Sushi Garden (Kingsway)

Restaurant: Sushi Garden
Cuisine: Japanese/Sushi
Last visited: December 16, 2011
Location: Burnaby, BC (Burnaby South)
Address: 4635 Kingsway
Train: Metrotown Skytrain
Price Range: $10 or less

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: FMF Must Try!

Food: 3
Service: 3
Ambiance: 2
Overall: 3
Additional comments:

  • Korean owned/operated
  • Bang for your buck sushi
  • Extensive menu
  • Popular for sushi
  • Hot items available
  • Local favourite
  • Very popular/busy
  • Line-ups/wait list at 6pm
  • Budget friendly/Cheap eats
  • Family friendly
  • Serves alcohol
  • Same owners as California Sushi in Coquitlam
  • Free parking at rear
  • Dine in/Take out
  • Mon-Sat 11am-10pm
  • Sunday 11:30-9:30pm

**Recommendations: Alaska Roll, Tuna Gomae

Sushi Garden in Burnaby, BC is probably one of the busiest sushi restaurants in Metro Vancouver. It’s a large restaurant, but it fills up quickly and there’s a guaranteed line up that usually starts at 6pm. I’ve come here on numerous occasions, and it’s not my favourite sushi restaurant, but it’s bang for your buck sushi and it does the job if you’re in the area… especially after a hard day’s worth of shopping at Metrotown mall across the street.

I wouldn’t say Sushi Garden is high quality, but the food is actually decent especially for the price. I really don’t expect too much and if I take it for what it is, it’s good. Cheap sushi in Metro Vancouver isn’t really hard to find, and I wouldn’t make an effort to come here, but it’s an easy go to place if you’re in the neighbourhood. It’s actually Korean owned an operated and we can forget about “authenticity” because when you’re paying $3-4 for a roll, it doesn’t really matter.

The restaurant is for those who have graduated from All You Can Eat sushi and Samurai Sushi, and I would choose this before I would the other two. Sure AYCE sushi can vary depending on the restaurant, but generally, I’m not crazy about it.

If you can’t get a seat here, which is common, then I would also suggest trying Asakusa Sushi just a block away. It’s pretty much the same deal and that one is Vietnamese owned and operated. I like the menu selection better at Sushi Garden, but Asakusa Sushi offers really cheap bento boxes and nicer presentation. Their stuff has a little bit more care since they’re not as busy as Sushi Garden, but their both good options for cheap sushi in the area that actually tastes decent.

On the table:

**Tuna Gomae3.5/6 (Good-Very good)

  • $4.95
  • The gomae sauce is a bit on the thin side and I prefer mine a bit thicker, but this was still good.
  • It was half spinach gomae and half tuna gomae, but the portion was still big and worth the price even if it wasn’t all tuna.
  • The sauce was thin in texture, but not in flavour and it was a bit sweet and I prefer mine nuttier with a gritty texture of freshly ground toasted sesame seeds.
  • There was some pureed sesame seeds, but not a whole lot.
  • The tuna isn’t the highest in quality, but again I don’t expect it for the price. When it’s covered in sauce it doesn’t really matter anyways.
  • The best tuna gomae I’ve had so far is at Tokachi Japanese Restaurant.

Tako Yaki2.5/6 (Okay-Good)

  • Octopus ball, 6 pcs $3.95
  • If you’ve never tried tako yaki than these are good, but otherwise they’re pretty standard for tako yaki.
  • It’s a popular street food usually made of batter, diced octopus, pickled ginger, green onions and topped with fish/squid shavings, Japanese mayo and okonomiyaki sauce (thicker sweeter Teriyaki like sauce).
  • It was creamy, gummy and almost like a glutinous dumpling. It’s like eating a very soft mochi.
  • It was a bit mushier than usual with a very tiny piece of octopus and it was a bit tough from being overcooked.
  • I wanted more filling, because they were a bit too airy even though they are supposed to be somewhat airy and light.
  • I could taste the pickled ginger and onion although it was very little. I appreciated it being in there though when lots of places just ignore it.
  • They weren’t amazing here, but they’re not bad either and I wouldn’t mind ordering them again.

