RSS

Tag Archives: conveyor belt

Sushi: Genki in Kona

Agedashi Tofu at Genki Sushi in Kona, Hawaii

Agedashi Tofu at Genki Sushi in Kona, Hawaii

As I mentioned in my previous post, I recently visited the Big Island of Hawaii. While I was there, I had dinner once more at the ‘fast-food’, conveyor belt-style sushi chain, Genki Sushi. This time I visited their location in Kona. To read more about my food experiences in Hawaii, please click the Hawaii tag!

Menu at Genki Sushi in Kona, Hawaii

Menu at Genki Sushi in Kona, Hawaii

Like a lot of conveyor-belt places, there was a menu which we could order off of, as well as taking items from the belt. I did order a few things, and while I was waiting for them to arrive I took a spicy tuna “volcano” roll from the belt. Usually I find the items on the belt to be of lower quality than the ordered items, but this was actually pretty good!

Read the rest of this entry »

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 11, 2014 in Out of town - USA, Sushi

 

Tags: , , ,

Sushi Bar Ren

I avoided Sushi Bar Ren for a number of years, despite it’s location which is conveniently close to me. After one visit recently, I realized I wasn’t missing anything, and wouldn’t return. Although their website says they are located in Signal Hill, they’re actually in the Richmond Plaza shopping centre near Canadian Tire and the Gym.

Conveyor belt sushi & service

Sushi Bar Ren interior

Sushi Bar Ren interior

In Sushi Bar Ren, sushi is delivered by train to stools around one of two counters. (While we were there only one was running, but there are two set up for when it’s busy.) The novelty of conveyor belt sushi has worn off for me, though it’s sure to amuse those who haven’t tried it before. However, there are many other places in and near Calgary that keep the novelty without sacrificing service or taste. Conveyor belt sushi is certainly less formal than table service, but I still anticipate a friendly hostess who keeps an eye on my drinks (and refills as needed), offers to explain the ordering system if needed, offers to take any orders of items not on the train, and pays attention to completion to bring the bill. Unfortunately, the hostess/waitress was not able to accomplish these tasks swiftly and without prompting. I suppose they rely on a black dry erase board behind the chef to communicate the ordering system with customers, rather than the personal touch.

I also like to think of sushi chefs as half chef, and half entertainer/host. Perhaps this isn’t why all chefs took up their trade, but I think that when you stand in the middle of the room crafting your dishes, you should come to the job with a smile and a desire to see your customers happy. Perhaps it was a bad day, but the chef seemed grumpy and unhelpful. After letting him know that we wanted to order a few things that weren’t on the train after he was done preparing a take-out order, he walked away into the back of the kitchen. I presume he had things he needed to do, but it would have at least been nice to give us a “be right back” nod or something. My companion assumed he was ignoring us and was done his shift or was taking a smoke break… When he returned and took our order, he didn’t give us everything we’d asked for, but with such an unapproachable demeanor, I wasn’t terribly interested in giving it another go.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
1 Comment

Posted by on August 19, 2013 in Gyoza (Dumplings), South-West Calgary, Sushi

 

Tags: , , ,

Sushi: Genki Sushi

I was in Hawaii (on the Big Island) in February, and had to stop for sushi while I was there… I stopped at a fast-food (conveyor belt) sushi chain place, where the service was minimal, but the food was (reasonably) good.

I say reasonably, because there were my favorites on the belt – but I really felt that they weren’t fresh, so they weren’t nearly as good.

Chopped Scallop sushi

Chopped Scallop sushi

However, I followed that with orders from the menu instead of taking things from the belt, and they were much better.

Ikura

Ikura

I had an order of salmon eggs (Ikura), plus a Volcano Roll (a California roll topped with spicy tuna).

Volcano roll in the foreground, crab salad to the left, and gyoza to the right.

Volcano roll in the foreground, crab salad to the left, and gyoza to the right.

I also split an order of gyoza (alright, but not great) while my companion had the crab salad sushi.

We also split an order of bean curd filled with Tuna salad – which I didn’t really like… but at least it was something different!

Our total bill came to $27.00 including tax.  Pretty good!

Bean curd pouches filled with tuna salad

Bean curd pouches filled with tuna salad

Genki Sushi
74-5450 Makala Blvd #202 Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
(808) 327-6776
http://www.genkisushiusa.com/
Genki Sushi on Urbanspoon

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 2, 2013 in Out of town - USA, Sushi

 

Tags: , , , ,

Sushi: Sushi Boat in Crowfoot

Last April, Connie and I visited Crowfoot shopping area and popped into Sushi Boat for some conveyor-belt-style sushi.  In January of this new year, I went there again, this time with a non-sushi-loving friend.

