Hakone Sushi

Restaurant: Hakone Sushi
Cuisine: Japanese/Sushi
Last visited: November 4, 2010
Location: Vancouver, BC (Gastown)
Address: 82 Keefer Place
Price Range: $10 or less

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

Food: 1.5
Service: 2
Ambiance: 1.5
Overall: 1.5
Additional comments:

  • Small sushi joint
  • Korean owned/operated
  • Cheap regular rolls
  • Cheap eats
  • Lunch specials 11am-3pm
  • Extra charge for green tea
  • Eat in/Take out
  • Delivery
  • Mon-Sat: 11am-9pm
  • Sun: 12pm-9pm

**Recommendations: n/a

Hakone Sushi is a small Japanese restaurant that just opened by the Tinseltown movie theatre in Vancouver, BC. Honestly, I can’t express how disappointed I was with the quality of sushi offered here. Actually… yes, I can express it. I was really disappointed with the sushi here. I was so disappointed that I went to T&T Supermarket just across the street to get sushi afterward, which I actually enjoyed more than at Hakone Sushi. The last time I had sushi this poor was at Katsu-Ya Sushi. I’m so tempted to “1” this, but I did eat what I ordered as much as I didn’t enjoy it.

It’s family owned and run by a Korean family and I feel really bad for writing this post, but at the same time I have to be honest and tell people that their money is better spent elsewhere. The quality is just really bad, and it’s homemade sushi but not in a good way at all. I literally watched them burn the gyoza onΒ  a small electrical stove, hesitate whether or not to still serve it, and then place it in the box for the delivery order.

They have business and I strongly believe it’s only from the locals that live in the area. There’s not really another casual to-go Japanese place around, but I still wouldn’t come again unless they change for the better. I think people go because it’s dirt cheap for their basic rolls, but they aren’t even good or even average. I read a comment on Urbanspoon that said “everything tastes like a California roll” and that could not be more true.

On the table:

Gomae – 3/6

  • $2.99
  • It doesn’t look good at all and the sauce is much darker than normal, but it actually tastes pretty good and I liked it. It was the best thing I ordered.
  • They mix black sesame powder into the sesame sauce and I’ve never seen that done before. It almost looked like they used Hoisin sauce in it too. It’s not an authentic gommae, but unusual and still good. It was still very nutty and a bit sweeter than the standard gommae and there was enough sauce for all the spinach.

Beef Teriyaki Roll – 1/6

  • Cucumber, Beef, Teriyaki Sauce (5 pcs) $2.99
  • It’s cheap and I wouldn’t pay for it again.
  • I’ve never really had a bad beef teriyaki roll until now. It’s so simple you don’t think it’s something people can really mess up.
  • The beef was dry and overcooked, the rice was warm and mushy, and the teriyaki sauce tasted like watered down slightly sweet syrup. It was all very bland and the beef didn’t even taste marinated in any teriyaki sauce. You can even see the teriyaki sauce, it’s super light and almost colourless.

House Roll1.5/6

  • Deep fried prawn, crab meat, cucumber, avocado, smoked salmon on top $5.99
  • It was better than the beef teriyaki roll, but it still wasn’t good.
  • This was honestly barely a house roll, I should have known as well since the ingredients were listed. There was no tamago, no tuna sashimi, no salmon sashimi and basically nothing that made it a house roll. It was more like a Dynamite roll and a California Roll and it wasn’t worth it.

  • There was quite a bit of rice to make it bigger and it was mushy, warm and bland sushi rice. It could only get worse if it was wet and soggy mixed with hard pieces of rice.
  • The prawn tempura tasted old, there was very little avocado, little lettuce and just little of everything.
  • A great house roll is at Yoko Sushi, although I actually like the massive one at Samurai (not the best, but they’re packed with ingredients and just fun to eat once in a while).

Dragon Roll2/6

  • Avocado, unagi, tobiko, sauce on top of California roll $7.99
  • This was the better of the 3 rolls, and I probably enjoyed it more because I was just hungry.

  • Again, the rice was warm, mushy and bland.
  • It tastes like a California roll and it was very overpriced for what it was.
  • The sauce tasted like watered down Teriyaki sauce again. It was probably topped with more ingredients than what was actually inside the roll. The few pieces with eel on top were pretty good though.


Hakone Sushi on Urbanspoon


  • KimHo says:

    Me not being a fan of rolls can’t help but wonder, scratch my head and then just look aimlessly… Oh, well. BTW, could it be their “beef teriyaki” be more on the lines of a bulgogi roll, given it is a Korean run establishment?

