Tokyo Joe’s Sushi Factory

Restaurant: Tokyo Joe’s
Cuisine: Japanese/Sushi
Last visited: February 15, 2011
Location: Richmond, BC (Richmond Central)
Address: 8211 Ackroyd Rd
Price Range: $10 or less

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

Food: 4.5 (from what I tried)
Service: 5
Ambiance: 2
Overall: 4
Additional comments:

  • Korean chefs
  • Korean & Japanese staff
  • Hole in the wall-ish
  • Extremely energetic service
  • Sushi focused
  • Made upon order
  • Very casual
  • Excellent value
  • Popular to locals in area
  • Lots of party tray options
  • Brown rice sushi available
  • Cheap eats/budget friendly
  • $6 Happy Hour after 2pm (18 pcs)
  • Eat in/Take out
  • Some free parking at rear
  • Mon-Sat 10:30am-9pm
  • Sun 10:30am-8pm

**Recommendations: Gomae, Volcano Roll, Spicy Tuna, and Tuna Sashimi was really fresh and apparently all the sashimi is quite good here.

I’d be lying if I said I never judged a book by its cover. The same mentality can happen when it comes to restaurants and I did it with this one. I didn’t want this to be another Katsu-Ya Sushi or Hakone Sushi experience. I pass by Tokyo Joe’s quite often, but never really put it on the itinerary until I started getting recommendations. It’s almost one of those places that don’t look crappy enough to be a wonderful undiscovered hole in the wall, and yet not enticing enough to plan an itinerary just to pay it a visit. I would highly recommend it if you’re in Richmond and craving affordable sushi, but I also wouldn’t make more than a 15 minute drive just to try it… unless you want to, but don’t blame me if you could have found the same thing within closer proximity.

I never would have guessed this place would serve decent sushi, it’s not even “decent”, it’s better than good! It’s a little bit of a hole in the wall and I assumed it was going to be a Chinese operated Japanese restaurant, but to my surprise it’s actually Japanese owned and operated. I was greeted with classic shouting, energetic staff and the whole experience was quite charming. It’s been open since 2005, so it’s one of those places that people working within the area have always supported and known about.

There’s of course photos of every single thing on the menu posted on the walls, which proves that it’s an authentic Japanese sushi place ;). The menu is rather sushi and sashimi focused, but it does also have a limited selection of donburi, udon and some appetizers.

I have to give a shout out to the ball of energy that works here! Seriously, she has more energy than me. She raised her voice, then I raised my voice, I smacked my hands on the table, she encouraged it, I cheered, she cheered… and then we all cheered! It was like a flow of energy that was more exciting than what was to come… although what was coming was pretty exciting. I tackled this massive order with @JoshPiEnt who is a foodie in training. However he doesn’t even eat wasabi or take a huge liking to raw fish… oh boy… he has a lot to learn.

On the table:

**Gomae – 5/6

  • Spinach Salad $3.25
  • I always order gomaae, and if you like gomaae, this one is excellent!
  • The sesame sauce was home made and it was amazing.
  • It had a grainy texture from freshly toasted and pureed sesame seeds.
  • It was a combination of white and some black sesame seeds and it was savoury and sweet with some mirin.
  • It was extremely nutty, perfect thickness and made with pretty much 100% finely and freshly ground sesame seeds. It was the real deal and not just the sesame paste from a jar.
  • The spinach itself tasted a bit too obviously frozen, but the ratio of sauce and spinach was great.
**Spicy Tuna Sashimi – 5/6
  • 10 pieces $11.50
  • The cubes of tuna sashimi they give you are huge! I wasn’t expecting such a big potion, but I’m not complaining! They also give you an extra side of spicy tuna sauce!
  • I didn’t take notice that this was offered in salmon sashimi version for the same price, but I heard their spicy tuna was good here.
  • The tuna sashimi was very fresh and they tossed it with a little bit of diced cucumber as well which just enhanced the freshness.
  • It was lightly marinated in one hot sauce and then drizzled with another hot sauce, which is their signature spicy tuna sauce.
  • The sauce wasn’t too hard to dissect with what was probably sweet Japanese mayo with Sriracha and perhaps some lemon juice, but it was still excellent! It was like a spicy, sweet and tangy Thousand Island like sauce with a kick at the end from maybe even Tobasco. I can handle my spice, but it did have my nose running a bit after 3 pieces.
  • Eaten together this was delicious! It was fresh, chilled, creamy, spicy and almost melted in you mouth. It was very well flavoured.