Sushi Boat in Crowfoot

Sushi Boat in Crowfoot

We went at dinner time on a Monday, and were seated in a booth almost right away.  The restaurant was noisy, but not so much that we were impaired from our conversation.  I was mildly disappointed with the selection though – some boats were full to the brim (mostly of things I wasn’t interested in) while other boats were completely empty.  We were disappointed that there wasn’t a menu near the entrance to preview the selection – mostly because my companion (dumplings) loves gyoza and they didn’t have any. Yam tempura and shrimp tempura were also on the menu, but she didn’t feel like that.  Instead she stuck with an order of (cold) edaname (we both prefer it hot), a few crab sushi pieces, and a shrimp tempura and cucumber roll (which unfortunately had cayenne pepper on the outside so was less enjoyable than it might have otherwise been.

For my meal, I had a few pieces of my favorite chopped scallop (a little too much mayo like last time, but otherwise ok) tobiko (overflowing with eggs), tuna (bland and not as fresh and tender as I would have liked), and scallop (which I’m pretty sure made me sick that night.. but was nice and sweet).

The price of unagi has gone up considerably, according to the frequent and large signs throughout Sushi Boat, but that isn’t something I enjoy anyways, but either other pricing has changed or chefs were making mistakes in the plating because what should have come on a red plate (one price) came on a green plate (a lower price).  I wasn’t going to argue though.  Our final bill for the two of us came to just over 25$ which I thought was fair – the food isn’t exceptional but it is alright, the service isn’t great, but it’s fine (we were seated quickly and our water delivered and topped up promptly – but I don’t expect a lot of service other than that at a boat-style sushi place), and the selection is somewhat varied but not extraordinary.

Overall, I still would prefer to order freshly made items from the menu, and wouldn’t consider this one of the better conveyor-belt sushi places I have been to, but it’s perfectly acceptable for a quick sushi fix between running errands or shopping in the area.

Sushi Boat
806 Crowfoot Cres NW
Calgary, AB
(403) 239-1818

Sushi Boat in Crowfot

Sushi Boat in Crowfot

Sushi Boat on Urbanspoon

 
3 Comments

Posted by on January 10, 2013 in North-West Calgary, Sushi

 

Tags: , , , ,

Sushi Land in Portland

I mentioned in my previous post about visiting a conveyor-belt style sushi place in Seattle.  While in Portland we checked out a different one.

LIke Blue C Sushi, I did a little research online before hand and a place called Marineopolis was well-recommended.  We went there and instead found a different place, but still conveyor-belt, called Sushi Land. I get the impression that they are one and the same, but it made it hard to find.  Still, sushi is sushi!

The conveyor belt

The set up at Sushi Land is not nearly as nice as Blue C Sushi, but it is bright and cheerful within. The first item I plucked from the belt was Tuna, though it took a long time to wait for it to come around, and there were only two or three pieces on the very long belt.

Tuna

I really was not impressed with my first selection – the tuna was ok, although a bit dry, and the rice was very dry – as though the tuna had been sitting on the belt for a very long time.  I do like how each plate is marked with the price – 150= 1.50$ for a plate of tuna.  I imagine that as prices change that each item is just moved from the lower price point plate to a higher one…

Salmon and Ikura

Next up I had two pieces of tobiko (which I didn’t photograph) and then a plate of salmon.  I was as equally disappointed with the salmon as I had been with the tuna and after that chose to order from the chef instead of picking things off the belt.  Like the tuna the salmon was somewhat flavourless, dry, thin, and topped off some dry rice as well.

Disappointed with the belt sushi I placed orders for Ikura and chopped scallops instead.

Ikura and chopped scallops

Having been made fresh – the Ikura was really quite good! The little eggs were firm and perfect!ff

Ikura

Looks tasty – right?

Chopped scallops

The chopped scallops weren’t quite as good, but still much better than anything I was taking off the belt.

Menu

Early when I sat down, I asked for a menu to see the pricing as well as what might be available to order.  I was a little annoyed to see the number of things that had been marked as unavailable, especially since two of them are ones I would have liked to try!

I was also a little disturbed at how dirty the menu was – it hadn’t been cleaned recently – it was covered in dried… soy sauce? I don’t like seeing that because it makes me wonder what else might be missing a good cleaning…. ew!

