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Fast food sushi disappointment

Take out sushi from Sushi Ginza at Chinook Centre

Take out sushi from Sushi Ginza at Chinook Centre

I really should know better. Every time I’ve been to Sushi Ginza in Chinook Centre over the past few (years?) I’ve been disappointed. The worst part of it is that the rice is dry, but I also feel like there’s very limited selection.

 

But I don’t learn my lesson apparently – and once again while at the mall to do a little shopping (see my Instagram feed for my shopping scores) I was hungry and popped to the food court for a bite of dinner. The food court was PACKED and I hoped that since it was the busy period, this meant that the food would fresh- no more dry rice. I was wrong. I hate leaving bad reviews, but I really need to remember how disappointing this fast-food sushi is.

Take out sushi from Sushi Ginza at Chinook Centre

Take out sushi from Sushi Ginza at Chinook Centre

You might remember that I’ve also had GOOD experiences with fast food sushi… click the category tag below to get the highs and lows.

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2017 in South-West Calgary, Sushi

 

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Midori sushi lunch

Happy Sushi Belly has been pretty light on the sushi in the last little while, so I’m just sharing a quick photo from Midori, where I popped in for a quick lunch last week.

I haven’t been a fan of Midori in years I’m afraid, but a friend re-recommended them recently, for speed and a good price, so I figured I’d pop in between a meeting with some friends and my walk home. I ordered two pieces of chopped scallops ($3.50 each), and an Alaska roll ($8.00). While the roll was well priced, the chopped scallops were on the high side of regular pricing – nothing special there. The scallops were tasty for sure, but the roll was pretty blah, and the rice seemed a bit undercooked.

Unfortunately… my original opinion of Midori stands – I’m not super impressed. The cost wasn’t super-affordable, and the taste/quality wasn’t especially good. I want both (great quality/taste and great price) but I’m willing to run with just one… having neither doesn’t impress me. I’m glad that I checked them out again, but I think I could have had better sushi somewhere else – there are so many other sushi places on/near 17th Avenue!

Check them out yourself

Midori Japanese Cafe

1054 17 Ave SW
Calgary, AB
T2T 0B4
(403) 244-3787
http://www.midorijapan.ca/menu.html

Or check out some of the other places to eat on 17th Avenue! 

Midori Japanese Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2015 in Downtown Calgary, South-West Calgary, Sushi

 

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Bento Burrito food truck in Calgary

Bento Burrito food truck "Cali-ritto"

Bento Burrito food truck “Cali-ritto”

More food truck goodness at Mount Royal University!
One of the new ones to come to the MRU campus is Bento Burrito, which blends Mexican and Asian flavours – Connie followed a similar offering from California, but I hadn’t yet tried anything like it here at home.
That is.. until Bento Burrito! Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on October 9, 2014 in Food Trucks, South-West Calgary, Sushi

 

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Big Catch sushi in Kingsland Market

Roll from Big Catch Sushi in Kingsland Market

Meteor Rain Roll  in the foreground with the God of Wind roll in the background from Big Catch Sushi in Kingsland Market

 

I visited Big Catch a while ago, but then over and over again I kept seeing posts, tweets, and reviews raving about the kiosk in the Kingsland Farmer’s Market (just off MacLeod Trail).  I had to go back last Friday – and this time Connie came with me!

It took me a while to get back to Big Catch because of their hours. Since they’re in the market, they’re tied to the hours of the market – Thursday – Sunday only.  On the Friday when we went, the market closed at 5:00 p.m., but Big Catch is open 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Thank goodness, because we only just made it in time for 5:00 p.m. after work!

While we were both tempted by the sashimi (they offer 5 pieces of sashimi for $7.50 in either salmon, tuna, toro – fatty tuna, and wild salmon) we decided to go for the rolls that they’re really are known for.

Rolls from Big Catch Sushi in Kingsland Market - Such a pretty plate showing off the Meteor Rain and God of Wind Rolls

Rolls from Big Catch Sushi in Kingsland Market – Such a pretty plate showing off the Meteor Rain and God of Wind Rolls

I picked out the Mount Alaska roll that I’ve had before (skipping the onions this time) and the Zesty Avalanche roll, while Connie went for the God of Wind roll and the Meteor Rain.

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Posted by on March 29, 2014 in South-East Calgary, Sushi

 

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Sushi: Island Gourmet

Take - out sushi from the Island Gourmet (tuna and salmon sushi)

Take – out sushi from the Island Gourmet (tuna and salmon sushi)

While in Hawaii, I stopped in at the Island Gourmet Market near our hotel. Island Gourmet Market is an ABC store, but they have a decent deli section with ready-made sandwiches, pies, bento boxes… and sushi! (Plus drinks, ice cream, produce, and packaged food.) While my companion went for some chicken breasts and pasta salad, I grabbed a box of nigiri sushi and a box of rolls.

