If I am not mistakened, there are almost as many Japanese restaurants than Chinese ones in the GVRD. Considering the difference in population, it seems like a strange phenomenon. At the same time, we all know that most Japanese restaurants are run by non-Japanese. One theory as to the enormous number of Japanese establishments is the perceived "healthier" cuisine and the fact it is easy to take out (for one or for many). Also and unfortunately, for those unauthentic spots, the need for trained chefs may not be necessary as well. So once again, I was in Newton visiting another one of the revolving (as in changing ownership and/or name) "Japanese" restaurants in the area.
I started with an order of the Appetizer Tempura and it was pretty massive in size. Either they were very generous or miscounted because there was 3 ebi rather than the 2 stated on the menu. I wasn't complaining as the tempura batter was really crispy and light. The ebi was buttery but slightly too soft for my liking. I appreciated the big slice of yam, yet it was a real chore to eat it. A smaller piece would've been more practical. For my main, I had the Chef's Special which included a choice of specialty roll, miso soup, 3 pcs of nigiri and 3 Fried Gyoza. These were crispy and again, not overly greasy. The filling was moist with a good mix of tender pork and cabbage.
Onto the main plate, I had the Nigiri, including salmon, tuna and ebi, first. I thought the sashimi was pretty good and especially the tuna as it had plenty of flavour. I would've liked more of it as the rice-to-fish ratio was a bit off. As for the sushi rice, it had a nice consistency with some chewiness, yet it was a bit salty rather than being unseasoned or seasoned with sugar/rice wine vinegar. The big purplish thing on the plate was the black rice Baked Salmon Roll. I found that there was a bit too much rice for the amount of ingredients (imitation crab and cucumber with seared salmon and hot sauce on top). With that being said, the rice was fine texturally and they didn't overdo it with the sauce.
On a separate visit, I tried the Ebi Mayo, which resembled the tempura except for the amount of batter. There was a significant amount which made each piece firmly crunchy while the ebi was meaty and natural-tasting. I wasn't a huge fan of the sweet tangy mayo as it resembled honey mustard. I also wasn't fond of the green salad garnish. It would've been better on its own. As part of my combo, I got the ever-standard California Roll which consisted of rice that was different than last time. It was not as salty and exhibited only a touch of seasoning. It was of a nice consistency though with a slightly dry chewiness.
For my main, I had the Chicken Teri-Don that featured chewy rice that was on the drier side. It was topped with well-charred pieces of chicken that wasn't exactly moist, yet not dry either. The teriyaki sauce was pretty typical being sweet, salty and slightly tangy. From the items I have tried at Aomori, most were decent considering the price point. Sure, it ain't the most authentic, but it is not offensive (as mentioned, hard to fine authentic Japanese anyways). I really enjoyed the warm service I received on both visits and that goes a long way in creating a good impression.
- Decent eats
- Friendly people
- Might offend those who want authenticity