The sign outside

The service at Sushi Land was friendly – but very, very slow.  The chefs were exceptionally quick, but the server was unfortunately overworked (and thus slow) because of the number of people in there.  The server who was doing double-duty between serving and running the till was also sick with a cough which was uncomfortable too. I know that lots of my co-workers will come to work with the sniffles – but there is something unpleasant about eating at a place where someone is obviously under the weather.

With all of that said, Sushi Land was still pretty good once we ordered directly from the chefs rather than taking things from the conveyor belt, and it’s worth checking out if you’re in downtown Portland.

Sushi Land
138 NW 10th Ave
Portland, OR 97209
(503) 546-9933
http://www.sushilandusa.com/

 
1 Comment

Posted by on October 30, 2012 in Out of town - USA, Sushi, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , ,

Blue C Sushi Seattle

In late September – early October I headed to Seattle and Portland, and of course every time I get to the coast one of the things I have to check out is the sushi – and in Seattle it was top of the list!

Before going, I reviewed a few different options, and one of the places that seemed to be highly recommended was Blue C Sushi.  We went to the downtown location, and although it was later in the evening, there was a good-sized line up for a place to sit. Although  we could have sat at the counter, we had been walking for so long that although it might seem counter-intuitive, we really wanted to sit and relax at one of the few booths.

The conveyor belt with names for each dish

Blue C Sushi is another conveyor belt style of sushi bar – but unlike any I’ve seen before – each dish is well-labeled below the dish – assisting diners – but also conveying to the chefs which items need replenishing. (I’ve had my item labeled, but the label comes with the food – and thus there are no indications to the chef.) The label also had a brief description of the ingredients – an awesome touch.

I took a photo of the warm dishes as well – but they didn’t turn out.  Each of the warm dishes had a little burner under it to keep it warm. Very cool!

Avocado salad

My first choice was something I hadn’t seen before – an avocado salad – half an avocado cut up along with mango, edamame beans, a tiny bit of lettuce, and.. (sweet potato? I don’t remember!) It had a nice orange/citrus dressing as well which was delicious!

Massago (Or is this Tobiko?)

Next up – Tobiko – or Massago.  Oh.. I’m having a bad roe day! Someone, quick, correct me! Haha

Ikura

Right after being seated, I popped off to the washroom (restroom? I got teased while in Seattle at the concert I was there to see about the whole Canada/US washroom vs. restroom thing…) and my companion ordered my favourite Ikura and chopped scallop for me. They both came next – the Ikura was fantastic!

Spicy scallop

My companion had been very clear that we wanted chopped – NOT spicy scallop – and the server even came by to confirm that we did not want the spicy version.

Um. Oops.  The chef delivered the spicy one instead, which I really wasn’t fond of (just too spicy!) but still I wasn’t going to fuss too much!

Spicy tuna roll

Next up the spicy tuna roll (tuna, cucumber and spicy sauce) – again, a bit too spicy for my liking. Around here I was starting to get full – and yet there were so many that were so good to look at!  I highly recommend coming to Blue C with a friend or two and split some of these rolls – just to be able to try more varieties!

Lobster roll

I really wanted to try the Lobster roll as well – in honour of my friend Dee, who is just starting to try sushi, but still is hesitant to try too many of the raw varieties! This is lobster tempura with avocado. I thought it would be better than it was I’m afraid – but still interesting to try!

Smoked squid

I saw smoked squid on the menu – another thing I’ve never tried… so placed an order for that as well… Oh, we would waddle home to our hotel after all of this! Thank goodness we had walked so much this day! The smoked squid was actually REALLY good.  It reminded me a lot of bacon – with that kind of smokiness – and the texture of calamari.  I haven’t ever seen this locally – but if I did, I’d definitely try it again.

Menu at Blue C Sushi

A super-quick shot of the menu. oops – a little blurry!
Near the end of our meal, our server came by with a postcard with a QR code on it – if we voted for them in a Washington state contest, we could have 10% off our bill, and if we both voted, we could have 20% off. I was really pleased with our meal and with the service, so I was more than happy to vote. My companion also tried to vote but couldn’t get it to work – but the server still gave us the 20% off our bill – saving us a nice chunk of money for sure! Even without the discount – this was a pretty affordable sushi-night compared to Calgary prices – but with the discount, we seriously considered going back again – and would have if we had been able to juggle the timing.

Our bill for the night… we ate so much!

