Restaurant: Hime Sushi
Last visited: August 4, 2011
Area: Vancouver, BC (Mount Pleasant/Main Street)
Address: 315 Broadway East
Price range: $10 or less
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
Food: 4 (based on what I tried)
- Japanese owned and operated
- Traditional Japanese
- Some fusion rolls
- Sushi bar/fresh sashimi
- Local favourite/neighbourhood gem
- Extensive menu
- Seasonal specials
- Reasonably priced
- Family friendly
- Lunch/dinner boxes
- Accepts Visa/MC
- Mon-Fri Lunch 11am-3pm
- Saturday Lunch 12pm-3pm
- Mon-Sat Dinner 5am-10pm
- Closed Sundays
**Recommendations: Tuna & Avocado Salad, Sashimi, and the Ocean Red Roll is promising.
I hear lots about Hime Sushi and I’m given constant reminders on Twitter to go visit it. I love dining Japanese so there’s never a bad time for it, and being in Vancouver it’s not hard to find decent Japanese food, even when it’s not made by Japanese people. But there’s good Japanese food and then there’s authentic and very good Japanese food, and that’s what category Hime Sushi falls into. I didn’t get to try as much as I wanted to and several items sparked my interest, but from what I ordered the place was legit.
I decided to come here for lunch and it seemed more like a casual lunch joint than a dinner spot. However I know it’s popular for both, including take-out, and I’d easily consider it a local favourite and neighrbourhood gem. Lots of people in the area know about it, but I don’t find it as highly talked about as it should be. It’s almost like a “neighbourhood secret”.
It’s a pretty small restaurant with a sushi bar in the centre and Chef Fumio Osaki runs the kitchen with his team of trained Japanese chefs. The food is generally traditional although they do offer a large selection of fusion rolls and dishes. Some of the food is presented nicer than the atmosphere suggests and there’s actually care being put into the food and it’s not just another sushi joint on Main Street or Broadway.
The sashimi is fresh and the quality of ingredients are great and I’d say it’s a solid choice for affordable Japanese cuisine in the area. I actually found the lunch pretty cheap, but some of the chef’s specialty rolls can get quite pricey. Overall it was a pleasant experience and I would come back as it seems like a reliable go-to place. That being said I wouldn’t make an effort to specifically come back unless I was already in the area, as there are other authentic Japanese restaurants at this level that I would flock to first.
On the table:
- Spicy available $4.95
- Boom! 6/6 right away!
- It came with about 8-10 large chunks of fresh, buttery and creamy chilled tuna and that was already worth it.
- There was an equal amount of fresh and ripe slices of avocado and for $4.95 it’s not to be missed, and it’s delicious too!
- The flavour was incredible and I could have easily drank the sauce.
- It looked really oily, but it wasn’t even noticeable and the ponzu just cut through the oil.
- It was a sweet soy sauce with ponzu and perhaps some mirin and lots of sesame oil, and I ordered it spicy so there was some added chili oil too.
- It was sweet initially, a bit tangy and then a mild spicy which gradually grew to a medium spicy.
- It didn’t burn and it didn’t overpower the dish and the sauce was surprisingly refreshing next to the cold chunks of tuna sashimi.
- The spice lingered and there was a bit of smokiness from perhaps the freshly toasted and cracked sesame seeds and immense amount of sesame oil, but it never got bitter or too oily.
- It almost reminded me of the amazing Tuna Chili Sashimi I had at Dan’s Japanese, but it was even cheaper and maybe just as good from recollection.
- Hime roll, 4 pcs sushi (or 2 pcs tuna & 2 pcs salmon sushi) $10.50
- This was one of their sushi combos that is available for lunch or dinner.
- For $10 it was a good deal, but I was only saving a $1 by ordering it as a combo rather than a la carte. I didn’t realize that until now… boo.
- Anyways it was a good plate and filling enough for one person for lunch or dinner, so it’s still a good value.
- Salmon, tuna, tamago, vegetable $5.95
- Every Japanese restaurant has their own version of a House Roll, and this was a pretty good one.
- Salmon and tuna are standard and the egg should be as well, but surprisingly not many places will include it. If you get the egg, it’s a good sign, because that takes times to make well.
