunch from Sushi Bar Zipang

Sushi & Sashimi lunch from Sushi Bar Zipang

After reading really wonderful reviews about Sushi Bar Zipang I had really high expectations when I visited for a late lunch (1:00 p.m.) Tuesday two weeks ago. Bridgeland isn’t on any of my normal routes, so every time I would read a glowing review I would remind myself that I really wanted to check them out…

Maybe it was because of those positive reviews I had previously read that I had high expectations at Sushi Bar Zipang, or maybe they just don’t bring their ‘A-game’ for lunch, but either way I was disappointed.

Dishing on the menu

Looking at the menu was the beginning of my disappointment – I just wasn’t inspired by the menu. In part, I wasn’t thrilled with the high prices ($3.50 for one of my favourite nigiri sushi pieces, which costs between $1.15 – $2.50 at other places I’ve visited recently) and part due to the repeating disclaimer that no substitutions would be available, and the number of items that had been crossed off the menu.

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Posted by on April 25, 2014 in North-East Calgary, Sushi

 

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Brunch at Big Fish

Connie and I regularly attend the Calyx Art Show, and it has become a bit of a tradition to visit Big Fish as part of the visit (because the regular home of the art show is so close to the resturaunt). In April (yep, this is another one of those delayed posts – I just had so many other things to post about!) we went to the show again (where I got a lovely painting from local Calgary artist Magz Ross) and once again, went to Big Fish. (iPhone photos throughout this post… I didn’t bring my regular camera with me this time around.)

Tasty raw oysters

Tasty raw oysters

We started out our meal with a delicious assortment of raw oysters, one each from 6 different regions – three each from the east coast and three each from the west coast. I wish I could remember all of their names – they didn’t have any of the beloved Angel Beach oysters in stock, but in general I preferred the west coast oysters over the east coast ones (more salty, more flavour). Of course April isn’t apparently key ‘oyster season’ (I read somewhere that oysters are at their best in “Months ending in ‘R'”; the colder months from September to December), but they were still delicious.

Sauces for the oysters

Sauces for the oysters

Oysters are served with a variety of sauces to choose from, along with lemon wedges. They’ve recently labelled their sauces on the container, which is fantastic… I far prefer the Ponzu sauce over the rest, though the anchovy and caper sauce is also pretty awesome!

Poached eggs with crab

Poached eggs with crab

For our main meal, it was still brunch time (around 12:45 when we got there) so we had to select from the brunch menu. I actually find the brunch menu a bit hard to choose from – there are specific ingredients that I like, but mixed with ones I don’t in a lot of their dishes. I really should have asked if I could have their Soba noodle salad again – it’s not on the menu… but that doesn’t often stop me!

Instead, we both had the Eggs Benedict – hers with ham while I had crab with mine. The bread was wonderful, the potatoes were good, but the eggs themselves weren’t anything special – and their basil-hollandaise sauce was nothing really that special either unfortunately. The pea shoots were kind of cool though! The crab was alright, but again, nothing really special. It certainly LOOKS fantastic though!

Although the oysters had arrived quite quickly (and at that point the restaurant was fairly busy), the entree took a VERY long time to arrive, and at that point the restaurant was less than half full. Honestly I was getting a bit tired of waiting as well, which might have influenced how well-received my eggs were.

Tempting dessert menu

Tempting dessert menu

I was tempted by their dessert menu as well, and although my tastes usually run towards chocolate, I thought that the bourbon pecan pie would be amazing. I also really was looking forward to the vanilla bean mousse….

Pecan pie

Pecan pie

For $9.00, this was really disappointing.

Although the pecan pie tasted fine (although I like the nuts a bit softer in a pie…), the maple bourbon taste I had expected just wasn’t there. Without that extra flavour, I missed the slight creaminess that the ‘syrup’ pecan pie contains usually has – it missed the boat on both aspects. The vanilla bean mousse, was just whipped cream as far as I could tell. There wasn’t the mousse texture, and there was no vanilla flavour at all. I think someone made a mistake in plating the dish perhaps. It was good, but it just wasn’t SPECIAL. Only the presentation made it anything different than a slice of pie at The Bay’s cafeteria… well, that and the extra $5.00…

So, yay for oysters, and ‘feh’ for the rest of the meal. I think next time I go to Big Fish I’ll just stick with the delicious oysters instead….

