Restaurant: Kiriri Japanese Cuisine & Sushi Bar
Last visited: March 20, 2011
Location: Richmond, BC (Richmond)
Address: 8780 Blundell Rd
Price Range: $10-20, 20-30
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
Food: 3.5, but for sashimi & nigiri a solid 5
- Japanese chef/cooks
- Japanese owned/operated
- Traditional Japanese cuisine
- Excellent sashimi and nigiri
- Better for traditional dishes
- Sushi bar/Fresh sashimi
- Some creative rolls/appies
- Local favourite/hidden gem
- Busy/reservations recommended
- Casual/moderately priced
- Japanese beers/alcohol
- Limited parking
- Tues-Sun 12-2pm, 5:30-10pm
- Closed Monday
**Recommendations: Stick to traditional/simple Japanese items like basic sushi rolls, nigiri and sashimi. Tuna roll and Toro nigiri was delicious! Basic, basic, basic and you’ll have a lovely time! Excellent nigiri.
It took me a while to figure out the menu for this place, but once I unlocked the secret it was very enjoyable. It didn’t help that I was seated in front of the sushi bar operated by the owner and chef who had no recommendations, which intimidated the waitress from giving me any either. They were friendly, but it just made my job harder as there were definite highlights and things to avoid. I really burned a hole in the wallet to have to discover the trick to ordering. It wasn’t until 3/4 of the meal that I learned what I should be ordering at Kiriri Japanese Cuisine & SUSHI BAR. Note Sushi Bar. So for your benefit here goes!
Seriously it was such a hit and miss and I kept ordering from different sections until I figured out why people seem to love this place. It’s a local favourite and I’ve come here when it used to be a disappointing sushi place called ZuuShi Garden. I thought that it was the same owners, but a friend told me that it wasn’t, and that it was actually a great place now. So there was only one way to figure out if my friend was worth keeping around, or cutting off for a bad restaurant recommendation =p
I actually bumped into a friend here who insisted that I order the tuna and salmon sushi roll, and I thought that was the most boring thing ever. I totally ignored his recommendation until the very end and I shouldn’t have. He’s a regular too, but I guess that shows how much I trust him as a “foodie” lol. But really, it’s the simple, basic and traditional items that do best here. I’ll stress that through this whole post.
I should have guessed it from the start. When the owner/chef is an older Japanese gentlemen who seems quite traditional, do not go for the fusion or “modern” items. Well wouldn’t that be judging a book by its cover? Yes, it would, but it will save you $40 here. That’s how much I had to go through before I started finding out which of his dishes are worth the investment and value. Also the traditional items that are harder to prepare, or keep in stock, are pretty pricey so it’s not really worth ordering, or even that good. It’s my “fault” for liking creative Japanese “fusion” items and always going for funky specialty rolls, but that’s where mistakes are made here. Stick to the traditional and basic items guys, they’re superb!
Kiriri Japanese Cuisine actually reminds me of Seto Sushi, another fine authentic Japanese restaurant in Richmond. The sushi rice at Kiriri is so well flavoured and made, and the seaweed quality is great. It’s the basic things that they totally nail, but the fusion or innovative items weren’t impressive and even the gourmet traditional dishes were overpriced. They do invest into the sashimi and the freshness of it, so you just have to be specific with what you order. I must say though, for a place that’s so authentic, the soy sauce is not very good. It wasn’t a good quality Japanese sushi and sashimi soy sauce, and it tastes like regular Chinese style soy sauce with a really sharp and savoury flavour rather than sweet.
On the table:
- Chopped marinated Red Tuna, Avocado & Mango on Sushi Rice $8
- This was visually pleasing, but it wasn’t any more creative than the description.
- It was well assembled and an equal ratio of all ingredients, so there’s nothing to complain about, but I also wouldn’t care to order it again.
- The ingredients were fresh and I loved the creamy tuna, buttery avocado, sweet diced mango, and juicy salty bursts of cod roe and crunchy tobiko, but it still needed soy sauce and wasabi.
- The sushi rice was excellent. It was sticky, chewy, moist and well flavoured, but I wouldn’t have minded slightly more vinegar and sugar. It was fine as is, but personal preference.
- I’d consider this a fusion dish and I just wanted it to be served with a unique sauce, or even just a sweet Unagi sauce. Without a sauce it was just a colourful array of sushi ingredients, so although good it wasn’t as exciting as I hoped it would be.
- My favourite version of this tower was from Miku Japanese – see Chirashi Tart.
- Albacore Tuna or Salmon with Spicy Mayo $8
- This was good and it came with maybe 4-5 of each piece since I ordered half and half.
- The tuna was surprisingly better even though I almost always prefer salmon.
- The pieces seemed like the leftover ends of the sashimi and they were cut in really odd sizes and shapes.
- It was sliced thin instead of cubes and it wasn’t my favourite for spicy sashimi.
- It was very creamy and slightly overdressed with spicy mayo but it wasn’t that spicy at all. I liked the added tobiko for extra salty crunch though.
- It needed more green onion too and overall I much rather have the Spicy Tuna Sashimi from Tokyo Joe’s Sushi Factory also in Richmond – see here.
- Spicy salmon, avocado mango roll wrapped in soy paper, topped with salmon sashimi with Jalapeno $10
- This was really disappointing especially for the price. It was a very small roll and it didn’t look appetizing either.
- For $10 I was expecting a gourmet looking roll that was fairly large, but this one didn’t even match the description very well.
- It almost tasted like an ordinary inside out salmon roll, but the sashimi pieces were sliced really thin, so in the context of a sushi roll it was odd.
