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Sunday, 15 January 2012

Lunch at Takeya Sushi

In the west end of Richmond lies a humble and unassuming sushi restaurant, one that often goes unnoticed due to its location and modest appearance. While it may be average in appearance, it is nothing less than spectacular in food and service. Takeya has quickly become one of my favourite sushi restaurants in Richmond since I discovered it 2 years ago (the other being Sushi House) and I seriously regret not having found this gem of a restaurant earlier. Those of us who are familiar with the sushi scene in Richmond probably know about Ichiro Japanese Restaurant, one of the finest sushi restaurants in the Lower Mainland; you’ll be happy to hear that Takeya and Ichiro are shared by the same people. MMMM Sushi goodness!!

I hit up Takeya on a particularly hungry Tuesday afternoon around noon-ish so I could eat enough variety of food to blog about. I was really looking forward to it because I had just recently had a very disappointing sushi experience from another place and I needed to redeem myself. Walking in, I was greeted by the friendly staff and seated at a table. I was (I think) the first customer of the day for them as they open at 11 am, which is a good thing because I knew I would get what I wanted pretty fast. right away, You’ll notice that the place isn’t too big and can seat around 25 people comfortably in the dining area. The right side of the restaurant is separated for pick-up and to-go order line up. The decor on the wall is clean and simple with small picture frames hung on the wall. On the wall above the order desk they have their menu hanging, and it is a very large menu indeed. You truly come to appreciate the variety of food they offer once you pop open the menu on your table.  Alternatively, you can check it out online: http://takeyasushi.ca/  I didn’t waste time and placed my order right away before the lunch rush stomped in: spicy agedashi tofu, spicy tuna roll, unagi tempura roll, and vegetable croquette.

The food arrived all together which I didn’t mind at all. The server placed it all down infront of me, refilled my tea and left me to my meal. As always, the food was presented well and looked fresh. You can see how the garnishing on the tofu is neatly laid out ON the tofu and not in the sauce on the plate. You’ll also notice that the spicy tofu roll has the spicy sauce poured on the pieces themselves; typically you find the tuna pieces soaked in the spicy sauce themselves. Without further ado, I dug in! The tofu was crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside (I hate tough and dry tofu). I always eat my tofu first because I don’t like the outer crunchy layer becoming soggy. I found the spicy sauce just the right amount of spicy for my taste and I was glad it wasn’t too spicy as it sometimes is at other places. Spicy agedashi tofu > regulary tofu IMO. The veggie croquette was delicious. I love deep fried stuff, especially if its got potato and is crunchy. This vegetable croquette was both, with peas in the potato patty. That sauce you see there, was a little sweet and went well with the croquette while helping it cool down so my tongue didn’t burn. It was a nice complement of flavors. By this point, I was salivating looking at my beautiful rolls.

Oh unagi tempura roll, how I love thee. I am a sucker for these things and a sushi meal is often incomplete without unagi tempura rolls. Biting down on one of these bad boys, the freshness of the food became even more evident. The rice was room temperature (good) and separated easily and the seaweed was fresh; the unagi? was deeelicious! So yummy in my tummy. I loved it. Now the spicy tuna roll; I’m not big on tuna and when given the option I almost always opt for salmon, but the spicy tuna roll here has quite a reputation and apparently is one of the must-have rolls here. I had neglected to try it until today and I was a little apprehensive. Digging in, I am happy to say that any reserve I had about this roll was abolished. The pieces of tuna in this roll were pretty big and fresh and weren’t smelly or too chewy as I often find tuna rolls to be. The drizzled-on-the-roll spicy sauce was different but welcomed as the typicall soaked-in-sauce-tuna pieces overwhelm my taste buds and kill the flavor of the roll. I have to say, I was satisfied with this roll.

While I devoured my food, the place got extremely busy. I was there for about 30 minutes and when I came in there was no one else there but by the time I left, every seat was full and there was a line up of 5 people in the take-out line up. Its at a busy time like this that you notice you’re not being tended to as much as you should. After my second refill of tea, the server wasn’t able to tend to me and I ate about half my meal without any more tea. By this time they had two people serving and 1 person manning the order desk. Don’t know how many people were in the back obviously, as that part is separated from the public eye. When I was done, the server came over over and refilled my tea and asked if I wanted anything, but I was way too full. I was done.

Now, I’ve been to Takeya probably more times than I can count on my hands and I’ve tried a bunch of their rolls excluding anything with shrimp or meat. One of my favourite dishes here is the takoyaki. These delectable octopus balls are always hot and delicious here and I love the mayo/sauce that is drizzled on top. I didn’t get it this time because I wanted to try the croquette but I have ordered it every other time I’ve visited Takeya and I have never been disappointed. Granted, the piece of octopus can be a little hard to find in there, but the deliciousness of the dish trumps that shortcoming. My other recommended dishes here are: chopped scallop sushi, spicy salmon sashimi, mango california roll, and creamy salmon roll. I haven’t had many of their rice bowls because most of them have meat but I have had the unagi don (surprised?) and I like it. I’ve also ordered their party trays when having a get-together with friends and I haven’t been disappointed, except this one time when I ordered Party Tray E with 20 minutes left to go before they close. It seemed to be put together rather quickly, with the rice not holding together very well. Yes I realize that this is my own doing for rushing them with such a big order with only a few minutes to go so I wouldn’t count that experience haha.
All in all, Takeya is a small, friendly and local eatery; just the kind of place I love to eat at because these places provide a more personable experience and, in this case, also packs a flavorful punch.  If you're in the area or don't mind coming to Richmond, Takeya is definitely a must-try!

The Yummies:
- fresh and delicious!
- usually very good service
- average pricing of meals, $10-$15 will fill you up
- spicy tuna roll and takoyaki!
- food is served very fast

The Yuckies:
- feels crowded when packed, and packed around meal times
- closes at 8 pm, not late dinner-eater friendly
- staff feels limited at busier times

Takeya Sushi on Urbanspoon


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