Take - out sushi from the Island Gourmet (veg roll)

Take – out sushi from the Island Gourmet (veg roll)

My companion said her chicken wasn’t great (too dry) but I thought my salmon and tuna nigiri sushi was pretty good (for take-out, fast-food sushi…) and the pickled daikon radish ‘oshinko’ roll was good, with the regular sweet-and-sour crunch that I’d expect. It’s not a diverse and interesting roll, but I figured I’d go for pieces that would be less challenging than some of the sauce-heavy offerings (which I worried would be soggy or too strong…).

It’s not as good as some of the take-out, fast-food sushi I’ve tried in the past, but it’s not bad….
For more fast-food sushi, follow the Fast-Food sushi tag! If you want to see some of the other options in Hawaii, visit the Hawaii tag too!

Island Gourmet Market
69-201 Waikoloa Beach Dr,
Waikoloa Village, HI 96738, United States
+1 808-886-3577

 
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Posted by on March 13, 2014 in Out of town - USA, Sushi

 

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Sushi & Co

If you follow my personal account (@SadinaDawn) on Twitter, you might have already had a sneak peek of my visit to Sushi & Co in September.  A friend (who runs the Dyeing for It hair page on Facebook) recommended Sushi & Co – because it was super-close to MC College where she was studying in the Hairstyling Program at the time. Due to the location I tried to get there twice with no success before finally getting there in September.

Cali Sunshine roll from Sushi & Co

Cali Sunshine roll from Sushi & Co

Location

Downtown apartments near Sushi & Co

Downtown apartments near Sushi & Co

Located just on the west edge of downtown Calgary, Sushi & Co is a take-out sushi shop ideal for grabbing a quick lunch (it’s steps away from the West Downtown/Kerby C-train station) and they have three options specifically for lunchtime diners.  Situated close to a number of beautiful downtown apartment towers, it’s also a good consideration for take-away dinner, which is what I had.

When I say take-away… I mean it. While there are three stools (with a small ledge) and a bench, it’s clear that these are only for people to sit and wait for their order to be ready.  While I was in there, there was one other person waiting for her order, and as I was leaving another came in to do the same.

Presentation

When I got home I was seriously impressed.  Many places just don’t know how to pack sushi for take-out. They pack it in the container like they would serve it on the plate, and by the time I get home with my dinner – everything has fallen all over the place and it looks terrible.  Sometimes filling falls out of battleship-style nigiri sushi, sometimes rolls unroll themselves, and sometimes the wasabi gets smeared all over everything…

Sushi & Co knows how to pack up to-go sushi! Not only did it arrive home intact (after a walk and a bus ride during rush hour!) but also still LOOKED beautiful.  The presentation was designed with travel in mind for sure!

My order

I ordered an order of Tuna Sashimi (7 pieces), a Rainbow Roll, and a Cali Sunshine Roll.  They have a fairly large selection of ‘large’ rolls, several of the small rolls, and then a few types of sashimi, nigiri sushi, plus cooked items like tempura.

The tuna was pretty much perfect – loads of flavour, and fantastic texture. The cuts were thick “fingers” rather than slices which was a bit different, but totally fine.

The two rolls were both crab and avocado on the inside, and the Cali Sunshine had a bit of tuna, a tiny sliver of mango, and a generous scoop of massago on each slice of the roll.  The Rainbow Roll was the same crab/avocado on the inside, with toppings of mango, shrimp, tuna, and avocado – plus more massago. The crab/avacado was delicious – cool and fresh-tasting, and the mango (which often can be just slightly off if cut up too early) was perfect.

Item Price
Tuna Sashimi (7 slices) $12.95
Rainbow Roll $13.95
Cali Sunshine Roll $13.95

Of course you’re welcome to follow me personally on Twitter, but if you want to get regular Happy Sushi Belly updates in your stream, consider following @HappySushiBelly too!

Sushi & Co
683 10 St SW, Calgary, AB T2P 5G4
(403) 532-7876

Sushi & Co. on Urbanspoon

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2013 in Downtown Calgary, South-West Calgary, Sushi

 

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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.

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

 

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Sushi: Big Catch

There’s a sushi place in SouthEast Calgary that has great reviews on UrbanSpoon – I keep thinking of going, but it’s never open when I’m in the mood for sushi and am in the area! Finally I got there though (after a Saturday afternoon of art shows and pottery sales!) and can attest that all of those great reviews are accurate – Big Catch is fantastic!