Big Fish
(403) 277-3403
1112 Edmonton Trl NE
Calgary, AB T2E0Z2
Big Fish Dockside on Urbanspoon

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2013 in North-East Calgary

 

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Brunch at Big Fish

A few weeks ago Connie and I headed out to an art show, and deviated from our normal sushi pattern to go and have oysters at Big Fish instead.

Since it was still early in the day, they were serving brunch, and I was disappointed because their fabulous Soba noodle salad (“grilled chilli glazed prawns on soba noodle salad with lime and miso dressing”) wasn’t on the menu. I had dreamed of this salad the night before (literally – I dreamed about salad…) and was disappointed, but asked the server, and he said he would check – and yippee, they could make it up for me!

Soba noodle salad (the noodles are hidden)

Connie stuck with the actual menu (what is up with me and ordering things that aren’t on the menu?) and had Eggs Benedict (which I’ll let her chat about…) and when the meal itself was over, we decreed that there was indeed room in our stomachs for what we had really come for – raw oysters!

But first Connie’s eggs

We each ordered a half-dozen, three Angel Beach oysters and three (erk.. I forgot the name!) other oysters for me, while Connie had three Angel Beach and three others as well (but different from mine.)  Delicious! I liked mine best with the Ponzu sauce or just plain lemon! Yum!

Yummy raw oysters

Dear readers – got any other oyster places we should check out? Looking for a mix of good service, great quality, and decent prices…

Big Fish Dockside
(403) 277-3403
1112 Edmonton Trail NE
Calgary, AB T2E 0Z2
Big Fish Dockside on Urbanspoon

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2012 in North-East Calgary

 

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On the hunt for the best AYCE sushi in Calgary

There are times when my sushi craving gets the better of my wallet – or when I’m out with a group of people and it’s much easier to have everyone eat ‘all you can eat’ (AYCE) rather than have to divide up a huge and diverse bill at the end of the meal.  (I don’t envy the restaurant staff who try to keep separate bills for us!)  When these situations arise, All You Can Eat is the way to go.  But, AYCE is often plagued by small portion size, second-rate quality, disinterested staff, forgotten orders, and unappealing atmosphere.

So, what are your options when you want AYCE sushi in Calgary?

Sushi from Sushi Tokyo

Sushi Tokyo

I previously reviewed Sushi Tokyo and their AYCE offerings, and I think it comes out with a rating in the middle-ground.  While the service is good (for AYCE, which normally has less attentive service…) the portions seem to be hit-or-miss.  Sometimes they’re the same as ordering off the menu, and sometimes they’re smaller versions.  The decor is what really lowers their score for me – out of date and in need of repair.  On the other hand they have a nice central location which is easy to access by bus or train, and there is a decent amount of parking either in the Dragon City mall parkade, the parking lot across the street, or the parkade kiddy-corner from the mall.

Sushi Ichiban (Macleod)

All you can eat from Sushi Ichiban

All you can eat from Sushi Ichiban

Sushi Ichiban on MacLeod Trail has limited parking, so  head around the corner for more. It is easily accessible from the C-Train though, which makes it ideal for a wide range of groups getting together. While I found their tempura oily, the sushi is pretty good at Ichiban, and the decor is nice. They have a lot of different sizes of booths as well, which is good for groups. I find the service there a little hit-and-miss though; there have been times when the service has been great, and other times when we weren’t sure if our order was going to come or not… Click the link for my full review.

One note – their Westbrook location (which I have visited a few times, since it’s close to where I live does NOT have AYCE – only their Macleod Trail location. Boo.

Sushi BBQ Inn

I have only had one previous experience dining here (on an ill-fated first date!) which turned me off returning again. Perhaps if I’m feeling brave, I’ll head over at some point when my belly is as empty as my expectations.