  • Bow says:

    The sushi at T & T is terrible, the rice is inedible and for you to go get some after Hakone…well that says it all. I know that you go into each review with a positive attitude because we in the food business wish each other well…we want people to succeed; they pour their money and time into some dream but sometimes reality is harsh, and the lack of planning, skill at the job, and poor business decisions can destroy the dream. I love trying out new “hole in the wall” places because sometimes you discover a gem(years ago it was the original Dona Cata or Pho Le Do).

  • “I feel really bad for writing this post.”

    Don’t be. This is why I read your blog because I believe I’m getting the straight goods. I’ve read too many reviews that caused me to try a restaurant only to come away disappointed wondering what the reviewer was thinking, or worse yet, being bribed. So far with the restaurants that you gave good reviews, we are 3 for 3. Your poutine posts are what got me hooked. I thought, finally a Vancouver blogger who doesn’t spend all her time reviewing Asian and seafood restaurants. Also, just maybe the restaurants will respond positively and improve, although it’s doubtful.

    Anyway, keep them coming-good and bad.

  • Mijune says:

    @KimHo – hmmm quite possibly! Really? You don’t like rolls? I loved them!

    @Bow – ohhhh so you’re in the food business as well? You MUST be a chef! πŸ˜€ If so, your recipes sounds delicious. Keep me posted on any new hole in the walls you come across. I’ve been to Le Do and have been planning to check out Dona Cata.

    @thesavvyboomer – thank you so much for the support! I really try to report back as honestly as possible stating my biases where possible. I’m really passionate about food and this blog (hence my essay like posts) so it means a lot to me that you see value in it. Thank you again for the wonderful comment! πŸ™‚

  • Elaine says:

    Mijune have you tried Ocean West Coast Bistro =D? They have really good rolls!

  • Mijune says:

    @Elaine – yum! Is that the one one South Granville!? Thanks for the tip!

  • Elaine says:

    Yes! I recommend the Golden Eel and Firecracker rolls =)

  • Inspector Stanley says:

    MJ – I have eaten at this place a couple of times and encountered the same experience as you. The first time was horrible but because of convenience I thought I would give them a second chance and there will be NO more third chance. The sushi is real bland. If you want something good there — order the pop. They are the old fashion bottled pop. No doubt a Classic!

    However, the pop doesn’t make up for the unexciting sushi that you get.

    Here we go….

    Food Not Protected From Contamination – Microbiological
    The rice scoop was again being stored inside a jar of water at room temperature. This is an unsafe practice. The rice scoop must be stored inside the rice cooker or inside a cooler. Alternatively, it must be cleaned and sanitized after each use. Third Warning.

    Inadequate Cooling and/or Refrigerated Storage of Potentially Hazardous Food(s)
    The sushi display cooler was still slighly too warm. Potentially hazardous foods must be maintained at 4 degrees C or colder at all times. Immediate corrective action is required. Refrigeration and hot-holding temperatures must be monitored and recorded throughout the day.

    Food Not Protected – General
    Tuna was again defrosting under the 2 compartment sink at room temperature. This not an acceptable practice. Frozen foods must be thawed in a cooler, under cold, running water or in a microwave oven. Also, it is not acceptable to store foods under the 2 compartment sink. Second Warning.

    TF: NO Trans Fat documentation for food is kept on site or provided on request
    Documentation must be on-site with respect to the percentage of trans fat in your menu items. Second Warning.

  • Mijune says:

    @Inspector Stanley – LOL! Your posts always crack me up! The bottled pop was the best for you… oh dear! Hmmm, but looks like this place has had multiple warnings for the same issues… what happens after the 3rd warning and nothing is accomplished? I hope it doesn’t get there. It’s really about improving… too bad inspectors can’t comment on the overall food itself. Again, thanks so much for your useful facts! PS: Did you try Five Corners yet?

  • Darin says:

    How do you mess up on a Beef Teriyaki roll? Seriously? That should have at least been halfway decent. Just add some MSG for crying out loud…

  • Mijune says:

    @Darin – Hi Darin! I think this is the first post you’ve commented on! So… I see you’ve got the tricks of the Asian trade nailed =p

  • teshe100 says:

    I’m glad I read this today as we needed to get some sushi for our executives and we work by BC Place. We usually head down to Tinseltown often for lunch and I always thought we should check this place out. I almost sent them down there. Now I just told them there is nothing close by…..but for future, do you know of any Sushi places close to BC place? (And not T&T?)

  • Mijune says:

    @teshe100 – lol *phew*… yes I would recommend going a bit further down on Pacific by Yaletown. it’s affordable too and the place is called Ki-Isu Sushi: http://www.followmefoodie.com/2009/10/ki-isu-japanese-restaurant/

    Otherwise try Seamonster Sushi on Powell… I haven’t been myself, but I’ve heard good things. http://www.seamonstrsushi.com/

    Thanks for your comment! πŸ™‚

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