Blue C Sushi
7th Avenue location
1510 7th Ave
Seattle, WA 98101
Phone: (206) 467-4022

 
1 Comment

Posted by on October 26, 2012 in Out of town - USA, Sushi

 

Tags: , , ,

Sushi: Sushi Boat Crowfoot

In early April, Connie and I headed to a sushi place neither of us had been to before, but that she had heard excellent things about.

Like a few of the other places we’ve been, Sushi Boat is a conveyor-belt-style sushi restaurant – one of the places where you sit around the sushi bar, and a belt (often a train or a series of boats) travel around on a conveyor-belt and you take the sushi from the belt to your table.

Conveyor-belt-style sushi

Inside the very busy Sushi Boat

Like Kinjo, Sushi Boat is fairly noisy.  Unlike Kinjo, however, I found the staff much more enjoyable.

Like Sushi House Banff, Sushi Boat is very busy, but unlike Sushi House Banff, there is much more room in Sushi Boat – and they offer bar seating (good for one or two people, but it’s too noisy  if there are more people) table seating, and booth seating.  Both the table and the bar is on stools as well – so I was glad to sit in the booth.  We had a short wait to be seated (on a holiday Friday, during their lunch period.)

Like Genki Sushi in Maui, Sushi Boat has a chart indicating the prices, and the prices are fairly good, but like all of the conveyor-belt sushi places, the quality seems highly dependent on how fresh the sushi is. (And thus the most popular items are likely to be fresh, but also likely to disappear quickly.)

Salmon

The first plate I took from the belt was nigiri-style salmon sushi.  I thought it was really good, and I liked that they offered the regular soy sauce and the sweet sauce.  There was really nothing special about it, but it was good – a nice change of pace from some of the less positive experiences I’ve had with sushi in my previous few posts.

Salmon sushi

Salmon skin

Salmon skin roll

Next, we decided to split the Japanese Squash roll.  This comes on a plate of four – both of us wanted to try it, but neither of us were keen to have all four pieces if we really didn’t like it.  That was a very good choice, because on the same plate colour was also the Salmon Skin roll – and the pictures looked very alike.  What I thought was the squash roll was actually salmon skin, and I really didn’t care for it at all.  The flavour might have been ok, but the roll (both the filling and the rice) was extremely dry. I’m glad I tried it, but it won’t go on my “try again” list – though the dryness might have had more to do with the sushi sitting out too long (and not being freshly made) rather than the actual flavour itself.

Placing an order

Next up I placed an order for three items that I had read on the menu, but had not seen on the belt. The belt was mostly covered in rolls – and I wanted my battleship-style sushi pieces – chopped scallop, tobiko, and ikura.

Chopped scallop

First up, the chopped scallop.  I thought that there was far too much mayo in these, and although they tasted fine, there was really nothing special about them.  Like my previous visit to Fuji Yama, they used the pale tobiko in the mix, which didn’t POP in colour the way I love.

Next, the ikura.  I don’t love it when places fill up half the battleship with cucumber – the cucumber doesn’t help the taste of the ikura to me at all, it just comes off as cheap… The ikura in this case was fine – the eggs were firm and not at all cloudy.

Finally from my order, the tobiko – these were actually really good, brimming over with the tiny eggs.  Delicious!

Tobiko sushi

It was a bit hard to get the servers attention, and they don’t seem to have sections – we had service from three different servers throughout our meal.  While this is great – it would  have been nice to know this going into Sushi Boat, since I waited until I saw ‘our’ (or who I thought was ‘our’) server to place my order.

Tempura roll

Tempura roll

Next up, we split one of the big rolls that we saw the chef cutting up – a salmon, onion and cucumber, wrapped up with a lot of rice, seaweed, and then fried up like tempura.  This was really large, and having one piece was really more than enough.  The roll stayed together very well though – unlike some of the other large rolls that I’m used to (and like what Connie had herself…)  The flavour of this one was nice – the tempura has a nice crunch, and the onion was not at all overwhelming – I normally can’t stand onion in dishes, but since this was green onion, and there was SO much rice, it wasn’t bad.  This was a good three-bite roll though!

At that point, I sort of figured that if another salmon nigiri (or better still, tuna!) came around, I’d grab it – but other than that, I was pretty full. Unfortunately, no salmon (or tuna) came around, so that was where I ended my meal!

Each of the dishes is covered with a little bowl

Atmosphere

As I mentioned before, Sushi Boat is very noisy, with chefs ‘throwing’ new dishes onto the boats regularly.  However, it was not so noisy to keep us from having a nice conversation during our lunch.

