Eating and Drinking Guide 2010: Best Sushi

October 25, 2010

Ajisai Sushi Bar
This pocket-sized restaurant is home to some of the city’s finest sushi. Absence of a hot kitchen forces a precise, creative focus on meticulously prepared sashimi and sushi incorporating trad ingredients and techniques. The ume shiso roll balances the tartness of preserved plum with shiso’s unique spiciness. Try the kani battera, sweet crab meat sushi prepared pressed Osaka-style. Closed Mondays and holidays.
2081 West 42nd Ave., Kerrisdale, 604-266-1428 

Dan Japanese Restaurant

Chef-owner Ken Oda’s menu exemplifies simplicity and creativity. The sushi and sashimi list is succinct and painstakingly chosen, changing regularly. Oda’s calamari roll accents perfectly crisped squid tempura with the salty sourness of umeboshi (Japanese pickled plum). Assorted sashimi is expertly trimmed and artfully plated. Closed Tuesdays. 2611 W. Broadway, Kitsilano, 604-677-6930. Danrestaurant.com

Octopus’ Garden Restaurant

At this Kits stalwart, chef Sada’s sushi list features playful flavour combinations executed with subtlety and finesse. The popular Yellow Submarine incorporates yellowtail tuna, mango, tobiko, oba leaf, green beans, and crunchy tempura; the Business Class combines both barbecued and smoked wild sockeye salmon with avocado and asparagus. Price tags, from $12 to $25, notch the upper end of the scale. 1995 Cornwall Ave., Kitsilano, 604-734-8971. Octopusgarden.ca

Zen Japanese Restaurant

The opportunity to sample chef Nobu Ochi’s exquisitely crafted, beautifully plated selection of sashimi, sushi, and innovative maki is well worth a trek across the bridge. Ochi’s Special Scallop Roll is a rich purple shiso and soy wrap brimming with sweet chopped scallops, masago caviar, and Japanese mayo. Tickle your taste buds with the Hamachi Peak, a delectable combination of yellowtail, shiso, and green onions in a tempura-crisped tofu-crêpe blanket. 101–2332 Marine Dr., West Van, 604-925-0667. Zensushi.ca

Zest Japanese Cuisine
At serene, elegant Zest, chef Yoshi Maniwa’s expert hand is readily apparent in dishes such as Four of a Kind: slices of yellowtail, white fish, red tuna, and octopus paired with four unique housemade soy sauces. At Shuraku, Zest’s hip baby sister, executive chef Masahiro Omori presents achingly fresh sashimi over crushed ice while rolling out inventive maki like his Red Torch Roll:  barbecued salmon skin and cucumber topped with kimchi, kaiware sprouts, and golden tobiko roe, drizzled with teriyaki and karashi mustard cream. Zest is closed Mondays. 2775 W. 16th Ave., Kitsilano, 604-731-9378. Zestjapanese.com; Shuraku 833 Granville St., Downtown, 604-687-6622

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