Seafood Salad3/6 (Good)

  • Prawn, smoked salmon, tobiko $5.95
  • This was a huge salad and well worth the price.
  • It’s definitely not your Hapa Izakaya Sashimi Salad, Guu Sashimi Salad or Nan Chuu Sashimi Salad, but it was also half the price of all of them.
  • It was a fresh salad with lots of ingredients and I liked it!
  • It was crunchy with lots of fresh cabbage, carrots, cucumbers and lettuce and the chilled and firm Japanese vermicelli noodles (used in sunomono) were unexpected, but appreciated and original.
  • The seafood wasn’t all sashimi, but I didn’t expect it for the price.
  • There was only one piece of tuna sashimi and then lots of artificial crab meat, some tiny thin slices of salty smoked salmon, a piece of cooked shrimp, a piece of cooked octopus, and a generous amount of tobiko which I loved.
  • There was a drizzle of wasabi mayo on top, which I could have used more of, but the best part was the dressing that came with it!

This dressing is their secret house made dressing and it makes everything taste delicious. It’s a vinaigrette and the same one they put on their famous Alaska rolls. It’s a very sharp and tangy Miso like Ponzu-Soy sauce. It’s an orangey-citrus vinaigrette that’s almost like an Asian inspired Italian dressing and it’s a bit savoury and sweet too. It had a grainy texture and you could tell it was made with a fresh puree of onions and apples.

**Alaska Roll5.5/6 (Excellent!)

  • Avocado, tobiko, salmon $3.95
  • This is what they’re famous for and it’s their most popular roll. I order it every time I come.
  • I would possibly make the effort to come here just for this roll. It’s one of my favourite sushi rolls in the city.
  • It was a perfect one-bite piece of melt in your mouth sushi. You have to love avocado to like this.
  • They don’t use the rice to make it look big, but the rice was slightly bland and the seaweed a bit chewy.
  • It was super rich and creamy and stuffed with buttery, over ripe, semi mashed avocado that comes across as guacamole.
  • There was more avocado than salmon, but I don’t even care because it was good enough to overlook.
  • What makes this roll different from all other Alaska Rolls is that they pour a special sauce onto it.
  • The special sauce is actually the same home made vinaigrette they served with the seafood salad. I love that dressing!
  • The acidity of the sauce really cuts through the richness of the creamy avocado and makes the whole thing pop.
  • I wouldn’t mind some crunch of cucumber to break things up, but it’s still excellent!
  • The salmon wasn’t great quality, but again, you stop caring because it delivers beyond a $3.95 roll and any other ordinary Alaska roll.
  • This roll doesn’t require any soy sauce or wasabi.

Spicy Tuna Roll3/6

  • $2.95
  • Unlike most spicy tuna rolls, where you would just get spicy tuna, this one also had cucumbers, green onion and tobiko. For $2.95 I can accept not having as much tuna.
  • The spicy sauce tasted like a Korean chili soybean paste and it could have been Gochujung sauce which I love.
  • They don’t use the rice to make it look big, but the rice was slightly bland and the seaweed a bit chewy.
  • It was a bit sweet and slightly spicy and I could have used more spicy tuna sauce.
  • The best spicy tuna roll from a cheap eats sushi place I’ve had so far is still from Tokyo Joe’s Sushi Factory.

Toro Sashimi (Tuna Belly)2/6 (Okay)

  • $9.95
  • So this is the section I prefer to skip – the sashimi. It’s quantity over quality.
  • Toro is one of my favourite sashimi so I just wanted to give it a try here.
  • Most cheap sushi places don’t specialize in sashimi since it’s expensive, so it’s really not the place to indulge in sashimi although it’s still very popular with their customers.
  • The cut was quite random and it seemed previously frozen and thawed because it was colder than being simply chilled.
  • It wasn’t as oily and a bit firm rather than buttery, and it wasn’t toro I wanted to finish.
  • The flavour just reminded me of very mediocre tuna sashimi which I’m not keen on.
  • I could appreciate this toro sashimi much more if it were in a roll context (eg: Negitoro – tuna belly roll) because then the quality doesn’t become as important and the flavour would be more forgivable and somewhat masked.

Island Roll2/6 (Okay)

  • Cooked tuna, fish flake with fresh kiwi sauce $4.95
  • This was from a previous visit. It sounded the most original and interesting, but I wouldn’t order it again.
  • It was basically something you might attempt at home, but I appreciate the creativity.
  • It was a bit dry because the tuna was jut a canned tuna and I think it needed to be marinated more. They just marinated it in mayo and not enough of it either.
  • The kiwi sauce was mashed kiwi with perhaps some lemon juice for tang.
  • The roll was salty and sweet, but more on the sweet side, and the kiwi was a bit overpowering and the roll could have been saltier.
  • There was also tamago in it, but it got lost in the mixture and kiwi and tuna was basically all I could taste.
  • This roll is actually better if you dip it in soy sauce and wasabi… yes even with the kiwi sauce. It works!