One interesting thing that we noticed (ok… Connie noticed!) was they used two machines to handle their rice.  One was loaded up, and deposited uniform little mounds of sushi rice for nigiri sushi and battleships, while another pressed out flat sheets of rice upon which the chef would layer the seaweed ready for rolls.   These were pretty interesting to watch, and certainly speeds up the time needed to make the different dishes to maintain high volume… At the same time, it sort of takes the ‘art’ out of it too…

I appreciate that they do the tempura in the back, rather than out where customers can see, but there was also a chef cutting up three fish while we were there.  If I were a vegetarian, I would have found this highly offensive, and even as it was, I found it really disgusting and off-putting. It is just something I really, really don’t want to see.  Slicing sashimi or sushi selections from a larger piece of fish I don’t mind, but this was pretty gross to me.  This too, should be done in the back; out of sight.

Price

The prices seemed pretty good -not outstanding, but alright. There were also a few specials on – highlighted on a  white board (which makes me believe that they regularly have these specials).  When we indicated we were ready for the bill, a server came to count our plates, but got a little confused.  Another server then came and confirmed (and corrected) his count, and then those sheets we took to the front desk.   My order came to $15.xx, which I thought was pretty reasonable.  Oddly enough, with this method, there is really no way of offering a gratuity, which I only realized after the fact.  Since the servers all seem to be all over the place, and the person who seats you, brings you water, takes your orders, and handles your bill could be three or four different people, I guess this makes sense, and since they aren’t really doing a LOT in terms of service, it makes sense too – but I still found it strange.

Wrapping up

So, what are YOUR thoughts on conveyor-belt style sushi?  Have you been to Sushi Boat?  If you want to read some other opinions, check out Food for Thought, who offers up a positive review, or Calgary Eats which has a very negative review.  If this sounds familiar, you might have read Connie’s review earlier!   If you have thoughts of your own, please share them in the comments below!

Sushi Boat
806 Crowfoot Cres NW
Calgary, AB
(403) 239-1818

Sushi Boat on Urbanspoon

 
1 Comment

Posted by on June 7, 2012 in North-West Calgary, Sushi

 

Tags: ,

Sushi: Genki Sushi on Maui

The conveyor belt with signs letting diners know what they are choosing.

Well, it is highly unlikely that I’ll ever get back to Maui’s Genki Sushi in Lahaina, but I thought that I’d share some photos and thoughts from my vacation with the readers of Happy Sushi Belly!

Preamble

The menu from Kai Wailea

Our first sushi attempt was in the Shops at Wailea – an open-air mall with some really high-end shops (Betsy Johnson, Versace, Gucci, Rolex, etc..) at Kai Wailea.  Of course, one look at the menu, and we decided not to stop in – the prices were just too high to justify a quick lunch, especially since we were hot and sweaty – hardly feeling up for something posh.  (For an example of the prices, two Ikura is $8.95, a California Roll is $8.00, and 5 pieces of Tuna sashimi is $14.95…. this is about twice of what I’d pay back home…)  I’m sure the food was good – but not what we were in the mood for.

So, we headed down the road to Sansei Seafood & Sushi in Kihei.  Tucked into a little strip mall, we didn’t think this would be nearly as posh as Kai – but unfortunately we didn’t have the chance to find out – because when we got there (about 2:30pm… I never seem to want lunch at “lunch-time”) they were closed.  Bad luck for me – apparently they’re only open for dinner.  Looking at their menu – we might have been missing out – it looks delicious! (Though prices aren’t listed…)

Ok.. third time is the charm, right?  We headed into Lahaina and went to Zushi.  This is a TINY place in a strip mall.  I had seen the back of the shop from the highway, and found our way over there – only to find that it was also closed.

Giving up, we headed to the other side of the highway and over to the Outback Steak House, and instead found Genki Sushi!  I was really happy to finally get my fill of some Maui Vacation Sushi!

The Main Event

Chopped scallop

Like Sushi House Banff or Kinjoin Calgary, Genki Sushi is the “conveyor belt” style sushi restaurant, with limited table service (the server brought us water, but even juice and pop are available on the very long train) for additional items.  The menu, soy sauce and chopsticks are on the table, but everything else comes off the track.  (Including both wasabi and ginger.)  There is a menu on the table showing everything they have to offer, but before each of the items there is also a picture with the name of the item and it’s price which is really helpful and fun!  We did order two items (Cream Cheese & Salmon roll – aka a Philadelphia Roll, and an order of salmon sashimi) but everything else we picked off the track.

