Originally C, dad and I were planning to try this fairly new sushi place, Sushi Mura, on Oak and 49th. Upon arrival at 630pm, the restaurant was pack and with lots of people waiting. It was a 30 min wait for a table of 4. Dad then suggested we eat at this place in Richmond that he recommends. (C: Disappointed… I’ve wanted to try Sushi Mura for a while now…I will try it eventually!!!)
I’m often quite skeptical of recommendations by my dad that are not Chinese food related. My dad raved about it saying it is really authentic Japanese restaurant and it is always packed. He went a few time and just ordered random things because the menu was in Japanese and he couldn’t read it. Not a lot of confidence, but heck WHY NOT? Sometimes it is hard to make a decision when there are so many dining options. I know, it is such a first world problem…
Kiyo Sushi indeed is more like a hole in the wall. (C: Not really, but it’s in an area of Richmond that we rarely frequent. It’s got some nice decor and a fairly big space so I wouldn’t reaaaally call it a hole in the wall!). I would’ve have missed it if my dad did not point it out and guide us there. It is actually right behind the Dairy Queen on Cambie Rd in Richmond. It is easily overlooked from the new, big Shoppers. Parking was an issue as the parking lot was full. It took C quite a while to find a parking spot in the tiny location. (C: Parking here was ridiculously difficult! Considering that only Shoppers and the restaurants were open, I don’t quite understand why the parking lot was so packed. The bright side is that the parking is free).
Upon arrival at 7, the restaurant was filled. The waitress, typical of the polite Japanese culture, apologized and asked us to wait a few minute by the sushi bar while waiting for a table that is leaving. We were given the menu to look at while we wait. I appreciate that as it helped me to decide what I would want to order once we are seated properly.
(C: Sorry about the blurry picture!)
There is a vast selection for a small restaurant like this one. There were 3 pages of specials in addition to their menu.
From reading yelp, this place is known for their cold food, esp the sashimi. We ordered the Goshoku Mori ($22) which includes 5 different kind of sashimi. It had 3pcs each of tuna, salmon and hamachi and 2 pieces each of the madai (Japanese red snapper) and amaebi (prawn). The quality of the sashimi is awesome! The fish literally melts in your mouth. None of those super frozen and rock hard sashimi. These are sweet and fresh! Dad and C loved it! I do think the quantity and quality do match up with the price. (C: The sashimi here is quite pricey, but the quality is not your run-of-the-mill ayce type of sashimi. There’s more flavour and freshness to the sashimi here, and the texture is smoother as well. The sashimi here isn’t the best I’ve had (can’t beat actually having sashimi in Japan!), but it’s quite good).
C also ordered the Kiyo Combo Sushi ($11.50) It has tuna, salmon, ebi, tobiko, California & Tekka roll. Love love love the quantity and quality. (C: The california rolls seemed pretty standard, but I enjoyed the nori and nigiri rolls. When it comes to nigiri, I look for fresh fish and the use of wasabi in between the rice and sashimi. Not many places do that, but Kiyo Sushi does! Another key differentiation between Kiyo Sushi and many other Japanese restaurants is that their sushi rice tastes quite vibrant. It’s fluffy, soft, sticky, and vinegar-y).
Chicken karrage ($6.50) is a must dish for C to order in a Japanese restaurant. We were a little disappointed with this dish. It appeared to be in the fryer for too long as the color was on the darker side. There wasn’t much seasoning to the chicken. Good thing was that the chiciekn was quite moist inside. I don’t recommend this dish again. (C: Fried stuff is not Kiyo Sushi’s forte – the chicken karaage tasted like regular fried chicken).
My must have dish is Croquette! The restaurant has a crab version ($7.95) of it and it was on their specials! It came in 3 small round pieces with a ponzu sauce. Inside the crispy and thin exterior is filled with more o a liquid or thickened white sauce. It reminds me of white, cream spaghetti sauce with bits of crabs, mushroom and corn used in Cantonese Cafe. I think the croquette tasted better on its won without the sauce. It is a so-so dish for me, Not a hit nor a miss. (C: The croquettes weren’t bad! It’s pretty different, and would have been acceptable if it weren’t so pricey).
Dad’s must have dish is the yam tempura. We ordered the appetizer size ($4.75) which has 4 pieces. These were light and crispy without the greasiness feel to it. We all approved this dish! Please do try out the tempura! (C: Tempura here is alright. Not exceptional, but not terrible either).
Just for curiosity sake, we also ordered the oden ($8) which has 7 kind of ingredients in a clear broth. It was interesting…at this point i was filled so I only had a bite of the dakon and the moochi. I’ll let C do the comment on this dish as he was the only one who ate it. (C: I actually quite like this one! It’s not a dish that is commonly found in Japanese restaurants here, as it takes more time and patience. It seems like a very homey dish, and I can totally see something like this being served at home in Japan. The soup broth was warm and hearty, something that I would imagine to be Japanese house-hold staple during winter. That blog on the side of the dish is horseradish, and that really adds a great kick to the Oden!)
We were all filled at this point but I forgot to order Onigiri ($3.50) which I wanted to try. It is a small triangular rice roll with filling inside and a crispy exterior. The waitress kindly told us it would take 10 min to prepare this dish and we gladly waited as we were filled. I was quite excited to see this dish in the restaurant. As you read, it is a simple dish that takes time to perfect hence not a lot of restaurant does it. It was definitely worth the wait! The crunchy rice and the soft rice inside was amazing! I do recommend this dish but be warned, after this, you probably won’t need to eat much after. It is carb overload with all that rice! (C: It took forever for them to get the origiri out, but that’s a testament to the amount of time and effort they put into slowly frying all the sides of the riceball. The rice was very crispy and none of it was burnt. Really yummy!)
The service as with authentic Japanese waitress/waiter was nothing but well-manner and courteous. We were given hot towels to wipe our hands and our teas were constantly filled. There were only 3 waitress/waitor for the entire restaurant and it might be hard at time to wave them down during busy hours but it was never a problem for us.
I was pleasantly surprise by my dad’s recommendation! The food was very good and I would indeed come back again! Kiyo sushi is more expensive than your average Japanese restaurant you’d find in Vancouver. The 3 of us we ate $67 worth of food after tax. I guess you do get what you pay for in terms of sashimi. I hope it kind of stay as a semi hidden secret!