How the heck did we end up in Surrey and dining at Sushi Zen? Yes, really, how did this happen? Hey, not that it was weird or something, but we really had no reason to travel so far for some lunch. Well, call it another epic fail on my part as we were actually trying to visit Malaysia Hut and they were randomly closed when they should've been open. Note to self - call the restaurant first to make sure... Oh whatever, I love eating in Surrey anyways...
For some odd reason, I hadn't eaten Takoyaki in quite some time, even though I've been to many Japanese restaurants and Izakayas. Well, my love for balls, specifically octopus balls, influenced my dish selection. These were pretty good being served hot and fluffy. They were sauced just enough with tonkatsu sauce and sweet mayo topped by a good helping of bonito flakes. I tried to offer them to the kids, but they were mesmerized by the curling bonito flakes and decided to pass. Next, we had something that I usually avoid as much as #3 Road on a Saturday afternoon - the Philadelphia Roll. For me, cream cheese doesn't do well with sushi, but my daughter happens to love cream cheese as well as smoked salmon. I gave the roll a try and the first thing that struck me was the immense flavour emanating from the sushi rice. It was sweet, vinegary and strangely mildly salty. As much as that was wrong, I somehow didn't mind it because the texture of the rice was bang on being chewy while not too wet nor dry.
Naturally, for my son, we ordered the Prawn Tempura because he will eat almost anything fried ("almost"). These were plated nicely where each prawn was buttery and cold-water crunchy. They were cooked just enough with a thin layer of tempura batter. I wouldn't say it was super crispy, but it wasn't soggy either. I thought that there was probably a touch too much seasoning though. Our next specialty roll was the Las Vegas Roll which was impressively large. Inside, there was a massive amount of yam tempura which made the roll quite heavy. The tuna and salmon were a bit lost in the mass of yam as well as the amount sweet chili. They could've eased up on the sauce. It ate okay though as there were many textures and flavours at play.
Also for the kiddies, we got an order of the Chicken Don. When it arrived, it was obvious they didn't skimp on the chicken as we couldn't even see the rice. The chicken was aggressively torched which showed in the extensive charring on the top. That afforded a significant smokiness that actually went well with the rice and teriyaki sauce as it added depth of flavour. The chicken itself was sufficiently moist with somewhat fatty skin attached. I thought the rice was also on point with a chewy consistency aided by noticeable seasoning. Lastly, we had the Assorted Sashimi that featured Atlantic salmon, tuna, tako, hotate, hokkigai and mackerel. Nothing was amiss as the fish had a nice sheen and fresh taste. However, the pieces of tuna were not defrosted enough where it was hard and really cold. Despite being a backup plan of sorts, Sushi Zen did the trick for a reasonable price. Naturally, it wasn't super authentic, as well as some over-reliance on sauce. But it is okay for the neighbourhood.
- Fairly large portions
- Nice staff
- Too much sauce
- Somewhat too much seasoning as well