First up – chopped scallop roll.  This is normally one of my favorites, but this honestly wasn’t good and it set me up for low expectations.  The scallop had likely been sitting too long, and it was dry and a bit fishy tasting.  Not good.  Of course, if you read Happy Sushi Belly you know that Ikura is my other favorite – but they didn’t have any at the time being – though it is on their menu.

Volcano Roll – yummy!

Next up – I loved the look of the Volcano roll – a California-type roll, covered in mounds of chopped raw tuna and lots and lots of spicy sauce (not the spicy mayo, but rather the clear spicy sauce).  I grabbed it off the conveyor belt and had my expectations return – it was delicious, with tender tuna, hot spicy sauce (but not TOO spicy) and a nice fresh roll under the whole thing.  If I hadn’t wanted to try some of their other flavours, I probably would have had another!

While I had sushi, my companion (who isn’t a sushi-lover) was in the mood for some edamame – they had both a spicy version and a plain version.  I had one or two, and wasn’t overly thrilled (I like them when they’re freshly steamed and still hot) but she liked them well enough.  She also picked up an order of gyoza, which she said were very good, though I would have hesitated – since part of what I love of gyoza is that vinegar-sour sauce.

Tempura California Roll

She must have really liked what she tried, because she got adventurous, and tried their Tempura California Roll next.  This is a basic California roll… which has been battered and fried, then topped with spicy sauce (the clear one rather than the creamy one) and green onions.  It’s a bit too much for me – but I did try one piece and it was remarkably good – not at all greasy or heavy – though I don’t think I’d want more than a few pieces to myself.

Cream Cheese Roll – aka Philadelphia roll

Salmon Sashimi

My salmon sashimi came up next, and while it was good, it wasn’t remarkable.  The Cream Cheese roll (aka Philadelphia Roll) was next, and it was good, though not as well blended in terms of flavours as I was expecting. Of course, I picked off the onions, but I really liked the extra salmon on top!

Crab-mayo sushi

My companion was once again feeling adventurous and picked up an order of Crab Mayo – basically shredded crab meat mixed with Japanese mayonnaise in a battle-ship style sushi.  She said it was good, but not fantastic. Still… small steps!

Tasty Red Velvet cupcake!

Finally, I picked off the red velvet cupcake from the belt.  I have no idea how red velvet cupcakes fit in with sushi… but it looked delicious – and it was! Since we were pretty full, we split it, but if I hadn’t had so much sushi, I definitly could have eaten a whole one myself – with lovely light cream cheese frosting on top, and a nice moist cupcake with a squirt of chocolate sauce on the inside. Yum yum!

The conclusion

What I loved most about Genki Sushi was all of the selection.  There were so many different flavour combinations and new-to-me flavours(Spam sushi, onion-salmon, garlic-ebi(raw sweet prawn), garlic-salmon, yaki (seasoned and seared)-salmon, abalone salad battleship sushi, ahi (tuna) poke battleships, hot dog rolls, garlic-ahi, their Genki burger, and a bunch of vegetarian options like spring bean tempura, cold and cooked tofu, eggplant fry sushi, ocean salad battleships, plus several non-sushi items to like several salads, and cooked dishes.)  With that being said, since I don’t like onion or garlic, those ones weren’t on my must-try list… and many of the other unique options weren’t available at the time we were there.  Others I might have tried if I had seen them on the belt, but I wasn’t up for ordering a full order sight unseen.  Next time!

The sushi approaches!

Also, the prices were great.  All the reading I’ve done about conveyor-belt style sushi makes it sound as though it should be a fast-food price-level experience. You don’t get lots of personal service, and the chef can make whatever is selling best or whatever he has the ingredients for.  With this in mind, the price point SHOULD be lower than a la carte sushi IMO.  Genki Sushi finally lives up to this.  (See my price chart below.)

What I liked least – was that almost none of the dishes were covered in any way.  The salads were mostly covered (likely to keep them fresh longer?) but very little else was.  I suppose it’s my paranoia after seeing people at other conveyor-belt places pick things off the belt, look at them (and breath on them) and then put them back that puts me a little off the lack of coverage – especially when the restaurant is long and narrow.  At a place like Sushi House Banff you can see what all of your fellow diners are doing – here you wouldn’t be able to.  (Which certainly has it’s advantages as well…)  I guess you just have to trust your fellow diners to maintain the same level of cleanliness and tact that you yourself have!

Our final bill

Genki Sushi has locations in Hawaii and Washington state in the USA, along with locations in Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong… if you’ve traveled to any of those places (or, if perhaps there are some international readers!) and have tried Genki Sushi – what do you think?

