Sherman's Food Adventures: Nao Sushi

Nao Sushi

Ack! I really, really do not like meetings after work. Well, who does? I'd much prefer going home to relax and if I have time, blog a little. However, I had to be at this meeting. Given that, I accepted that I would be home much later. Luck would have it, Apu sends me an email asking if I could play goal for his hockey team the same night. My first thought was to decline the request since I had no interest in extending my day any longer than it was already. Yet, there were a few things pushing me towards playing. First, it was nearby at Planet Ice Delta. Second, it coincided with the end time of my meeting. Third, he promised to go eating with me afterwards and would convince Milhouse as well. Okay, okay... The first 2 reasons were inconsequential. If you know me, he had me at "eat". It truly completes me...

So after tying 4-4, we were mulling around the locker room trying to figure out where to go. As much as a juicy burger and beer sounded good; it just didn't seem like the healthy thing to do. Thus, we settled on Japanese food, in particular Nao Sushi. It was on the way home for all of us; yet it was near closing time. So we hopped in our cars and made it quickly over just in time for last call. With not much time to think, we ended up with a bunch of items starting with Salmon & Tuna Sashimi. Nothing amiss with the fish here. Nice big slices that were fresh and naturally sweet. We got the Deluxe Assorted Sushi to share as well. It was comprised of 1/2 Tekka, 1/2 Salmon Roll, 1 piece each of Tamago, Red Tuna, Ika, Salmon, Hamachi, Ika, Amaebi, Unagi, Hokkigai, Masago, Chopped Scallop and Uni Nigiri. Once again, there was nothing bad to say about anything in this combo. The items were fresh and prepared correctly. Furthermore the rice had a nice chewy, while not dry, texture to it. This is quite the feat since it was near closing time.

We got 2 cooked dishes as well starting with the Teri-Beef Don. Now, if you are wondering where the goupy teriyaki sauce is, there ain't any. And that is completely fine with me. Unlike other "Japanese" restaurants, the teriyaki beef is cooked with sauce rather than being doused in sauce afterwards. The result was a nice caramelization of the beef and onions. It went well with the perfectly chewy rice. To counter-balance the healthy, we needed to get an order of the Assorted Tempura. We can't help ourselves! Despite the appearance of a heavy batter, the tempura was surprisingly light and crisp. It wasn't that oily either. I guess it was healthy after all...

Fine, back to the sushi... We went for the Rainbow Roll. Not trying to sound like a broken record; but... the different slices of fish were fresh while the avocado was bright and of the right texture. Add good sushi rice with a nice bite and flavour, you have a solid roll. Lastly, we got a Spicy Tuna Roll. To some, the extremely melt-in-your-mouth tuna may be a turnoff; yet the texture was purely intentional. Prepared in that fashion, the fresh tuna was soft and spicy. Of course, the same good sushi rice added some chewy texture while the small piece of cucumber added a slight crunch.

As we were waiting to pay, there was a discussion about Japanese-run restaurants. In the sea of Japanese restaurants in the GVRD, there is only a small percentage that are truly authentic. Then there is an even smaller percentage of those that are actually Japanese-run. With that being said, that doesn't necessarily guarantee good food either. However, Nao Sushi is an example of an authentic Japanese-run restaurant. The food quality was very good, while the prices are definitely reasonable considering everything. We will be back.

The Good:
- Solid food
- Reasonable prices
- Friendly staff

The Bad:
- Portions are modest in size

Nao Sushi on Urbanspoon


KimHo said...

Nao Sushi is one of those no descript places that offers good food without raising its profile too much. One thing I should note, though, following the point of "if the people of that nationality visits the restaurant...", the times I have been in Nao Sushi, I see the people from the Nikkei Centre (read, Japanese center, where Hi Genki is located) a couple of away go there for their sushi fix. That should tell you something!

jer said...

I've heard good things about Nao Sushi (formally the first Sushi House) over the years. Looks like you had a good meal. I heard one of the better dishes served there is Lobster and Assorted Sashimi.

Anonymous said...

Hey Sherman,
if you are looking for an authentic japanese restaurant run by japanese chefs, have you had a chance to check out Hapa Umi in coal harbour?

Sherman said...

Kim, yah the clientele says a lot about a restaurant! Somehow, psychologically, I feel better. LOL.

Jer, Lobster? I need to try that next time.

Hapa Umi eh? The new place opened up by Hapa Izakaya... No, but I'm planning to try. I'll wait til they have worked out the kinks first. I went too early to the Yaletown location last time.