- Sometimes there’s also avocado and that was the only thing that I kind of missed.
- It was a lot of filling and little rice and they were generous with the ingredients too.
- The sashimi was fresh and big pieces, and the lightly dressed crab with little mayo was plentiful, but artificial, which is expected.
- The double tamago (egg) was a bonus and the crunch of cucumber was a good contrast to the creamy textures going on.
- Salmon Nigiri Sushi – 4/6
- $1.50 a la carte
- The salmon is pretty good and cut quite well.
- It was fresh, but the quality didn’t seem particularly higher than most standard salmon sashimi I’ve had.
- The sushi rice is a bit on the dry side and it could use a bit more flavour although it was flavoured.
- **Tuna Nigiri Sushi - 5/6
- $1.50 a la carte
- The tuna was thick cut and I usually prefer salmon sashimi over tuna, but in this case the tuna was incredible.
- The tuna was almost like hamachi and it was full of buttery, creamy, flavour and the fat content was great.
- It was incredibly fresh sashimi and it made me curious to order their toro (tuna belly) for next time.
- Ebi (Cooked prawn) Nigiri Sushi - 4/6
- $1.50 a la carte
- This was standard as well and not overcooked, and it was a good size, but again the rice is a bit dry.
- Tamago (Egg) Nigiri Sushi – 4/6
- $1 a la carte
- I was going to order this if I didn’t get it as part of my combo.
- Tamago is my classic test for a Japanese restaurant.
- It was moist, not over cooked and actually very good, but the rice was a bit dry again.
- It didn’t seem as layered and it was more savoury than sweet and the dashi wasn’t that obvious, but it was likely used.
- The best tamago to date is still from Aki Japanese Restaurant – see here.
- Inside: California roll, masago Top: Grilled unagi with avocado and house sauce $9.95
- This is apparently one of the best sellers and favourites, but it was probably my least favouite of what I ordered and I’ve had better Dragon Rolls before.
- This wasn’t bad, but it’s not something I would order again.
- I do appreciate when a restaurant takes the effort to make it look like a dragon, but that’s a minor thing and not the reason why I wasn’t keen on this roll.
- Personally I like the Dragon Roll at Ichiro Japanese for traditional style (see here) and Octopus Garden for a modern style (see here).
- It was filled with lots of crab (artificial) and the roll itself was executed well, but the house sauce and the unagi were okay.
- The roll was very creamy and fatty and quite fishy tasting and there was a decent amount of unagi.
- The unagi wasn’t grilled crispy and it didn’t have a smokiness and it almost had a texture of edible mini bones in it. Some unagi I’ve had will have this quality, but I like the ones that don’t.
- The unagi was just a bit overly slimy and it lost its meatiness.
- The house sauce seemed like a Terriyaki sauce but it was thickened with lots of cornstarch so it got too gummy and gluey and was almost jelly like.
- I thought the house sauce would be more unique and I just found this a bit overwhelmingly sweet and the texture wasn’t saucy but a bit goop like.
- It would have been nice to get a crunch of cucumber or crispiness from the eel to contrast the creamy texture.
- Dragon Rolls tend to be rich because of the eel and avocado combination, but this one seemed even richer with the thick sauce.
- Follow Me Foodie Tasty Twist: I ended up removing the house sauce and dipping it in the spicy, sesame, soy ponzu sauce from the Tuna & Avocado Salad. It worked!
- Marinated seaweed $2.95
- This came complimentary because there was a small misunderstanding with the ordering and basically they felt bad. It was an unexpected but kind gesture.
- I always order goma-ae salad over seaweed salad, but the seaweed salad was actually very good here for what it was.
- I liked the type of seaweed they used for this and it was the thin strands of stringy ones that are crunchy.
- It was a decent amount of well marinated fresh seaweed that was tangy, sweet, savoury and aromatic from a touch of sesame oil, sesame seeds and some chili flakes, but it wasn’t spicy.
- The texture is acquired and it’s quite slimy and crunchy and they mixed it with some wood ear mushrooms for more texture.
- I’d actually possible order this next time as a light and healthy appetizer to start.