A new sushi restaurant popped up in my neighbourhood recently!
F and I decided to check it out sometime after he saw his friend Raymond blog about it over on his sushi blog (Raymond’s Sushi Adventures).
It was also my twenty-first birthday the other day. After our club’s event was cancelled, F and I decided to go out for dinner and celebrate a second time (first was at Miku!).
It was pretty quiet inside the (very new) Korean-run establishment.
The game was playing and Norah Jones-esque lullabies playing the background.
We set about perusing the menu. As far as sushi restaurants go, it’s pretty affordable.
We ordered a few items and got back to chatting. In almost no time at all, the waitress came back with complimentary miso soups. The soup wasn’t salty at all, which many people might prefer, and the tofu added some good texture. I personally enjoyed it.
One of the things I overall disliked about Sushi Aria was their cutlery and bowls. The spoons didn’t hold much and I struggled to not splash soup everywhere (eventually holding the bowl closer to my mouth). True I’m a bit clumsy, but I’ve never experienced this with miso soup before! Maybe it would have been better if I had drunk it the traditional way, sans spoon.
The sauce in the seafood salad (to be discussed shortly), splashed a lot in the shallow serving bowl as well. Maybe the problem is that there’s too much soup or sauce concentrated in the kinds of serving utensils & bowls they supply? But more on that later…
The rate at which dishes came out was amazingly quick. We received new dishes long before we finished old ones, and at one point filled our table completely with food.
A part of me was happy at not having to wait half an hour for food (looking at you, Tokiwa). Another part of me wondered how they could prepare the dishes so quickly… some were, tellingly, simply to put together. The others came out quickly I assume because there weren’t many other people in the restaurant. Which is kind of a shame! Sushi Aria isn’t fine dining but it’s a bit better than your average sushi shop while still keeping prices low.
Our seafood salad was first to arrive after the miso soup. We asked to have the wasabi mayo on the side, since neither of us are big wasabi fans.The rest of the dressing seemed to be mostly on the bottom, the consistency and quantity of the dressing at the bottom made it a bit difficult to mix around, since it splashed easily. Mixing the dressing into the greens before serving would have been appreciated.
The seafood was decent, but felt completely independent of the salad since it hadn’t soaked in the flavour of the sauce. F thoroughly enjoyed the noodles with the sauce, though, which absorbed the sauce’s flavour much better than the seafood. The dish is of course nothing like Ajisai’s seafood salad, but it’s also $7, so I wasn’t expecting it to knock my socks off–just fill me up, and succeeded in that respect.
Next was the ebi mayo for $6.50, which was… not what I was expecting! The ebi had a sugary, honey-flavoured, crispy deep-fried layer with the mayo mixed inside. It’s absolutely nothing like traditional ebi mayo, but it was charming in a carnival-food kind of way. That’s probably a good descriptor: it tasted like carnival food.
If I go back (and it’s definitely possible, since Sushi Aria is so close by), I might order it again, just to try the weirdness of it again.
F ordered the nabeyaki udon for $6.95. It’s quite filling and can be ordered on its own as a full meal, with any one appetizer. I thought the udon noodles had a yeasty kind of texture, but the bowl’s contents were otherwise average. They delivered on quantity, not really quality.
Our final dish was our aburi oshi, which arrived while we were still polishing off the ebi mayo and udon. We chose the salmon and toro oshi at $10.25 and $11.25 per 8 piece set. Much cheaper than Miku or Minami, and for what it’s worth on the better end of the Not-Seigo Nakamura Aburi Sushi scale available in Vancouver.
While I usually favour salmon oshi, I thought the toro oshi was actually better here, with sharper flavours and a less creamy texture. F said that the mayo flavour of the sauce on top was a bit too strong, and I agree–more so with the salmon oshi than the toro. I wasn’t a huge fan of the green bean (or asparagus?) that was in the centre of the toro oshi, but overall it is one of the dishes I would want to order again.
Will one bite transport you to another world? No, it won’t. But it’s still good, and if you’re looking to get your aburi sushi fix at a more affordable price, Sushi Aria isn’t a bad choice.
“Just like aburi,” to steal F’s words, “Sushi Aria overall isn’t a bad choice.” Not amazing, but the price to quality ratio is pretty good.