Haru Maki3/6 (Good)

  • Vegetable, Tobiko, crab meat $4.50
  • This is from a previous visit. From the description I would never think to order it, but I’m glad I did because it was unexpected and good.
  • It was almost like a Vietnamese salad roll, but instead of vermicelli it was all artificial crab meat. There was a lot of it!
  • It was creamy from the avocado and crunchy from the fresh vegetables which included a red pepper, one asparagus, a little lettuce, lots of cucumber and a little bit of tobiko.
  • They served it with a Teriyaki Hoisin like sauce which was great.
  • There was another Japanese salad dressing that tasted like Thousand Island dressing and I wasn’t keen on that.
  • The two sauces didn’t really complement and I liked it better with the Teriyaki Hoisin sauce, which I ended up asking for more of (no charge).

Prawn & Sweet Potato Tempuran/a

  • $7.50
  • This wasn’t my order, but I had to snap a photo just in case you’re interested to see what it looks like.

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Sushi Garden (Kingsway) on Urbanspoon

11 Comments

  • Jonathan says:

    So much food at Sushi Garden. I went there hungry and disgraced myself by ordering more food than would fit on the table. Spicy salmon comes in a bucket.

    One thing I would add is that 3 on service is kind. 2 would be kind imho.

    Line up to get in, line up to get out.

  • 4SlicesofCheese says:

    Alaska roll is must order.

    I feel the quality has gone down the last couple visits I have had.. or maybe my tastes have matured.
    Hmmm..

  • LotusRapper says:

    Sushi Garden really packs them in, esp. during lunch hours. I think there’s another on Lougheed Hwy near Madison St, and maybe a third one elsewhere.

    If you’re ever back Metrotown area Mijune, do try:

    1) Kura
    http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/14/181027/restaurant/Vancouver/Burnaby-South/Kura-Japanese-Burnaby

    2) Tomoya
    http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/14/181844/restaurant/Vancouver/Burnaby-South/Tomoya-Japanese-Restaurant-Burnaby

    IMHO Kura’s at their best for dinner, not lunch. Japanese owned and run. Tomoya is Chinese (Taiwanese) owned and run, but they are pretty creative and uses better-than-average ingredients, plus provides a good value for the money. Only downfall is parking is sparse around Tomoya and their underground parkade is always full, especially with Lao Shan Dong and Cattle Cafe right around the corner from Tomoya.

  • Linda says:

    mmmm i love sushi garden! i first went here when i was younger and it wasn’t as hyped but i’m definitely glad their standards are still up to par and their food is still yummy! definitely a great deal for their prices 🙂

    have you ever tried the BLT roll before? super weird.. i think it also had cream cheese in it!

    mmm look at that toro, definitely my favorite sashimi too! and tuna gomae?! i need to get that next time 🙂

  • @conservativeyve says:

    The only thing we ever order is the Alaska Rolls. Service is a 2 though. Try visiting the Lougheed location, same lineup but te quality is a tad better.

  • Philip says:

    Completely off-topic with Sushi Garden, but have you tried Tsukiji in Richmond? I did a search and see you haven’t rated it.

    Definitely a must try, I would say it’s better than Seto. It’s chinese owned but the sushi chef is japanese and used to work at Yoshi’s on Denman. Try their deep fried sakurebi and tako shinjo (can sell out if you go late). They have a light soup noodle made entirely of fish noodles which is made fresh (also limited quantities since made daily). Sushi is perfect amount of rice/fish, must try their chopped scallop and ika sushi. The ika they use is not the typical ones (wet and slimy), its more crisp and dry.

    Top 5 in my books in BC. I’d say best in Richmond. I’d love to see you review this place.

  • Mijune says:

    @Philip – I JUST talked about Tsukiji on another post… check the comments on my Nan Chuu post! Very interesting to see your comments! I’ve heard such mixed things, but with you guiding me on what to order that helps! Thank you!!

  • Philip says:

    I only see a comment about takifugu in your Nan Chuu post. Or i’m not looking in the right places 😀

    http://www.tsukijijapaneserestaurant.com

  • Mijune says:

    @Philip – OOOHHHHHH!!!!!! No sorry! I’m dumb! I mixed them up!! YES!This one!!! WOW!? really? I totally judged a book by it’s cover and thought it wouldn’t be authentic. I’ve gone inside to check out menu, but never sat down. Okay, I will put this back on the list! Thanks Phillip! 🙂

  • Philip says:

    hahaha i knew that was the case, but make sure you try tsukiji, its priced below seto and honestly better IMO. Their sushi is on par with sushi hachi, but i get bored of sushi hachi b/c there is nothing except sashimi/sushi.

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