**Volcano Roll5/6

  • California roll topped with spicy tuna and masago $9.50
  • The server highly recommended this roll and at first I rolled my eyes a bit because I thought she was just recommending the most expensive one (it was second most expensive). However for $9.50 it’s not a bad risk, besides her energy was too contagious… so I ordered it!
  • It was 8 fairly large pieces piled high with spicy tuna! The size actually came from valuable ingredients and it was perfect as one big bite.

  • It was topped with a generous amount of spicy tuna which tasted almost like a Mexican style spicy tuna.
  • The spicy tuna almost seemed like it was marinaded in a spicy salsa with green onions and Tabasco before being topped with their house spicy tuna sauce.
  • It was very salad like and incredibly refreshing in flavour with tang and spice and a bit of sweetness. I almost felt like there were red bell peppers in the mixture, but there wasn’t. That would have been even better though! It’s definitely different than most spicy tuna rolls out there.
  • It’s a very creamy yet refreshing sushi roll with an equal amount of sushi to spicy tuna topping. WELL worth it!
  • It had a little nuttiness form some sesame seeds and the rice was well flavoured.
  • I got a little salty bite of tobiko crunch and some flavour of the crab meat, but the majority was the spicy tuna, which is essentially the highlight of this entire roll.
  • It doesn’t require any soy sauce or wasabi. Perfect as is.

Philadelphia Roll3/6

  • Cream cheese, smoked salmon and avocado on top $6.95
  • I’ve had better for a Philadelphia Roll. I actually really like the Philadelphia Roll from Yoko Sushi in Coquitlam where they deep fry the roll so the cheese is all warm and creamy!
  • This was way heavier on the avocado than the cream cheese and you get a bit of the cream cheese flavour, but not as much as you want when you order a “Philadelphia Roll”.
  • The smoked salmon comes through and it is a pretty creamy roll because the cucumber gets a bit overpowered. It would have been great with asparagus instead because it did need more of a crunch.
  • It was topped with some salty crunchy tobiko and a bit of a sweet Teriyaki like sauce, so it didn’t really need soy sauce or wasabi either.
  • The cheese and avocado creaminess was enough of a richness, so the soy sauce might be nice to cut through that, but not necessarily required for flavour.

Stamina Roll 3.5/6

  • BBQ eel, avocado, smoked salmon, crab meat $11.95
  • This was the most expensive roll. Usually with a $12 roll I would expect to have real Dungeness crab or at least a fancy homemade sauce. This had neither, but it did have BBQ eel, so I guess that was justified.

  • It was a sweeter roll and the BBQ eel was decent, but it wasn’t crispy and it didn’t taste that fresh, perhaps from the flavour combination rather than the eel itself. I think it was deep fried, but it was almost soggy so I’m not sure what the execution for it really was.
  • It wasn’t bad, but it was quite fishy and I wasn’t a fan of the quality. I wasn’t expecting gourmet and it’s not really that type of place either, but it could have been better.
  • It was topped with a sweet unagi sauce that tasted similar to Teriyaki sauce and slices of creamy sweet avocado.
  • Again it was a very creamy roll, but it was nice to have the creaminess coming from the textures of ingredients rather than the mayo.
  • The smoked salmon and unagi flavours didn’t really work out too well and it was giving off an extra fishy flavour that perhaps wasn’t working in its favour.
  • What they really needed to use was salmon sashimi instead of smoked salmon, but given the cost difference I understand, but for $12 I think it’s possible as well.
  • I could taste the flaky fake crab meat, but overall it also needed a cucumber crunch or even crispy tempura Panko topping.

Mango Roll – 2/6

  • Inside avocado and kappa (cucumber), on top mango $5.95
  • This was the most disappointing of the rolls and it was what caught my eye first. I’m a fan of mango, so when I see a mango roll I usually order it. If I had just ordered this roll I would not have been impressed.
  • I was hoping for the orange Philippines Mango that is soft and sweet rather than the green mangoes which are hard and tart.
  • This was the only roll that had crunch to it, but it was also the most bland and needed soy sauce and wasabi.

  • It was drizzled with a sweet Teriyaki-like sauce, but it didn’t do anything for the roll. There wasn’t enough sauce used to make a difference anyways.
  • It was stuffed with cucumber and avocado and it was kind of as exciting as it looks… which unfortunately isn’t very.
  • It needed a mango sauce or some extra flavour and flair.
  • Since it was the least creamy and sauced roll it was also the driest, however it let me take into account for the flavour of the sushi rice itself, which was good. The rice isn’t dry or mushy either, so I appreciated that.

