After coming back from a long 2 month trip abroad, I knew one of my first meals back had to be at a Japanese restaurant. I *DIED* not being able to have good sushi… and I’m not exaggerating. I had dreams of cute little salmon sashimi and sushi rolls floating around… this is, of course, coming from the girl that almost ate sushi everyday for lunch at school for 2 years :P Anyways, my point is, I was craving sushi for so long that my friends knew they HAD to take me out. (yay!) I had previously found a social shopper voucher for Sake Maki where we could order $30 worth of food for only $15! FitnessFreak bought 2 so we could combine it, to be shared between the 4 of us. Coming back from Europe required celebration and having some good ol’ Vancouver sushi was the perfect way to do it. By the time SushiGirl, LeggingLover, FitnessFreak, and I arrived at Sake Maki, we were all famished!
Armed with $60 worth of vouchers to use, we decided to go all out. At the time, they had a special going on where you could choose a Chef’s Special Roll, 2 appetizers from the selected list, and a salad for only $14.95. We thought this wasn’t a bad deal since a Chef’s Special Roll alone was $8.95 each. For our first special, we ordered the Spicy Girl Roll, Salmon Sashimi, and Spicy Salmon Sashimi.
The salad that they started us off with was nice, but definitely nothing special. There was cabbage with cucumbers and carrots, topped with a citrus sauce. Halfway through one of our salads, the waitress came over and just took it away without asking if we were done with it, despite it still being half full. However, she was apologetic and immediately gave us another bowl when we told her we weren’t finished with it.
The Spicy Girl Roll consisted of bacon, avocado, and cream cheese, topped with smoked salmon, tobiko, and a special spicy-mayo sauce. The roll in general was delicious. All the flavours worked perfectly together, especially the spicy-mayo sauce, which added an extra kick to the roll which we all enjoyed. However, it was hard to really taste the bacon in some pieces while it was more prominent in others, which showed inconsistency throughout the roll.
Both the Salmon Sashimi and the Spicy Salmon Sashimi were appetizer sizes, so they were considerably less in quantity than the full sized portions in the regular menu. With that in mind, the 4 slices of salmon sashimi only allowed us to each try a slice, and a thin one at that, so it wasn’t very memorable. The spicy salmon sashimi, on the other hand, was mixed with a spicy-mayo sauce that I assume was similar to the one found in the Spicy Girl Roll, but a lot spicer. This spicy salmon sashimi was really quite spicy, but not unpleasantly so.
Salmon sashimi is one of our favourite items to get at a sushi restaurant so one slice each was definitely not enough to satisfy our cravings. We went ahead and got a full order. :)
The Salmon Sashimi ($9.95 for full order) came with 8 slices. The slices were cut on the thinner side. They tasted nice and fatty, but definitely weren’t that fresh. They were probably of the farmed kind also. Nothing more to say here other than we got our salmon sashimi fix.
For our second special, we ordered the Viagra Roll, and 2 orders of Chicken Karaage.
The Viagra Roll was definitely an interesting roll. The name itself definitely helped push us to order it (LOL) but the ingredients on the menu looked delicious as well. Consisted of deep fried oysters, cucumber, and topped with salmon tempura, tobiko, and mayo, the roll gave way to a nice crunch with every bit. I really enjoyed how the crispy fried oyster juxtaposed with the moist and crunchy cucumbers in a way that almost compliments each other. The salmon tempura on top might be an overkill for fried stuff, but in my opinion it worked, bringing the crunch factor up another notch. My only concern here is that the roll wasn’t the best constructed roll I’ve ever had, sometimes falling apart just as I was picking them up with my chopsticks. But then again, it could be due to the nature of the ingredients. Overall, I’d say this roll is a must try!
The 2 orders of Chicken Karaage came with a decent portion and each piece was smaller sized than what I was used to, which was nice for sharing between more people. The karaage was not as crispy as I would’ve like, but the meat inside was moist, juicy, and flavourful. FitnessFreak mentioned that she had never tried this dish before and quite enjoyed it. This was a decent dish, but pales in comparison the the one I had here at Guu, which was better in all aspects in my opinion.
After our specials, we ordered some items from the Chef’s Recommendations page of the menu. We got an order of the Salmon Belly Tataki ($9.95) and the Avocado Toro with Yuzu Sauce ($11.95).
The Salmon Belly Tataki was simply a gorgeous dish. The tataki was really well done and the salmon belly was paired perfectly with the vinaigrette sauce. The citrus flavours of the sauce provides the perfect balance to the high fatty content of the salmon belly. Overall, this was another must try dish. We simply could not get enough of this!
The Avocado Toro with Yuzu Sauce was a nice dish. Again the citrus flavours of the yuzu sauce complimented the high fatty content of the toro perfectly. However, the toro wasn’t the best quality. It definitely tasted fatty, but it was not the buttery smooth, melt in your mouth type toro that I look for. Still, when paired with the avocado slice, the butteriness of the avocado mimicked the texture of what the toro should taste like. A creative and smart pairing in my opinion. Another concern was that it was quite difficult to pick up and keep the toro and avocado slice together. Each bit was a struggle to prevent either the toro or avocado slice from falling off.
By this point, the 4 of us were quite stuffed. Nevertheless, we couldn’t resist trying one of their desserts. As they say, a girl has a got a separate stomach for desserts ;) We ordered the Deep Fried Banana with Ice Cream ($5.95) which was on a special for only $4.95 that day.
The order came with 4 pieces, which was perfect for the 4 of us. We were curious to try this dish as it is commonly known as a tasty dessert in south east Asian countries, but seldom done by Japanese restaurants. In the end, this was a disappointment. The fried banana was not crispy like I imagined it would be. Instead, it was soft and extremely oily. To top it off, it was completely bland. The only redeeming quality to this dish was the scoop of vanilla ice cream, which gave some sweetness to an otherwise tasteless dish. Don’t waste your money here.
Overall, I’d recommend Sake Maki. The creativity in their Chef’s Special Rolls is what makes them really stand out. The prices might be a bit high for your average sushi joint, but the specialty rolls are a steal for what you get. I’d highly recommend ordering their special deal to try their specialty rolls and get 2 other appys; a great price point to try more items. The service needs some work though, but I’d come again. In general, I quite like fusion food, so if you are an authentic nut then you might not like Sake Maki.
Thanks for reading!