Sherman's Food Adventures: Hi Genki

Hi Genki

Vandelay has been bugging me to try this place called Hi Genki for awhile now. I've been pretty skeptical - a Japanese restaurant in an old folks home?!?!? Just the image of that conjures up thoughts of hospital food. Bleck! But I finally relented and decided to give it a go. Hi Genki is located in the Nekkei Home on Southoaks Crescent in Burnaby. When I say it's in the home, it is right smack-dab at the front entrance. I wasn't even sure if I was in the right place; but alas, Vandelay and Donna Chang were there waiting for a table.

The restaurant was bustling with activity, it appears that a lot of people like to eat here. Right at the front near the cash register was a small table with all the specials of the day. That's right, the actual dishes (not some plastic interpretation) were displayed. This is one of the few times you get to see the food before ordering it. My initial impressions were that the portions of each dish were very generous. Furthermore, after looking over the menu, I was impressed that those portions were at reasonable prices. However, this shouldn't have been a revelation since Hi Genki is run by Fujiya, which is synonymous with value.

I continued to look at the menu and the Gindara Misoyaki caught my eye. For $8.95, you get miso-flavoured grilled black cod. I thought that was a fabulous deal since black cod is really expensive. When the dish arrived, I figured out why it was only $8.95. The pieces of black cod were actually the collar and fin bones. But, that was actually no problem to me because the most succulent part of the fish is near the bones in my opinion. However, for some others, this may be a total turn off. Rice, spring salad, konnyaku jelly, and a taro ball (that's what it tasted like, please correct me if I'm wrong) acommpanied the fish. Curiously, the salad dressing on top of the spring mix was Italian. First time I've ever had both spring mix and Italian dressing in a Japanese restaurant.

Vandelay ordered the Nabeyaki Udon, which came with a side of fried rice. I tried the udon and it was well... udon. It was no better or no worse than any other udons I've had everywhere else. Donna Chang (not her real name) ordered up some Japanese curry, specifically the Chicken Katsu Curry. Essentially, it's a breaded chicken cutlet over rice smothered with curry. Japanese curry is nothing like traditional Indian Curry, it's much sweeter and it's thickened with a roux. I tried some of it and it was indeed very mild and sweet. If you like that kind of curry, then it was pretty good.

We also got an order of Agedeshi Tofu and Korokke Teishoku (potato croquettes). The tofu were 2 big pieces topped with the usual grated daikon, green onion and bonito flakes. I liked the tofu, it was soft and not over-fried. The croquettes were coated with panko and it was fried perfectly. Nice colour and crispy on the outside, fluffy potato on the inside. We were also provided with a squeeze bottle of tonkatsu sauce for the croquettes. So what did I think of Hi Genki? Well, much like Fujiya, the food is not bad, but not great. Although I do think it is a very good value, since it has a good combination of decent food, good prices and generous portions.

The Good:
- Low prices
- Generous portions
- Free underground parking

The Bad:
- All the positive reviews create unrealistic expectations for the food

Hi Genki
6680 Southoaks Crescent
Burnaby, B.C.

Business Hours:
11:30am - 3:00pm, 6:00pm - 8:30pm (Mon - Sun)

Hi Genki on Urbanspoon



Anonymous said...

I tried this place recently as well, while the food was okay I just can't get past the setting. It is a senior's home with the slightly stale and hospital like odours associated with a nursing home. Also it looks like an awesome value but the bulk of the meal is the supersized rice portions which is why people are so full after. (The don bowls are good value though as it has more topping than normal.) Also a lot of the food items are processed or frozen like the korroke (they admit this too which is at least honest, I'd prefer from scratch homemade cooking though). I did like the grilled salmon I had though it was cooked perfectly, and I thought their terriyaki chicken was delicious, it was also fattier than normal which might have added to the flavour. It was sort of strange seeing so many people happily eating away in this setting, but it's not my cup of tea.

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