Sherman's Food Adventures: I Love Sushi (Lake Bellevue)

I Love Sushi (Lake Bellevue)

Somehow, my yearly gift-exchange with Goose for our birthdays has turned into treating each other for dinner. It started roughly 3 years ago... when this blog started to take form. Coincidence? You be the judge... Anyhoo, since I was down in Seattle for Black Friday, it seemed like a great idea to finally take Goose and his family out for his birthday dinner, which was long overdue from August. Originally, he suggested we do Haiku Buffet (which I already did earlier in the day), but he suddenly had a change of heart. Thank goodness too, what's with the buffets all the time here? Oh right, there are so many of them here! So what was our eventual eating destination? "I Love Sushi", replied Goose. Oh? Yah, I know you love sushi, where are we going to eat? "No, the place is called I Love Sushi!". Really? Uh... The name, it sounds like some take out joint. Who the heck names their Japanese restaurant "I Love Sushi"??? OMG, where are we going for dinner? Costanza and I were scared.

Imagine our utter surprise when we pulled up to the place, situated on man-made Lake Bellevue, and it was actually swank-looking. One glimpse of the menu and indeed this was no take-out joint. All of the main entrees were between $20.00-$30.00! WTF? So I normally don't talk about Miso Soup because frankly, it's boring and pretty generic. Not in this case. The soup had depth and I could actually pick out the flavours from the dashi. Moreover, the soup was very flavourful without being salty. This alleviated my fears about the place and I was ready for their food. Not knowing the portion size of their entrees, Costanza convinced me to share some appies starting with the Paradise Roll. Consisting of yellowtail, tuna, salmon and avocado on the inside and topped with 4 types of flying fish roe, we could immediately tell that this was fresh by appearance alone. The colours were pleasing and the sushi rice was fantastic. A good balance of chewy while not being dry, the rice had good hits of rice wine vinegar and sweetness. As mentioned, the fish was high-quality and the pop of the roe added texture.

Our second appie was the Kurobuta Pork Gyoza. Otherwise known as the Kobe beef of pork, the Kurobuta was moist and tender. Coupled with the fluffy gyoza skin, which was fried up nicely, this was one fine gyoza. The only thing we would've liked to see was more acidity in the dipping sauce. Moving onto the mains, Goose's kiddies shared the Tempura Dinner which included a small side of sashimi. Actually, most of the meals had a choice of sashimi or tempura as a side. Naturally, there was no need for tempura as a side in this dinner. The tempura was pretty good with a light crisp batter which was not greasy. As expected, the ingredients were top-notch and cooked just right.

Mother Goose went for the Sashimi Dinner with a side of tempura. As evidenced in the picture, the sashimi was prepared carefully and plated as such as well. Since I had a side of sashimi included in my meal, I didn't have to steal a piece from her dinner. I can honestly say that the sashimi is some of the best I've had in a long time. Sliced intricately and buttery smooth, the salmon was both sweet and delicious. The red tuna was equally good. Costanza and Goose both decided to have the Sukiyaki Dinner and my goodness, it was a large portion. Due to the appies, Costanza struggled to finish his dinner and in fact had to give me the rest. Hey, I wasn't complaining. The thinly sliced-beef was super moist and tender. It soaked up the mild, yet still effectively flavourful broth. The tofu was silky smooth while the veggies also benefited from balanced broth.

For myself, I had the Kurobuta Tonkatsu Dinner consisting of 2 large pork cutlets. As you can tell from the picture, the cutlets were fried up super crisp on the outside. Again, it was not greasy at all. In terms of the pork itself, there was a mix of super tender and moist portions with a few bits of harder chewy parts. It could be due to the thickness of the centre as opposed to the end. In general, this was both a filling and satisfying meal. I only wished that the tonkatsu sauce to have a sharper acidic punch. Well, that was an unexpected meal, for a place with a name like "I Love Sushi"... What we got was top-notch food prepared with care and with great service to boot. Now, all of this came at a cost though. With the main entrees in the $20.00 range, it definitely qualifies as fine dining. Therefore, it will depend solely on one's threshold for Japanese food to determine whether it is worth it or not.

The Good:
- Quality ingredients
- Properly prepared food
- Really good service

The Bad:
- Expensive
- Fairly limited selection on the menu


KimHo said...

Just came back from a trip from New York (not Manhattan, though) and, in one of the nights, I dropped by a sushi restaurant nearby. The cost of a sushi dinner was barely slightly lower than the dishes you ordered (I think it was ~$28 or something) but the food was abysmal. At that price, suddenly, the menu at Shiro's (in Seattle), ain't that bad! What I am trying to say here is that the cost of sushi in the US is high and quality can swing in a lot of directions. What people in Vancouver should feel lucky about is that sushi in general (regardless of cook's skill or ethnicity) is "cheaper" than a lot of places (*). Hence we should consider ourselves lucky.

(*) Of course, I am not taking into consideration either Tojo's or Octopus Garden!

Sherman Chan said...

@KimHo I agree. We are spoiled in Vancouver. But then again, the meal was good here. So I guess it wasn't a total loss.

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