Price chart

Sushi Menu price
Salmon sashimi $3.95/ 4 pieces
Special scallop $2.30 / 2 pieces
Edamame $1.55 / 1 bowl
Cream cheese roll / Philadelphia roll $3.95 / 4 pieces
Volcano roll $4.95 / 4 pieces
Gyoza $2.30 / 3 pieces

Genki Sushi‎
345 Keawe St # 301
Lahaina, HI 96761-2731
(808) 661-0333
genkisushiusa.com‎

Genki Sushi on Urbanspoon

 
2 Comments

Posted by on February 23, 2012 in Gyoza (Dumplings), Out of town - USA, Sushi, Treats

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Sushi Ginza

From the outside

While in the deep recesses of South Calgary, dinner time beckoned and we found ourselves at Sushi Ginza in Willow Park.  Before getting out of the car, we checked the menu online (to ensure that they offered enough non-sushi options for my non-sushi-loving companion) and I checked UrbanSpoon on my iPhone as well to see what kind of reviews other posters and bloggers were offering.  Overall, my expectations were pretty high (with my only hesitancy coming from an anticipated high bill too…).  What would we do without technology huh?  Need to go into a resturaunt to see their menu, need to call friends to get opinions… LOL

I was really impressed by the decor in Sushi Ginza – it looks as though it’s the kind of place that has been here for a while, and that the owners really care in creating an entire experience for their patrons, rather than just selling them food.  Right away we were asked by the hostess if we wanted to sit at the (conveyor belt style) sushi bar or at a table – after a fantastic conveyor belt sushi bar experience in Banff, I would have been up for it again – but with a non-sushi-eating companion, we chose a table instead.

Gyoza

We started with an order of Gyoza.  While my companion really liked them (eating some of my ‘half’ as well as her own!) I wasn’t terribly impressed.  I thought that perhaps the dough was too thin, because they broke apart too easily, and seemed somewhat “mushy” to me.  However, the flavor of the filling was excellent.  They served it on a plate where the dipping sauce was very shallow, and it spilled over the dumplings as well.  I usually really like the dipping sauce, so I didn’t care for this either.  Giving up some of my share wasn’t a huge loss, especially since my companion was really happy with them.

Tempura

My companion ordered a tempura plate, which came with a LOT of tempura – including really nice large pieces of yam and broccoli.  I personally really prefer large pieces, because I can get tired of the tempura batter after a (short) while.  This happened to my companion as well, and even though it was really good, she said it was also too much.  Next time: mental note to order a smaller order of tempura, and then a salad or something as well, to avoid getting tired of the tempura batter flavour.

Three of my favorites

I ordered my usual favorites – Ikura (salmon roe), and special scallop (chopped scallop with mayo and tobiko (flying fish roe)). I also ordered two pieces of masago (smelt roe) from their a la carte menu, and then from their regular menu, a Mt. Fuji roll which was a tuna and avocado roll topped with yam tempura and spicy sauce.

Mt. Fuji roll

My sushi was really good.  The Mt. Fuji roll was a perfect balance of flavors, and a good size – not those huge rolls that you have to take apart to eat.  The spicy sauce was just that – spicy, but not too much, and the yam tempura on top was an unexpected and delightful flavor.  (Mind you, the only tempura that I reallllly like is the yam one anyways, so I’m probably biased towards yams!)  The presentation was pretty, with lots of extra drizzled sauce for dipping.  My only problem is that the soy sauce dish is attached to the plate, and is very shallow, so I ended up getting spicy sauce in my soya – which wouldn’t have been so nice for the other selections.

The Ikura (salmon roe) was firm, although just a tiny bit stickier than I normally like it.  I also found that their rice was a bit sweeter than I normally like it – though eating it in rolls was fine.  If I had been having a bowl of it – it would have been too much.  The masago was good, and the special scallop was delightful.

Looking towards the sushi bar

Menu shot #1 – Click to enlarge

The service was prompt, attentive, and that wonderful mix of friendly AND professional.  I was surprised though that during the time we were there, not a single person sat down at the conveyor belt sushi bar – though that is where the chefs were preparing my sushi, so they were busy.  Not sure why this might be – however the restaurant was not packed at all while we were there.  (Dinner hour on a weeknight.)  The rest of Sushi Ginza was reasonably busy – not so much that we were rubbing elbows with neighbors, but still active.  There was one table with a little child who shrieked like a banshee at one point – but only once.  Good parents!  I appreciated that they had an online menu, and although we didn’t have alcohol, I liked the fact they had a decent drink menu.