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21 Comments

  • Lucy says:

    I love this place! You’re right, it is a little of a hole in a wall, but those are the best places where you find scrumptuos treasures. I wish they had more seating though. I love your pictures, as always πŸ™‚

  • KimHo says:

    You know me by now and, in its own ways, expect this comment from me… C’mon, Mijune, when you will be visiting a sushi restaurant and order nigiri??? πŸ˜› In fact, I was thinking you should come along with me one of these days… πŸ™‚

  • Tom House says:

    I am working on an excellent sushi restaurant review right now, but I must say the sushi and creative offerings here at Tokyo Joe’s Sushi Factory look amazing! Gooey, chewy and inviting! The Volcano Roll and Spicy Tuna Sashimi looked delicious. Oishii! γŠγ„γ—γ„ε―ΏεΈ Good pictures Mijune..

  • Tom House says:

    …I have never had Gomae and I am supposed to be somewhat of a “sushi expert” for a Gai-Jin (foreigner). This looks like a twist on Oshitashi? Much more complex and saucy though… I am sure I would love this and will be ordering it somewhere soon.

  • Miss Jane says:

    I thought it was Korean owned. They remind me of Sushi Garden and Sushi Town in Burnaby. Ever been there?

  • Sara says:

    Omg! The spicy tuna sashimi and the Volcano look delicious! Seems like the prices are very good for this type of sushi. Here in Montreal cheap sushi kiosks (yes, not even a restaurant) sell crappy pre-made standard sushis for 10$ and upwards (with barely tjhere fish) and you won’t find this type of sushi in the hole in the wall-ish sushi places for less than 15$.

    And before your post I was already craving sushi now it’s getting worse lol !

  • Mijune says:

    @Lucy – yes!! I love nailing places ppl have always loved!! Glad you agree πŸ™‚ oh and thank you!! I’m trying to improve on photos πŸ™‚

    @KimHo – okay! let’s go! i like nigiri I just find the rolls more creative πŸ™‚

    @Tom House – WHAT?!? Mr. House!!! You’ve never tried gomaae? You have to try gomaae… it’s almost like edamame… Japan’s popular appetizer! Oh and actually Vancouver is almost “famous” for these type of fusion rolls now! Better pay us a visit! Thank you for the comments!!

    @MissJane – I thought so too!!! but they were all speaking Japanese?

    @Sara – Ok come come to Vancouver!! I feel so bad that you can’t find cheap and good sushi where you are… I feel your pain!! I had no sushi for half a year while living abroad… I ended up making my own… but it’s not the same! πŸ™ Sorry to tempt you lol!!

  • shokutsu says:

    Funny update, about a month or so ago I noticed that Katsu-ya was shut down and a sign saying a Subway was going to take its place was up on the front door as I passed by that building…

  • vivian says:

    I definitely agree with you, I would have never thought this place was decent. I used to work in the building above this place and never bothered to check it out until my coworker told me about it. After reading this post, I’m craving sushi for tonight!!lol

  • Mijune says:

    @shokutsu – what?! really?! it’s about time! I would much rather have Subway that Katsu-ya… Shokutsu… it’s always a pleasure to have a comment from a fellow blogger!… a long time one for that matter! thanks!

    @Vivian – lol it’s crazy how much love this place has!! You totally underestimate it from the outside! thanks for the comment viv!

  • Josh says:

    I’m learning so much about being a food critic!! LOL Maybe one day you will let me rate ONE dish!!!! LOL

  • Mijune says:

    @Josh – lol oh I’m no professional food critic.. but I’m flattered you think so!.. You can leave your ratings on my blog… but as a comment lol.. I’m sorry! but i have to stick to the same format for every restaurant πŸ™‚

  • Gahz says:

    oh dang, craving sushi so hard right now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Mijune says:

    @Gahz – me too!!! you have to try this place when you’re back!

  • Gemma says:

    ” it’s an authentic Japanese sushi place.” lol – sorry, but the pictures you posted here implicate the complete opposite. Authentic Japanese sushi joints do NOT drown their rolls in spicy mayo, or cram it with avocado or mango(!?!). Sushi, like many things Japanese, is meant and best when it is simple. Rice, fish, and a touch of wasabi/soy sauce to complement the fish. That’s all the ingredients you should have on your plate. It shouldn’t look like something that’s already been eaten and then vomited back up!!!

    This place is a (maybe…) Japanese-operated restaurant that has been marketed for Americans, and should be considered fusion cuisine.

  • Mijune says:

    @gemma – I think you’ve taken my comment much to seriously… if you please re-read that sentence I said “which proves that it’s an authentic Japanese sushi place πŸ˜‰ .”… the πŸ˜‰ <---- wink was supposed to be a joke. I know it's not authentic style Japanese food.. however they do offer the traditional rolls as well. What I had was not everything they offered. I know it's fusion... and that's why if you read my comment above I said "Vancouver is almost β€œfamous” for these type of fusion rolls now!"

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