Maruwa Sushi Japanese Restaurant

Restaurant: Maruwa Sushi Japanese Restaurant
Cuisine: Japanese/Sushi/Sashimi
Last visited: June 6, 2011
Location: Richmond, BC (Richmond)
Address: 11300 Steveston Highway
Price Range:

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

Food: 2.5
Service: 2
Ambiance: 2
Overall: 2.5
Additional comments:

  • Japanese owned/operated
  • Traditional menu
  • Sushi bar
  • Mostly sushi/rolls
  • Limited sashimi
  • Limited hot menu items
  • Very casual
  • Cheap eats/budget friendly
  • Take out party trays
  • Accepts Visa/MC/Interac
  • Mon-Thurs: 11:30am-2pm, 5pm-9:30pm
  • Fri: 11:30am-2pm, 5-10pm
  • Sat: 5-10pm (dinner only)
  • Closed Sunday

**Recommendations: n/a, but if you’re coming then the Toro (Tuna Belly) Sashimi, Spicy Tuna Sashimi, BBQ Salmon Belly

Maruwa Sushi seems to be a neighbourhood favourite, but I didn’t get it, unless it wins by default. I was in the area after the hockey game and I was trying to satisfy a late night sushi craving, so I decided to check it out after some recommendations.

It is Japanese owned and operated and it is somewhat authentic, but I didn’t find it that great. If I was in Richmond and wanted to stay within the same price range I would happily go to Kiriri Japanese Cuisine & Sushi Bar, Seto Sushi Japanese or even Sushi Hachi before this place. All of those are as “authentic” if not even more authentic than Maruwa. They do have a traditional menu and I guess I ordered more misses than hits, but at least it was very affordable so the damage wasn’t that bad.

I could be partially biased though because I did have Miku earlier this day and that’s like coming from gold to bronze. However even taking that into consideration, I still wasn’t that impressed. I made a decent dent in the menu and sampled a good variety, but I still didn’t see the hype. I can’t call it an “off day” either because it was just the way they execute things and nothing to do with seasonings.

We were the last table before closing, so maybe they just really wanted to go home, but the service wasn’t very accommodating either. I’m quite sure it’s family owned and operated, but I certainly didn’t feel like family going in. Overall the feeling wasn’t that great which in unfortunate because I love supporting local businesses. The menu is very affordable and I was hoping to find another amazing go-to causal sushi joint, but for now I guess I’ll just be going to somewhere else…

On the table:

Goma-ae – 1.5/6

  • $3
  • It was chilled and seemed premade.
  • The sesame sauce tasted bottled and it had no flavour.
  • It almost seemed watered down which it could have been if it was premade as the spinach would have released water.
  • It was slightly tangy and I was just not a fan of this goma-ae. It tasted like it looked.

**Spicy Tuna Sashimi3/6

  • $5
  • This was not a bad deal and it came with a decent amount of small and thin slices of tuna swimming in lots of soy, sesame oil, a bit of chili oil and topped with tobiko.
  • The sauce was a bit too salty though, but it had good flavour, which was predominantly sesame oil.
  • It was barely spicy and only at the very end, but it went away quickly. It was more aromatic and the pieces absorbed the sauce well.

**Toro (Tuna Belly) Sashimi – 4/6

  • $10
  • This was probably the best thing and I saw the value in it too.
  • The toro was fresh and sliced nice and thick and each piece was incredibly juicy, creamy, buttery and oily.
  • Just looking at the plate you can see the oils coming out and it just melted in my mouth.
  • The knife skills were alright, but I’m not going to be too picky and I did like the big slabs.

**BBQ Salmon Belly 4/6

  • $4.75
  • This was a daily special. It’s the tastiest part of the fish, besides the cheek, except when it comes to salmon I do prefer the belly.
  • I saw value in this too. It was a large portion, hot off the grill, and they did a great job preparing it.
  • The salmon wasn’t charred, but it was still very crispy, well rubbed and infused with shio (salt) and/or soy and grilled to perfection.
  • It wasn’t greasy on the outside and the meat was flaky, juicy, fatty, tender and almost melting.

Sushi – The menu is very roll focused so I decided to order a good variety. It just started to kind of go downhill from here. The rice was heavy on the vinegar, but a bit dry and the seaweed was a bit chewy.

Saba Battera (Pressed Mackerel) 2.5/6

  • $6.50
  • This was a great deal and quite authentic in execution, but I just wasn’t a fan of the sushi rice, which was a bit dry and heavy on the vinegar.
  • It’s a very fishy sushi and mackerel is very strong so I needed a Shiso leaf underneath the fish.
  • This sushi has a very pickled flavour that’s reminiscent of pickled herring. The mackerel was treated in vinegar or mirin, so it tastes pickled.
  • It was topped with a thin sheet of kelp, which seemed quite tangy and sweet. This is quite traditional for a Saba Battera.
  • I liked the Saba Battera from Seto Sushi more and that one is 8 pieces for $10 – see here, although the Saba is sliced a bit thinner there.

Tamago (Egg) Nigiri 1.5/6

  • $1.25/piece
  • The test of a Japanese restaurant is supposed to be the tamago and I always order it.
  • This one was a big piece, but they were overcooked and brown although well layered.
  • It wasn’t dry and it was slightly sweet, but also quite bland for tamago and I couldn’t taste much dashi in it.

Spicy Salmon Roll1.5/6

  • $2.75
  • It’s a bargain, but I didn’t really enjoy it, so I still wouldn’t order it again.
  • It was a bit rice heavy with minimal salmon and it didn’t help that it was mashed up.
  • It was marinaded in the same sauce that was served in the spicy tuna sashimi appetizer I had.
  • It was salty again, but bearable because the rice helped balance it out. 