- After trying more things I just know the basic salmon roll would have been much better.
- About half the pieces had avocado but there was so little of it and the mango that I couldn’t taste or see either at times.
- I did notice the sushi having excellent chew and texture due to the quality of seaweed, execution of rice, as well as the added soy bean wrapper.
- It had a mini pickled Jalapeno on top and there wasn’t even one on each piece. It wasn’t even that tangy and it had a bitter aftertaste and carried a slight heat that kicked in later.
- After trying everything, I know that $10 would be better spent on salmon sashimi than this roll.
- Thinly sliced beef sashimi with ponzu $9
- There was a lot of beef so it was pretty worth it, but the beef wasn’t sliced thin enough and it was a bit chewy and tough.
- The beef was pretty cold but it didn’t marinade in the ponzu sauce very well because it was too thick to absorb it.
- It’s completely rare and not even seared, so just be prepared. I’m totally fine with it, so it doesn’t bother me.
- The sauce was very citrusy with a sharp lemon tang and I’m pretty sure it was mixed with yuzu sauce. It was very strong alone, but just didn’t flavour the meat.
- The beef wasn’t the greatest of quality and I wish it was better marbleized.
- It’s a traditional dish that could be better, so it’s just not the kind of place to order it although it was still good.
- Tamago is know as the test to see if a Japanese restaurant has their act together.
- It’s a folded and multi layered sweetened Japanese omelette.
- This one was excellent and near flawless, but it wasn’t as delicious as the one from Aki Japanese, which is seriously the best I’ve had to date flavour wise.
- This one was probably even closer to authentic and perfection in technique though. The layers were seamless.
- This one was decently sweet, moist and had about 4-5 layers, but it wasn’t as juicy as I’ve had.
- It was pretty light on the sweetened soy sauce, but it was sweet. Sometimes they make it with Japanese stock called dashi, but this one didn’t seem like it had any.
- The seaweed and sushi rice is great here and this is when I began to understand what I should be ordering.
- Grilled Miso marinated Black Cod $11
- I had to try a grilled item to see if the secret was in their robata.
- Sable fish is always fantastic because it’s impossible to mess up and just super juicy. But for the price of this one and if I compare it to other Miso Sablefish (Gin Dara) from similar restaurants, then this was a 3/6 and overpriced.
- It was good, but I’ve had better, the best being from Aki Japanese again. That place just owns it when it comes to authenticity and execution.
- The miso was slightly smaller and it didn’t have that grilled smoky flavour or crispy skin. The skin was actually jelly like and soft.
- The meat part was deliciously moist, tender, flaky and juicy and also slightly sweet with perhaps some added mirin.
- I tasted more sweetness more than I did Miso and I think it could have been marinated with dashi (home made Japanese fish or chicken stock).
- Deep fried soft shell crab, avocado, tobiko, daikon, cucumber roll wrapped in soy paper $8
- For an entire deep fried soft shell crab being used in this rather large 5 piece roll it was pretty good for $8. However I would rather have the Red Spider Roll (with soft shell crab) at Koto Izakaya Sushi & Robata also in Richmond for $10.99 – see here.
- The flavour of this one was good, but not great, although much better than the spicy tuna roll.
- The roll was wrapped too loosely as well, but the sushi rice and seaweed is fantastic.
- It wasn’t greasy, and it was super crunchy and crispy, but the crab wasn’t juicy either. I couldn’t taste anything else except for the crispy puffy tempura batter and then the fishiness of the crab. The avocado, cucumber, tobiko and daikon just got completely lost.
- The deep fried soft shell crab was a well seasoned flour batter rather than a panko batter.
- Although heavy on the batter, I didn’t mind because it made for for an extra crunchy roll.
- For a tuna roll, this has been one of my favourites!
- As I said in my intro, my friend I bumped into here kept recommending the tuna roll and I thought he was crazy. What’s so special about a tuna roll!? I finally caved and ordered it! Boy was I surprised! It wasn’t hard to cave at this point though, because I had “unlocked the secret to ordering”.
- This was a pretty amazing tuna roll, and I know I sound crazy and it looks like an ordinary tuna roll, but it’s noticeably very good!
- The tuna was fresh, creamy, and naturally oily, but the stand out was actually the sushi rice and quality of seaweed.
- I’ve been saying it throughout the post, but the basics (sushi and seaweed) are nailed here.
- For some reason having the seaweed on the outside was a big factor in making the difference. You could really get the texture and flavour of the seaweed, and together with the moist and sticky flavoured rice it had excellent chew.
- Out of everything this just showcased the properly executed sushi rice and quality of seaweed very well. It actually became the part you wanted to taste.
- I had to order at least one nigiri as the perfect note to end off with! I had to confirm if my assumption was true, and it was.
- The nigiri is the definite highlight here and the sashimi is great.
- The fish will vary, so I can’t guarantee the one you’ll have, but this toro you see in the photo, was amazing!! I’m so excited just to see it again.
- It was incredibly rich and buttery and so naturally oily that it needed no soy sauce or wasabi. It was incredibly fresh and almost juicy.
- It was just naturally releasing oils with every bite I took.
- The sushi rice was well flavoured, sticky, moist and chewy.
- Excellent! Tres excellent! I would have been very happily satisfied with 10 pieces of assorted nigiri for $15-20… and a bubble tea for dessert.
- They have a small selection of Japanese ice cream flavours and desserts including a black sesame creme brulee, but there’s a lot of red bean on everything so I passed. Red bean and I aren’t friends yet.