Gunkan Sushi House

Katherine filled me in on this sushi place – very out of my regular area, so I hadn’t heard of it before.  The reviews on UrbanSpoon were mixed – newer reviews were generally positive, while older reviews were almost entirely horrible. However, all was for naught, as apparently they’re now closed…

Banff – Miki

Our first plate of sushi from Miki

Sushi from Miki

Ok, this is supposed to be a list about Calgary AYCE sushi, but I’d feel bad if I didn’t include Miki.  We’ve had several good experiences there (minus some pains with their hours and parking!) and I love that they include a lot of types of sushi and other food on their AYCE menu.

Update! (Feb 2014)

I have a few more additions to add to this list for you – though they won’t make the “best of” list!

Grey Eagle Casino

Sushi selection from the Grey Eagle Casino

Sushi selection from the Grey Eagle Casino

Grey Eagle Casino’s Asian theme night offers sushi, and since it’s a buffet, it’s technically All You Can Eat. However… I don’t recommend it. The sushi didn’t seem fresh, wasn’t made well, and there’s something about picking bones out of my sashimi that really turns me off.  You can read more by clicking the link, or head on over and make your own decision.  Thanks to a Happy Sushi Belly reader for reminding me of this one so I could add it to the round-up!

MacLeod Sushi & BBQ

Another All You Can Eat Sushi & Korean BBQ place is MacLeod Sushi & BBQ.. on.. you guessed it, MacLeod Trail.  This restaurant has decent parking, and I thought that the service was good too – but that’s the best parts about this AYCE sushi place for me. The atmosphere and smell are both off-putting to me, and the hot food could have been hotter, the defrosted food should have been defrosted, and the rice was overly sticky. Overall, the food ranged between mediocre and bad, so I definitely wouldn’t recommend it for an AYCE sushi night out. (However, the place was busy both times I went in, so perhaps I’m more picky than their average customer!)

Asian Buffet

Additionally, another AYCE place that offers sushi is the Asian Buffet. Like the Grey Eagle, I really don’t recommend this for your sushi cravings. Even the Asian food itself wouldn’t get any rave reviews from me.  Thanks to a Happy Sushi Belly reader for reminding me to include this one in my list too!

Update (August 2014)

Sushi order at The One Sushi - with the iPad menu in the background

Sushi order at The One Sushi – with the iPad menu in the background

The One Sushi

In July, The One Sushi opened on Macleod Trail, with an iPad gimmick for ordering, and a wide menu of sushi, along with Thai, Japanese, Korean and Chinese cooked dishes as well. It’s not the best AYCE sushi in the Calgary area, but it’s alright, and a good option for groups who might not all love sushi.

Update (February 26, 2015)

Kushi-Ya

One of our readers suggested we check out Kushi-Ya, but with not very keen reviews on their UrbanSpoon profile, I’m pretty skeptical. If you’ve been to Kushi-Ya add your thoughts in the comments – maybe if there are enough readers who really want us to check it out, we’ll make the trek sometime soon 🙂

Feedback needed!

So, I need to get out to some AYCE at some point to really flesh out this list – but in the meantime, do you know of any other AYCE sushi places in Calgary?  Add them to the comments along with your review!

 

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Sushi: Sumo Grill Japanese Restaurant

Not too long ago Connie and I headed to Sumo in Sunridge Mall on our way to other adventures.  It was a ‘crazy sushi day’ because we originally intended to head to Globefish in Kensington, but after parking, found out it was closed.  From there we headed to Shibuya, passing Sushi BBQ Inn (which we wouldn’t go to after several terrible experiences), Wasabi (closed), and Shikiji (also closed). However, Shibuya was also closed!  In our defense, it was early afternoon on a Sunday, and although we hoped places would be open, we weren’t calling to make sure.  Ah.. if only more sushi places had their own websites with their hours clearly posted!  (We did call Shibuya, but they didn’t answer the phone…)

So, even though by that point we were starving (well, for sushi that is!) we decided to just toss the urgency aside and head to Sunridge where we knew at least Sumo would be open.

Being less than a week before Xmas would normally deter me from any malls at all, but Sunridge isn’t like Chinook or Market Mall; it’s a lot quieter, but still with the season very busy. Parking was a bit of a hassle, so Connie dropped me off while I went in to get a table.

