Sherman's Food Adventures: Kumo Sukiyaki

Kumo Sukiyaki

Remember Posh?   It was the only AYCE sukiyaki spot (with several locations) in the Lower Mainland.  I didn't mind the place and in fact, was a very good value.  Was it truly authentic?  Well, let's not dwell on that because Vancouver is not exactly teeming with authentic Japanese food in general.  Now there is a new spot in Richmond where Toyotomi used to be (and a rice noodle place more recently).  It is rumoured this new restaurant, Kumo Sukiyaki, is run by the same people behind Shin Ka Gyuu.  Yes, there is some controversy over their business practices, but without actual experience on my part, I'm going to stay out of that and concentrate on the food and service.

So the AYCE is available in 3 levels (weekday/weekend) - Silver ($30.99/$32.99), Gold ($54.99/$56.99) and Black ($76.99/$78.99).  Silver gives you 3 meat options, Gold adds 2 Wagyu choices while Black adds 2 more Wagyu items as well as one slice of A5.  Unlike Chinese hot pot, Sukiyaki involves very little liquid in the hot cast iron pan/pot.  There is a mix of soy, sugar, sake and water.  There is a "setup service fee" of $17.99 (good if you have a big group, but not so much with 2 people), so consider this like paying for your broth at Chinese hot pot places.  It really should only be $5.00pp in my opinion.  Traditionally, we only see beef and pork options, but I've seen other meats included sometimes.  After quickly cooking the meat, dipping it into raw egg is the way to finish the sukiyaki experience.

We ended up with the Gold series menu that included the 3 meats in the Silver series menu (Pork Belly, Angus Beef Short Plate, AAA Boneless Chuck Flap) and 2 Wagyu choices (Wagyu Beef Striploin, Wagyu Beef Short Plate).  I thought the 2 extra Wagyu meats were well-worth it in my opinion.  We thought the Wagyu Beef Striploin was fantastic being meaty yet super tender.  With that being said, I can see most people being happy with the 3 Silver series menu choices as well.  They were also fatty enough and tender. 

There was also a small selection of Veggies that included cabbage, winter melon, crown daisy, tofu, shiitake, enoki, oyster mushroom, shimeji, radish, carrot and yam noodles.  They also have fish tofu, beef balls and sprouts on the menu, but they didn't include it in our bowl even though we asked for everything.  Furthermore, rice, udon and glass noodles are also included, but we didn't order any but the glass noodles (which we also didn't receive).

There was also some appies including Ebi Mayo, Takoyaki, Kimchi, Tako Wasabi and Seaweed Salad.  On the menu, 2 items were blanked out and I really thought a few more options would've been nice.  As for the things we did have, the tempura shrimp were decent but a bit greasy.  Takoyaki was a little shriveled but still decent.  Even though the tako wasabi was cooked, it was tasty and nicely textured.  The seaweed salad was standard while the kimchi was on the tangier side.

Onto dessert, we were surprised to find Chocolate Mini-Ice Cream bars (from Costco) that were quite good.  There was also Mochi Ice Cream (not sure where the mochi was though) and Fresh Pineapple.  Also, they offer unlimited drinks for $5.00pp (pop, juices and yakult).  With all things considered, I thought the pricing was fair for what we got.  Meat quality was good and the service was friendly despite the place being super busy.  If you do the Silver series menu, I consider it a good value especially if you eat a lot.  The free parking in the lot above is also a bonus as the area is not known to have a lot of street parking. I do feel the setup fee for $17.99 is unnecessary though.

The Good:
- Good meat quality
- Good service despite being busy
- Reasonable pricing

The Bad:
- They really need checklist ordering system to reduce the errors and for better efficiency
- Set up fee of $17.99 is a bit steep
- Need better exhaust system, the place was getting rather humid



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