Restaurant: Seto Sushi Japanese Restaurant
Last visited: July 4, 2010
Location: Richmond, BC
Address: Unit 155 – 8460 Alexandra Road
Price Range: $10-20
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
- Since 1997
- Japanese owned and operated
- Traditional Japanese food/dishes
- Fresh sashimi/fish
- Popular for sushi and traditional Japanese specialties
- Extensive menu
- Extensive Japanese liquor menu
- House smoked salmon for rolls
- Sushi bar
- Popular to locals
- Busy at peak hours
- Casual and cozy
- Seasonal specials
- Lunch specials
- Reasonably priced
- Photos of food on menu
- Lunch and dinner
- Accepts Visa/MC
- Closed Tuesday, closes 2:30-5:30pm
**Recommendations: Chawanmushi, Ochazuke with Salmon Roe, sushi (hot pot, tamago – didn’t try on this occasion, but it’s popular here)
Seto Japanese Restaurant is a humble Japanese restaurant tucked away in the corner of a plaza. It’s popular to Richmond locals and is the first place that comes to mind when searching for reasonably priced traditional Japanese food in the city of Richmond.
It’s owned and operated by Japanese people and the best dishes are their sushi, Japanese hot pot, and traditional specialties that I rarely see elsewhere. It’s old school mom and pop traditional Japanese style cooking and preparation. They offer almost every traditional Japanese dish you can think of. From traditional appetizers, soups, salad, sushi, sashimi, donburi, hot noodles, cold noodles, robata, hot pot, Japanese ramen bowls, and even home made Japanese desserts (they even offer horse sashimi) Seto does almost all Japanese food. With such an extensive menu I would think they do nothing well, however they really care about what they serve and it felt like they wouldn’t serve anything they wouldn’t eat themselves.
I don’t have a lot to compare to, but I find authentic Japanese food hard to find since almost everything is all fusion nowadays. I do love fusion Japanese food because it’s so creative, but the authentic food is equally as special and rare. I always try to find the closest thing to the real deal (without having to go to Japan) because the watered down version of ethnic cuisine really bothers me. I almost always want what they would eat or what they would could at home. At Seto they uses their own home cooked recipes and it definitely made me curious enough to want to go back and try more.
This was another notorious “Follow Me Foodie meal” where me and my friend manage to shock the server with the amount we order… and order even more AND finish everything. It’s always a different friend… but the commonality is me… soooo what does that say? Oh dear…
On the table:
- I didn’t try this, but my friend said it’s better than average Miso soup. I could tell just by looking at it. It wasn’t too salty either and there were little bits of tofu too.
**Chawanmushi – 4.5/6
- Steamed egg custard with seafood and veggies $4.50
- This was my favourite dish of the night! It was amazing! It’s traditional Japanese comfort food although the process of making it is time consuming.
- I even loved how traditional they were with the presentation. It was no gimmick either, because the plating served a purpose. This is best eaten hot, so the glass cup and wooden lid keeps it well insulated.
- I accidentally deleted the photo of it before I destroyed it
- There’s a Chinese version that’s equally as good and both are rare to come across. I’ve had the Chinese version at Negative Space Chinese Cuisine.
- Chawanmushi is a traditional Japanese appetizer. It’s the texture of silky tofu but the taste of deliciousness! It’s almost like a savoury pudding. It’s really smooth and tastes like steamed egg whites mixed with mushroom broth. There’s a natural liquid that seeps out of the custard and it tastes like mushroom juice.
- There’s juicy shiitake mushrooms, a couple enoki mushrooms and spinach on top. At the bottom of the custard cup there’s a small scallop and half a prawn (the prawn gets overcooked though).
- This is a single serving, and trust me, you’ll want your own.
- We actually ended up ordering 3 of these between 2 people… lol
- Some people will eat it with soy sauce on top, but I don’t think it needs it because the custard is flavourful and salty enough on it’s own. It also has that mushroom juice already.
- The custard is made with eggs, fish stalk (made of fish and kelp/seaweed), salt, a little sugar, and sometimes some Mirin. It’s savoury, slightly sweet and slightly woody in flavour from the Shiitake mushrooms that are infused throughout the custard.
- It’s steamed until it sets into a silky custard and is served immediately. It’s piping hot and so good!
House Roll - 3/6
- 1/2 roll (4 pcs) – $7.50 Full roll (8 pcs) – $14
- Prawn tempura, fresh salmon, avocado, imitation crab
- Let me put into perspective how big this roll is…
- I still don’t think you can tell just how big this was. That was also a mini pen though. It was Samurai Sushi big. Jumbo sushi! It was a 2-3 biter so I couldn’t taste everything at once.
- I know ‘House Rolls’ don’t really exist in Japan, but I really like them because they have little bit of everything. However, in this case it didn’t … I actually would prefer the Samurai Sushi House Roll. However I would prefer Yoko Sushi House Rolls any day.
- This one has avocado, crab, green been tempura, prawn tempura, and salmon sashimi. I wanted tuna sashimi and tamago (egg) in it as well. I know a house roll is “up to you” but I think tamago is standard.
- They used the rice to make the roll a bit bigger and usually that really bothers me, however the sushi rice here is really good! It’s very flavourful and sticky and I really liked it even by itself.
Negi Toro Roll – 4/6
- Chopped tuna belly and green onion $3.25
- This Negi Toro roll was better than most. I think it was because of the fish. The toro was so fresh and so fatty that the roll was super creamy and flavourful. I know it looks boring and ordinary, but it definitely tasted better than normal.
- The sushi rice is already really good here too so all in all it was an excellent Negi Toro roll.
Saba Battera – 4/6
- Marinated Mackerel pressed in square mold on sushi rice $10
- This is a very traditional Japanese sushi, and I think the price is reasonable. It’s the authentic way to serve and make Saba Battera. No fancy sauces.
- Although they used more rice than I would like (even for a pressed sushi) the sushi rice is really good here so it didn’t bother me as much. The best pressed sushi I’ve had thus far is still the Aburi Salmon Oshi Sushi from Miku Restaurant.
- Saba Battera pressed sushi has a really fishy taste. I think it’s marinated in vinegar or Mirin and a little salt. It tastes almost pickled and reminds me of pickled Herring.
- Stuffed in the middle of the square rice was a Aspidistra leaf and it was perfect with the fish because it balanced out the fishy Mackerel taste. Aspidistra is a Japanese herb and it reminds me of mint. It has a slightly hairy texture, which goes unnoticed in this sushi, but the flavour is obvious. It has a minty and lemony flavour and a little goes a long way.
- On top of the Mackerel was a thin sheet of fresh kelp/seaweed that was sweetened.
- It was salty, tangy and sweet but predominantly fishy. Although fresh, I just wish the cut of the Mackerel was sliced thicker.
Hamachi Shioyaki – 2/6
- BBQ Yellowtail with salt $10.50
- This is from their robata (Japanese BBQ) menu.
- It’s washed and salted before it is grilled. It was overcooked for me and a bit too dry which made it even firmer. It reminded me of dry trout almost. It wasn’t too salty in flavour and the lemon helped a lot.
- I much rather have the Hamachi Shio Kama Yaki from Miku which had a nice salt crust.
Shishamo – 2.5/6
- Grilled smelt fish (3 pieces) $4
- The whole thing is edible including the head, but for some reason I didn’t eat that part. I don’t know why… I ate a raw octopus head in Korea see video here … so I don’t know know why I didn’t eat the head here.
- It’s barbequed until the whole thing is crispy and almost like chips. It’s nice and salty with a smokey charcoal flavour.
- It has a crispy outside, but the inside is full of mini eggs. It may freak you out – it totally freaked me out the first time I tried it… which was when I was 9.
- It was a mild fish taste and the inside is almost like a dry mushy paste. The roe is so small it’s almost creamy. I wouldn’t normally order this, but I’ll eat one if it’s there… not my favourite though.
**Ochazuke (Tea on Rice) - 4/6
- Salmon, Pickled Plum (Ume) or Nori $5
- Salmon Roe or Cod Roe $7
- We ordered it with salmon roe.
- Ochazuke is literally tea on rice. It’s a bowl of Japanese rice and toppings (traditionally whatever is left over from dinner) and a cup of hot green tea served separately. This is truly traditional Japanese comfort food that Japanese people would eat at home. It’s like the Japanese version of Chinese congee almost… except Japanese people really have a Japanese congee that is different than Ochazuke.
- This is my fist time having it, so I had no standard for it except for what it was. It was so simple and so good!
- You port the green tea right on top until it’s fully covered.
- I honestly couldn’t even tell it was green tea. I kept thinking it was chicken stock or something because I couldn’t taste the green tea at all. The cod roe is just so overpowering that the tea ends up tasting like savoury fish broth.
- I mixed it altogether when I was half way through so it was almost like a porridge.
- Besides salmon roe, they also give shredded nori and crispy fried noodle sticks.
- It’s a really easy and simple dish, but I’ve never seen it on a menu before so it was unique to me.
- Chinese people do this as well, but they usually do it at home with their rice cookers. Traditionally they pour the tea over clay pots to get the stuck on rice to come off the pot. This is everyone’s favourite part because it’s the crispy left over rice that crusts onto the bottom of the bowl. It’s the Asian equivalent to giving an American kid the leftover batter to lick from the mixing bowl.