Watching the snow come down endlessly, we wondered if the trek to Richmond for AYCE sushi was a good idea. Well, we do have an SUV, and we actually have snow tires... Heck, why not? Wait a minute here. Let's be rational for a moment. Drive into Richmond... On probably one of the snowiest days in the last few years... for AYCE (mediocre) sushi... Insane? Probably. Well, we braved the snowy roads of Richmond and miraculously did not get into an accident! I guess it is time for me to buy a lottery ticket. Okay, maybe 100 lottery tickets...
Anyways, most people would think it's plain lunacy that we would drive all the way to Richmond for AYCE sushi, let alone in a blizzard. But Gadget Girl decided to organize a "team lunch". If you know her by now, you just nod your head and say "yes". Otherwise, you might find yourself on the farm team for the rest of the season. The destination was Richmond Sushi, which is part of the Top Gun group of restaurants, which included Kingsway Sushi, Top Gun Sushi, Top Gun Hot Pot and Garden City Hot Pot. I have been here many times in the past for dinner and late night. That seems like eons ago though since I'm not a huge fan of AYCE anymore. If you look past the unauthentic Japanese food (it's Chinese owned), the food is pretty consistent and you always know what you are getting. Lunch is $11.95 and for the deluxe dinner, it's $23.95.
As it was for lunch today, there was no sashimi on the menu. However, it can be added for an extra $5.00 per person. I'm not sure if that is actually worthwhile since the fish here is quite average. Not that it ain't fresh per se, it's just not high quality (and I don't blame them, since it's AYCE). Predictably, the sushi rice ain't exactly going to win any awards. The texture borders on being close to regular rice; but at least it wasn't mushy. The rolls we got were not assembled very well and basically fell apart on contact. We were pretty happy with the Gyoza and Short Ribs, they arrived piping hot. I've noticed that the Top Gun chain seems to do a decent job with the temperature of their food. It may not be great, but at least hot things are generally hot and cold things are cold. One odd thing about the ribs though. They were unusually tender. It leads me to think they were marinaded in baking soda.
For once, the Chicken Karaage was not fried chicken wings. Rather, they were fried pieces of chicken thigh. Despite looking quite good, these were fried a bit too long and ended up pretty dry.
The Beef Teriyaki is your typical AYCE version where it is thin, a bit overcooked and dressed with a too sweet sauce. The same could be said for the Chicken Teriyaki, it was fried too long.
As for dinner, you get a larger selection of items including such Chinese specialties like chicken knees, beef tongue and sui mai. As you can see, the target market are obviously not those who are seeking an authentic Japanese experience. Again, the food is edible if you take into account what your expectations are. There is no way you can compare Richmond Sushi to Japanese restaurants run by Japanese people. At the very least, they are trying to serve the food at the correct temperature (I based this on more than one visit). Service is quite efficient, since Richmond Sushi is following the trend of using PDAs to take your order. This sends your order directly to the kitchen and the food comes out quite promptly. Mind you, the service will never be confused with "good" service. It does the job with little to no emotion or extra effort. It's true that AYCE is not really the best way to do Japanese cuisine; but if you must, Richmond Sushi is indeed passable, for Chinese-interpreted Japanese food that is...
- At least they attempt to serve food at the right temperature
- Food comes out lightening quick (can be good and bad)
- Moderately priced
- Sashimi is an extra charge for lunch (unlike Fish on Rice and Shabusen)
- The regular dinner (as opposed to the deluxe) has limited selection compared to other places
- It's Chinese-Japanese Food
1488-8388 Capstan Way