Menu shot #2 – Click to enlarge

The price – well, Sushi Ginza was expensive.  Not the most expensive place I’ve ever gone for sushi, but still pretty high.  I think that between the two of us, the bill came to $68.00 before tip.  Although the atmosphere was good, the staff were great, and the food was good, the cost and the location (far from where I live and normally travel) will likely keep me from returning too frequently.

Have you been to Sushi Ginza?  What do you think of the koi pond in the middle of the restaurant?  Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

.

Sushi Ginza
10816 Macleod Trail South
Calgary, AB
(403) 271-9642

Sushi Ginza on Urbanspoon

Price chart

Sushi Menu price
Special scallop $2.75
Ikura $3.50
Masago $2.25
Gyoza (8) $7.95
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 31, 2011 in Gyoza (Dumplings), South-East Calgary, Sushi

 

Tags: ,

Sushi House Banff

Normally I have avoided the conveyor belt sushi places.  These are the places where the chef prepares plates of one roll, or two pieces of nigiri sushi, or a small bowl of salad – and places them on a conveyor belt – usually shaped like a train or little tug boats.  I’ve always felt as though the sushi would not be as fresh – and that going past patron after patron – that the chance of germs would be higher as well.

Well… I’m ready to toss that whole idea out of the window after visiting Sushi House Banff.

I’ve walked past it several times, and have always gone somewhere else – but I highly recommend popping in -if you can find a place to sit.

The restaurant is extremely small – there are maybe 14 seats – and you will be rubbing elbows with your neighbor – this is a shared eating experience for sure!  The seats are also stools – which I find really uncomfortable – but … for sushi in Banff (especially in the day when my favorite place is closed) it’s a great alternative.

(The other two places include a very expensive – but good – place in the Banff Springs Hotel and a highly disappointing Sushi Bistro.)

So – after finding a seat (we didn’t need to line up, but as we were leaving there was a pair of beautiful young Japanese women who were anxiously waiting for our seats), and rubbing elbows, and kind of feeling like you need to hurry through your meal… why?

The food – it’s excellent.

Sushi House Banff

We were new to the conveyor belt style – so I’ll give you a run-down in case you are too.  There is a menu describing the things that they offer – but the chef is in the middle, so you can see what he’s making as he makes it.  Each item is on a specifically coloured plate – the blue plates are the most expensive (the menu will tell you the prices) while the ivory plates are less, and the pale blue plates are less still.  Do I even need to say that I picked mostly dark blue plates? As the train goes around, you pick off what you want (it took me a bit to get a hang of the timing, and my companion had to grab two of my first dishes for me!).  When you’re done, the hostess counts up the number of plates you have, and prepares your bill.

The cost – I would have thought that this fast-food kind of sushi should have been cheaper – after all, the chef really only has to make the items that he has the ingredients for, and there is no real service – since it’s mostly self-serve.  However, the price was very similar to an ordinary sushi restaurant.  My companion’s lunch (who picked mostly ivory plates) came to about 21$ before tax, while mine (mostly dark blue plates) came to about 28$ before tax.

In terms of keeping germs off – MOST (but not all) of the plates have small plastic covers.  This is great – but the covers are the same diameter as the plate – which makes them hard to pick up off the train.  However – one note on ettiquite – (and yes, this is directed at one of the people who came in as we were finishing our meal) if you don’t know what something is – ask the hostess or the chef.  Don’t pick up the plate, with your potentially unwashed hands, breathe on it, look at it, and then put it back on the train.  Ew.

Also – I found it a bit hard to get the hostess’ attention when I wanted to place an order – but when I did, the chef made it very quickly, and we admired watching his skill.  For some good photos of the space, check out the Google listing, or Rob’s Flicker photo.  If you want to read other reviews, (and much better photos than I have!) check out Elsie’s blog, or F-log for thought.  Note to self – try this place in the evening too – and use my good camera!

So – I have had the chance to eat at all (I think) of the sushi places in Banff – but I haven’t blogged about all of them yet.  Who wants to come on up with me to Banff some time to write about the others?  Which Banff sushi place is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!

Sushi House Banff
304 Caribou Street,
Banff, AB
T0L 0C0
(403) 762-4353 ‎

Sushi House on Urbanspoon

 
2 Comments

Posted by on August 1, 2011 in Out of town - Alberta, Sushi

 

Tags: , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: