Charcoal Sushi & BBQ Restaurant

Restaurant: Charcoal Sushi & BBQ Restaurant
Cuisine: Japanese/Fusion/Sushi/Sashimi
Last visited: October 15, 2010
Location: Richmond, BC (Richmond Central)
Address: Unit 250-7997 Westminster Highway
Price Range: $10-20 for lunch, $20-30 for dinner

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 3.5-4
Service: n/a
Ambiance: 3
Overall: n/a
Additional comments:

  • Chinese owned/operated
  • Maybe some Japanese chefs?
  • Extensive menu
  • Nice presentation
  • Creative fusion rolls
  • Busy at lunch
  • Moderately priced
  • $8.95 lunch specials
  • 10% off all take out
  • Reservations accepted
  • MC/Visa/Debit
  • Free parking
  • Sun-Thurs 11:30am-3pm, 5pm-10pm
  • Fri-Sat 11:30am-3pm, 5-11pm

**Recommendations: Sashimi wrap, Deep fried soft shell crab, Big Roller roll, Lotus Roll, Golden Roll

Charcoal Sushi & BBQ Restaurant is a newer Japanese restaurant in Richmond and it’s becoming quite popular. The location is a bit hard to find and it’s on the 2nd floor where London Drugs, Milestone’s and Empire Seafood Restaurant is located.

I’m not impressed by many Japanese places in Richmond and this was one of the better ones even though it is Chinese owned and operated. Some of the chefs could be Japanese, but I’m not sure, however all that matters is if the food is still good. It’s not an izakaya place, but they do offer an extensive menu with some creative fusion rolls that are a favourite. The presentation is nice and the food is fresh and better than I expected. It’s clean and quite reasonably priced for the quality, but it does add up fast.

I apologize for pointing fingers, but I have to be honest about the service. I was last to arrive and by then my table was already looking at a menu. When I asked for recommendations the server looked like she didn’t understand so I decided to ask the man who seemed like the manger/owner of the place. When I asked him for recommendations for their specialty rolls he automatically suggested the 5 most expensive rolls they offered (which were in a row at the end of the list). At that point someone at the table let the cat out of the bag said “she’s a food blogger, so give her good recommendations”… not my ideal situation at all. But anyways as soon as he knew that he said well in that case I’d recommend you “A, B, C” which only one was what he originally recommended.

Next he brought out a “special/secret menu” with photos and items not on the regular menu. At the very end of the meal I asked for one more specialty roll and he suggested the MOST expensive roll that wasn’t even on the menu yet… it was $13.95. I ordered it anyways to give the benefit of the doubt and I wasn’t impressed. Lastly I was asked to stop taking photos of the menu and overall I can’t say the experience was good. I really think everyone deserves the same menus and level of service regardless of what they do.

There’s a regular menu and the “special” menu with photos. Make sure you ask for both or you don’t get the secret menu.

I’m trying to separate service and food, but I ended on a bitter note… figuratively and literally too… the last roll, the $13.95 one was a bit bitter. The style and prices of the specialty rolls and creative tapas are actually comparable to ones in downtown. Overall the food was actually pretty good, but if I’m in Richmond I actually like the specialty rolls at Koto Izakaya Sushi & Robata better and the presentation is even nicer.

On the table:

**Sashimi Wrap 4.5/6

  • $10.75
  • This was from the “secret menu”.
  • It was chopped tuna, salmon and scallop tartar with some mayo and then topped with caviar and a quail’s egg.
  • It was served with seaweed so you eat it like a seaweed wrap.

  • You mix it all up before you eat it.
  • It was creamy, crunchy from the caviar and the caviar isn’t that salty.
  • I would have preferred some scallions in the sashimi mix as well and some stronger sauces because I couldn’t taste the dollops of sauce plated around it after it was mixed in.
  • Gyoza King does a Salmon Avocado Yukke version – see here, and Guu Japanese Izakaya does one too – see here.

Fireballs 2.5/6

  • Deep-fried crab and avocado $5.95
  • I saw the photo and I thought it was takoyaki at first, but then I read the description.

  • They were really creamy golf-ball sized avocado balls with some imitation crab mixed in.
  • They were over fried so they had a really crunchy batter.
  • It has a pretty fishy taste especially with the dried squid (bonito) flakes on top.
  • They were pretty overpriced and they didn’t do anything for me and I would rather have takoyaki.

Gomaae 3.5/6

  • Fresh spinach with creamy sesame sauce $3.95
  • I love gomaae. They give you lots of sauce which I like, but the squiggly squirt bottle presentation might not be so appetizing.
  • The sauce was very creamy and almost like peanut butter.
  • It was sweet and nutty but I wish it had the texture of some real ground sesame seeds as well.

**Lotus Roll4/6

  • Chopped scallop, imitation crab and avocado topped with tobiko, wrapped in cucumber 5 pieces $5.95 or 10 pieces for $10.99
  • I really enjoyed this. It was a riceless sushi and it comes across as a salad when eaten in one bite.
  • It was fresh, light, healthy, crunchy and creamy with lots of flavours and it was good alone or with soy sauce.

**Golden Roll4/6

  • Deep-fried California Roll with Chef’s special sauce $5.75
  • This sounded pretty whatever to me, but it came recommended and the picture looked nice.
  • It was actually very well done for what it was. It was very lightly battered and fried and the ratio of ingredients was good.
  • It was crispy and crunchy and it didn’t need any sauce. It has some Japanese mayo and sweet Teriyaki like sauce on top.

**Big Roller 5/6

  • Chopped scallop & cucumber topped with eel and sliced avocado $9.75
  • The presentation was gorgeous and the size was good enough for one big bite.

  • It was a very creamy and sweet roll with a slight fishy taste.
  • It was quite rich and loaded with ingredients and it was topped with a sweet and tangy Thousand Island like dressing and a sweet unagi sauce that tastes like Teriyaki sauce.
  • It was quite soft with lots of saucy flavour and there was also a slight crispiness from the eel skin which was great.

The Sakura 2.5/6

  • This is a new roll that’s not on the official menu yet. It’s $13.95 and I found it overpriced and not worth it.
  • This is the last roll he recommended that was also most expensive.
  • It was asparagus and wild salmon topped with avocado, Yellowtail sashimi, grated ginger and tobiko.

  • This was a fresh sashimi sushi roll and the combination of ingredients gave it a bitter taste.
  • It was nice pieces of sashimi, but still didn’t justify the cost really.
  • The ginger was very apparent and it gave it slight spiciness too.
  • This one needed soy sauce and wasabi or it came across as bland and dry.
  • It didn’t do anything for me and I’ve had better $13 fusion specialty rolls before.

**Deep Fried Soft Shell Crab 5/6

  • $7.95
  • They do a great job with this. It was pretty big and served with a very tangy soy sauce that was almost like ponzu sauce or vinegar.
  • The soft shell crab was delicious and perfectly fried and still juicy.
  • The batter was light and crispy and seasoned with a savoury and spicy Japanese chili pepper seasoning.
  • It was creamy, soft, yet crispy, savory, tangy and spicy with a simple salad to lighten it all up.

Katsu Don3.5/6

  • $8.95
  • This was a special order because we needed more cooked food. It’s breaded and deep fried pork cutlet with egg, sweet sauteed onions on a bed of rice.
  • The pork cutlet was a big filet and it was nice and crunchy and quite juicy.
  • It was a savoury and sweet rice bowl with a light and thin sweet sauce made from broth, soy sauce and sugar and the egg is half scrambled and almost steamed.
  • It was almost like a creamy bowl of rice but there was no cream.
  • There was a lot of rice and I would have liked more egg, sauce and onions to finish it up.
  • It’s traditional Japanese comfort food and it was actually quite good here, but better at Hi Genki Japanese Restaurant.

Chicken Miso Ramen 2.5/6

  • This was a lunch special for $8.95 and it came with Miso soup and a California Roll.
  • There was a decent amount of chicken and the Miso soup broth tasted like Miso soup broth.
  • I could taste the Miso paste and I couldn’t taste any rich pork flavour and it was quite ordinary. This is a good deal and bang for your buck though.
  • This wasn’t my order and I pretty much don’t order ramen unless it’s from Ramen Santouka. If I’m in Richmond I’ll go to G-Men Ramen.

California Roll n/a

  • Imitation crab and avocado ($3.75 for I think 6 pieces if ordered a la carte?)
  • This came with the Chicken Miso ramen lunch special.
  • I didn’t try it because there were other more exciting things.

Chicken Yakisoba 2/6

  • This was on the lunch specials and it came with 4 gyoza and a Miso soup for $8.95
  • It was a good deal, but the yakisoba was too salty so we had to send it back to get it remade.
  • It was served on a sizzling plate with a decent amount of dark meat chicken and some bean sprouts, onions and frozen corn.
  • I wanted way more fresh vegetables though.

This was the Chicken Yakisoba 2nd time around with WAY less chicken and way more veggies. It looked completely different from our first order and I think it was because we sent it back. I got the veggies I wanted, but not a good way to remake a messed up order. It was very ordinary both times and a bit dry and the noodles burned on the sizzling plate.


  • Pan-fried pork dumplings ($4.95 for 5 pieces if ordered a la carte)
  • This came with the Chicken Yakisoba special.
  • It’s very average gyoza stuffed with pork and cabbage.
  • I doubt they were homemade but they were fried well.


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