A number of reviewers on UrbanSpoon have commented about inattentive staff at Sumo, and I’m afraid that my experience wasn’t any different.  The hostess wasn’t paying attention, so I waited several minutes for Connie to arrive and then we waited a few more to be seated.  Our server didn’t come around right away to get us settled with water or tea (just water thanks!) and once we did order, it seemed to take a while for our food to come out.

Our server also didn’t understand our sashimi order… I wanted a full order of tuna + salmon, (8pc) and Connie wanted a half order of tuna + salmon sashimi (4pc).. it took much conversation to explain what it was we wanted. In the end, she ended up bringing two plates of 6pc… and we just split it ourselves.

Gyoza from Sumo

We started with Gyoza – or rather, all the food arrived at the same time, but we ate the gyoza first so it wouldn’t cool off.  It wasn’t bad, though I’ve definitely had better.

I find when I have salmon and tuna sashimi, that there’s usually one I like better than the other that day.  This day, the salmon wasn’t very good at all, flavour-wise; however the cut was fine – none of the chewiness that sometimes happens with poorly cut fish.  The tuna on the other hand was very good in both flavour and cut.

Salmon and tuna sashimi from Sumo

I had my favourites – salmon roe and chopped scallops (they were so good, I ordered more for dessert), while Connie had a roll, a scallop, a mackerel, and a spicy hand cone.  While the food was good, the service continued to be underwhelming – I was incredibly thirsty and couldn’t catch the attention of our server to get more water, and it also took a long time to place my ‘dessert’ order too.  In the past when this has happened I’ve skipped my additional order out of frustration, but this time I was really hungry!

My sushi and Connie's on the same plate

So, my conclusion – Sumo’s food is good, the service not so much.  Head there if you’re in the mall already and just need to rest your feet and have a bite to eat, but don’t go there expecting a memorable or extraordinary experience.  With better customer service, this could be a much better sushi restaurant.

A long time ago, the glimpse blog recommended lunch at Sumo, though did complain that the fried food is greasy (which I’d agree with), while Food Mama loves the take-out rolls from Sumo.  I bet that would be a great way to get around poor customer service, kind of like what I sometimes do with Sushi Hanami.

So, what about you… what do you think about the service v.s. food at Sumo in Sunridge?  Let us know in the comments below.  Oh, and Connie should be posting HER review of Sumo soon too!
Sumo Grill Japanese Restaurant
2525 36 St NE
Calgary, AB
(403) 568-6886

Sumo Grill Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2012 in Gyoza (Dumplings), North-East Calgary, Sushi

 

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Sushi: Shibuya Izakaya

I mentioned in a previous post that Connie and I visited Shibuya Izakaya not too long ago. In my earlier post I talked about the Baby Octopus but that wasn’t all that we had!

To start off our meal we shared some raw oysters. They were absolutely outstanding. There’s a ‘rule’ (or perhaps an old wives tale?) that raw oysters are best in months that end in “R” so we’ve been waiting a few months to enjoy them again – and these were well-worth the wait! They serve them with Ponzu sauce, which I’ve never had for oysters before, but it was outstanding – they offered a lemon wedge as well, but with the Ponzu sauce, we didn’t feel the need for any further dressing to the oysters. They also have a bunch of green onions on them, which I mostly took off – I don’t like onions.  Shockingly, I didn’t even get a photo of the oysters!  We considered trying the gyoza, but there were other things we wanted to try more.  Next time!

Sashimi salad roll

Next up, we had the baby octopus, and then a salad roll. The salad rolls were on the same page as the special sushi rolls, and I didn’t really know what to expect. We had a Sashimi Salad Roll, which was served cut into four pieces, and generously drizzled with dressing. There were a lot of vegetables in the salad roll, and it was wrapped in the regular rice paper wrapper that salad rolls I’ve had before are rolled in.  I wasn’t overly impressed with the roll itself – though I think it would make a really nice option for someone who isn’t really interested in sushi or sashimi – or anyone who wishes they could get more vegetables when out for sushi!  It definitely made me think about trying to use those wrappers again (my first attempt didn’t really work out!).