Located in the Kingsland Farmers Market, Big Catch is ‘fast food’ sushi at it’s best. You place your order, pay, and then they give you one of those little restaurant/pharmacy pagers so you can walk around (and get tempted by all of the other Farmers Market offerings) while they prepare your order. For dining, there is a small selection of tables inside, and then another section outside. I was happy to dine in the sunshine myself, though it did make taking iPhone photos a bit difficult! (Since I kept creating my own shadow, and couldn’t see the screen correctly with the glare!)

While I was trying to figure out what to have, the counter-clerk offered me a sample – it was their Passion Sunrise roll, and consisted of crab and avocado topped with salmon green onion, tobiko and “volcano sauce”. Although the rice was a little gummy, the flavour was fantastic, so I looked forward to my order….

Big Catch Sushi - Mount Alaska Roll

Big Catch Sushi – Mount Alaska Roll

Mount Alaska

The Mount Alaska roll is cucumber and tuna topped with smoked salmon, avocado, topped with “volcano sauce”, thinly sliced onions and black pepper. Of course, I had to pick off the onions, but other than that it was a fantastic roll – the rice was delicious, and none of the flavours really competed with one another. (I had thought that the strong flavour of the salmon or sauce might have been too strong.) So good!

Big Catch Sushi - Mount Alaska Roll

Big Catch Sushi – Mount Alaska Roll

Tuna Sashimi

I ordered the Tuna Sashimi, and the counter-clerk asked if I liked belly of tuna – because it was really good that day. I appreciated that – though I said no thanks – when I’ve had it before I didn’t like it nearly as much. The tuna was fantastic as well – though I really think that rolls is where Big Catch shines.

In closing

Now it might be strange to talk about service with a fast-food counter-service kind of place, but I was really impressed with the counter clerk – he was friendly, outgoing, and helpful.

Now… the hard part… Big Catch is definitely a “Catch” for sushi lovers in Calgary, but since it’s in the Farmers Market, the hours are a bit less than “Big”. As I write, they’re open Thursday – Sunday, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. which means that they’re much better as a weekend lunch than an after-work dinner. That being said, they offer take out (only) until 7:00 p.m. each of those four nights as well so if they’re on the way home, it’s a great option. The prices are average for most sushi places – I paid just over $20.00 for my tasty meal.

Big Catch
Kingsland Farmers Market
7711 Macleod Trail SE
Calgary, AB T2H1C3
(403) 708-5555

Big Catch on Urbanspoon

 
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Posted by on July 14, 2013 in South-East Calgary, Sushi

 

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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

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

 

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Sushi: Marra’s Way – Canmore

In December a friend and I were out in Banff and on the way back we stopped in Canmore for lunch. Our expectations were ready for Marra’s Way.

On our first visit we didn’t really understand that Marra’s Way was sort of a fast-food sushi place, and we didn’t really understand the system… but this time around we were better prepared.

Three Sisters from Marra's Way

Three Sisters from Marra’s Way

Close to the kitchen is a table with an assortment of different plates – you just get up and take what you want.  The first thing that I took was the Three Sisters plate – three different kinds of sushi.  Under the topping is a tempura shrimp and cucumber roll and the toppings include the Ahi Poke, salmon with onions (I picked them off) and shrimp salad.

I liked the variety of the toppings, but the roll itself was a bit dry for me.

Gyoza from Marra's Way

Gyoza from Marra’s Way

On the table near the front there wasn’t a lot that jumped out to us, so when the server came by, we placed an order instead/as well.  First we ordered a plate of gyoza to share, along with some of our favorite pieces.  The gyoza came quickly, but were terrible.  I had forgotten how terrible the gyoza are here…  They’re hard and tough and hard to eat.  I’d want to soak them in the dipping sauce if I could to soften them up a little bit – and even then they aren’t enjoyable. Just skip these…

Ikura from Marra's Way

Ikura from Marra’s Way

The next thing I ordered was one of my favorites – Ikura (salmon roe) This was pretty tasty, and well made up for the gyoza.

Chopped Scallop from Marra's Way

Chopped Scallop from Marra’s Way

Finally I had the really delicious chopped scallop.  It’s not as pretty as other places, but it was still really good.  I think the key here is to order off the menu as much as possible to get the freshest items.  This might also mean ordering things that aren’t already sitting on the table – because obviously if there’s something sitting there…that’s what you’ll get.

A much better experience with more realistic expectations at….

Marra’s Way Sushi 
637 10 St
Canmore, AB
(403) 609-0479
Marra's Way Sushi Ltd. on Urbanspoon

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2013 in Out of town - Alberta

 

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