Spicy Tuna Roll1.5/6

  • $2.75
  • The tuna was mashed up and it was very plain.
  • It wasn’t that salty or even spicy and I couldn’t taste it at all really.
  • It tasted exactly like how it looked.

California Roll with Real Crab 2.5/6

  • $4.50
  • The price is pretty good for a real crab roll.
  • There was lots of flaky crab (questionably frozen) and there was either hardly or no mayo so I could really taste the crab, which I liked.
  • There wasn’t much avocado, which I guess can be a good thing since you do want more crab.
  • It’s just a California roll, but I’d consider ordering this since it’s a bang for your buck kind of deal.

Spider Roll (Soft Shell Crab)2.5/6

  • $11.50 (8 pieces)
  • I would rather have the Red Spider Roll at Koto Izakaya Sushi and Robata for $10.99.
  • It came recommended and it was one of their priciest rolls, but it was pretty big I guess.
  • It was the best roll I had out of all the ones I ordered too, but that’s not saying much.
  • It was a full soft shell crab, but it was a bit over fried and not that juicy although very crunchy and crispy.
  • There was a little mayo as a binder, a little bit of asparagus stem and some salty bits of tobiko on top.
  • The rice was minimal, but a bit dry and the seaweed was chewy and it wasn’t rolled very well either.
  • I don’t’ find it worth the price.

Natto Roll 1/6

  • $2.75
  • This is a very traditional Japanese ingredient. Natto is fermented soy beans.
  • I’ve had it once at G-men Ramen before and I don’t hate it, but I wouldn’t choose it either. I ordered it again to give it another try… wishful thinking on my part.
  • It’s coated with an incredibly slimy and sticky clear liquid that’s reminiscent of bodily fluids…
  • The clear strands of slimy sticky spider web goop is bacillus subtilis, which is a healthy bacteria. It makes the soy beans slimy, but it’s good for you.
  • It’s very smoky and a bit bitter and it almost feels like you’re eating sushi covered in smoky bitter snot. I don’t know how else to put it. Ah, I know! It’s acquired.

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Maruwa Sushi Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

12 Comments

  • Si In Park says:

    This is an awesome site, especially for those who want to satisfy their foodventure cravings..mmmm. I like how you reviewed and rated each menu really in depth (with the pricing), which is always better than just an overall rating. Btw, have you been to Aki? I’m guessing you probably have, but they say it’s the most authentic ‘traditional japanese’ place in vancouver. Price is average affordable and really has a cozy small japanese restaurant ambience to it. Anyways, thx for the great tips and I would definitely check out more of your offerings.=)
    (Btw, I stumbled upon this site through my frd’s fb wall and i think we may have met once through a frd’s party, long story short it’s a small world..especially in the world of fb.lol. and no i’m not a fb stalker but i may stalk this site from now on..=D.)

  • Si In Park says:

    Btw, how do you stay so slim with all that scrumptious food?? I guess you work hard at it and maybe it’s your metabolism, but i have to say you look amazing even with all the food you must eat to review them!..

  • Mijune says:

    @Si In Park – Welcome Si!! OMG!! So awesome!! Thank you for visiting!!! Please please come back and visit my blog!!

    Ok so it just so happens that you happen to see my only post where I don’t refer to Aki Japanese when I order Tamago! To answer your question I actually refer to Aki in almost any post I write about Japanese food! I can’t beleive I didn’t in this one!! And then you bring it up! What are the chances? I LOVE AKI! Here is my post http://www.followmefoodie.com/2011/01/aki-japanese-restaurant/

    Thank you for all your wonderful comments and support for my blog. Vancouver is a very small world… but with lots of restaurants I still need to meet!!! 🙂

  • Bow says:

    The gommae looks definitely premade…it’s swimming in sauce. Too bad the rice wasn’t very good; that’s a shame. Natto is definitely an acquired taste…fermented mountain potato is like Chinese “stinky” tofu, not very desirable(I like it). Remember cleanse yer palate with that ice cold vodka…it get rid of the slimy taste.

  • Mijune says:

    @Bow – I like mountain potato too! 🙂 Thanks for the vodka tip bow! Yes… the gommae was a bit sad 🙁

  • Linda says:

    wow, this place had so much promise – i thought it was a good place too since i’ve heard some stuff here and there about it but man, was i wrong!

    the food here can be summed up in one category – all you can eat sushi quality. The food here seems very subpar and almost identical to what you would get if you ate sushi at an all you can eat establishment – the tamago looks so sad! 🙁 and why o why is the sauce from the gommae WHITE?!

    i’m glad the toro was good – its my fave piece of sashimi when i eat japanese 🙂

  • Mijune says:

    @Linda – well see that’s the thing.. it was still “traditional” but it just looked really bad. i think it looked worse than it tasted, but it didn’t taste that great either.. i’m trying to give benefit of the doubt… but ugghhhh it’s reallly hard 🙁 I love toro too!!! 🙂

  • vhearts says:

    found this blog trying to find a review for Kiriri sushi!

    If I recall correctly, the thing to order at Maruwa is actually Chicken Karaage. Not a fancy dish I know, but that’s their notable dish that they do really well. I seem to recall they had a “chicken karaage bento” that was pretty good value.

  • Mijune says:

    @vhearts – Welcome to Follow Me Foodie! Thanks for visiting! And really? Chicken Karaage? Hmm is it worth it for me to go back just to order this one item? I’m thinking 🙂 Thanks!

  • vhearts says:

    I thought it was pretty good, but at the end of the day it is what it is: Chicken Karaage so I probably wouldn’t go back to the restaurant just to have that. Maybe if you were in the area and didn’t have anywhere else you wanted to go

    It’s good but it’s not going to be a life-changing experience :p

  • Mijune says:

    @vhearts – thanks for being honest!

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