Salmon and tuna sashimi

Next up, we had salmon and tuna sashimi.  I find myself going back and forth – sometimes I prefer salmon, sometimes I prefer tuna.  This time around I found that the tuna didn’t have as much flavor, so I preferred the salmon.  Lately I’ve had a lot of sashimi that hasn’t been cut well; its been sinew-y and tough to eat compared to the sashimi I’m expecting.  This sashimi was much better cut than the not-so-great ones I’ve been having lately.

Finally, we finished with some of our favorite sushi pieces.  Connie had scallop sashimi and saba, while I had my special scallop battleship-style nigiri and ikura.  Along with the oysters, these were really the highlights of the meal.

Favorites

The ikura was firm and burst with salty goodness.  The ratio of rice to eggs was good too, and it was put together well (ei: it didn’t fall apart when introduced to soy sauce).  The special scallop was a bit more creamy than I had been hoping for – but it tasted fantastic and was made just as well as the ikura.

As for the restaurant itself, it’s very small and tucked into an unimpressive strip mall.  The decor is clean and modern, but there aren’t very many tables.  When we arrived they were almost full, and when we left they were packed, with everything from couples and friends out for dinner to families. The servers seemed to be lacking a bit of communication (two servers both seemed to think we were in their section) but they made up for it with being friendly and accommodating.  The hostess (? busser?) also was very friendly and came by frequently to refill our waters.

For the amount of food that we had, I thought the prices were ok.  Our total bill came to $66 including tax before tip.  Sushi is never a ‘cheap’ meal….

Ok… so, what about other opinions about Shibuya? While looking for other blogs, I found Calgary Sushi (how have I never seen this before?!) who gave Shibuya a 8/10 in a 2008 article.  A lot can change in a few years though.  Food = Life gave it a good reviewas well, though I agree about the location – it’s not the easiest place for me to get to either.  Although I liked the ponzu sauce on the oysters, the author didn’t, but liked the onions.  Different tastes!  The last link I’ll leave you with is from Scrumptiously Fit Food, who offers up a review along with really fantastic and mouth-watering photographs.

Have you been to Shibuya?  What is your favorite item on the menu – the one item you’d recommend for the next time we go back again?  Let us know in the comments below!

Shibuya Izakaya
Central 16 Ave N
453 16 Ave NE
Calgary, AB T2E
(403) 277-8823

Shibuya Izakaya on Urbanspoon

Price chart

Sushi Menu price
Special scallop  $3.25 (I think the most expensive I’ve spent!)
Ikura  $2.25
 
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Posted by on October 2, 2011 in North-East Calgary, Sushi

 

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Shibuya Izakaya – Baby Octopus

One on my plate, the rest on the platter

A little bit ago, Connie took me to Shibuya Izakaya, where she had been previously with her sister. I checked it out online before we went, and saw a comment about the baby octopus. Having read about them previously on another foodie blog, I mentally added them to my list of things to try when we visited.

I hadn’t been to Shibuya before, but it was a small place in a little strip mall next to a Bubble Tea place – not the kind of place that would normally catch my eye – but my favorite sushi place is the same, so location can be deceiving!

The octopus is lightly breaded and fried, and served with a chili sauce.  Connie ordered a side of mayonnaise, but I wasn’t entirely sold on the mayonnaise and ended up kind of mixing the two together on my octopus.

My thoughts – they were good (albeit a little creepy to eat!) but really nothing special.  My inner wanna-be-vegetarian was mildly squicked, but I got over that – the taste just wasn’t all that special. They were a bit crisp, a bit chewy, but really other than the novelty, nothing I’d want to order again.

One of the little fellows

What are your thoughts?  Have you tried the baby octopus before?  Is there a better way that they’re prepared that is more tasty?  Let me know in the comments below!

Shibuya Izakaya
Central 16 Ave N
453 16 Ave NE
Calgary, AB T2E
(403) 277-8823

Shibuya Izakaya on Urbanspoon

As before, I’ll apologize for the iPhone photos!

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2011 in North-East Calgary

 

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