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Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Lunching @ Mazuya Sushi - Nabs' favourite


I finally had the opportunity to pay Mazuya Sushi a visit after probably a year of not being able to and finding it closed on 3 separate occasions during my vacation from here.  Yea, its like it just was not meant to be.  But today I set out to set my own fate, and with the company of Peanut Butter, there was not much that could have gotten in the way of us eating here.

Mazuya is my favourite sushi restaurant in Vancouver and has been for about 2 years now.  I first came across this place in the summer of 2009 when I was working full time in the area and I used to eat here at least 3 days a week.  It got to the point where they would know who was calling and I would just say that I’ll be there in 15 minutes and they would have my favourite order ready by the time I arrived on my lunch break!  Man, those were the days!  But in those days, I was a student and I was only able to enjoy the standard rolls.  On this visit, I dared to spend more and try some of their specialty rolls.
Nestled among a number of quick eat places along a busy corridor on Burrard street near 8th avenue, Mazuya can be hard to spot if you’re not paying attention.  It is a small and cozy sushi spot run by 2 or 3 people who are always there during business hours.  The place can fill up fast and become really busy during lunch hours because it is situated in a business area and most people get lunch breaks at around the same time so choose your visiting hours wisely.  As you can imagine, finding free parking can be difficult in this area; I recommend looking for parking on 7th or 8th Ave just before they intersect with Burrard.
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You can see the specialty rolls that accompany their usual rolls in the photo above.  Honestly, these are REALLY good.  If you can get over the price (some days I can’t) you will definitely enjoy these.  My personal favourite are the Philly Roll and Mango Roll.  Something tells me that I would probably love the Pink Lady but I haven’t had the chance to try it yet =(.  Anyhow, their menu consists of the usual appies, sashimi, rolls, and combo platters too.  You can choose to substitute in brown rice, which I really like, for $1.XX more and now they also have purple rice!

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Something that’s unique about this place is the comment board you see Peanut Butter sitting beside.  All of these comments are extremely positive haha.  I’ve left comments on here as well.

That’s enough tangenting.  Now down to the meat of the post.  We were the first ones to enter since we arrived a minute after they opened so we got served pretty quick.  Just to note, within 30 mins the place was almost full.  The meal began with promptly delivered green tea.  Today’s green tea tasted off.  I think it wasn’t brewed long enough.  I know we were the first people in but the tea should be ready in time for opening =S.  This was about the only thing I didn’t like though.
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Next to arrive were the spicy agedashi tofu and gyoza.  You probably know by know that I like spicy agedashi tofu better than plain agedashi tofu.  It all started here folks!  The spicy agedashi tofu here is probably among the better I’ve had.  The outside is crunchy and the tofu inside it soft and moist.  The spicy sauce could be spicier but hey its still good.  The sizes of the pieces are just right.  Not too big but not too small either.  I like.  The gyoza, I can’t have so I didn’t eat.  Peanut Butter said the gyoza was hot and fresh but nothing out of the ordinary.  An average affair.


Next, our rolls started to roll on in.  Peanut Butter was craving the Happy Veggie roll, one of their specialty rolls, so that was a given.  This roll is stuffed with yam tempura and asparagus and topped with slices of avocado and sprinkled with sesame seeds.  Peanut Butter really likes this roll but its too veggie for me.  That’s not to say its bad though; this roll is actually pretty good.  The yam tempura was fresh and crunchy and the sesame seeds added an extra crunch to the crunchy tempura already present in the roll all of which is balanced quite well by the soft and chewy rice and avocado.  For a veggie roll, this one is one of the better ones I’ve had.


The other roll we got with the Happy Veggie was my must-have Unagi Tempura Roll.  I usually get this with brown rice and that is what I ordered but they must have misunderstood and brought it to me with purple rice.  I was a little heart broken at this because the unagi tempura roll with brown rice here is only best described as a gastronimic euphoria for my taste buds.  It really is my ultimate roll.  Dang.  This disappointment kind of took away from enjoying this roll but I salvaged what I could.  Ok I know I’m being overly dramatic haha.  The purple rice wasn’t bad but I’d rather have this roll with white rice if not brown rice.  The unagi tempura though, was really fresh and really delicious!  Yummeh in ma tummeh!  All in all, it was less enjoyable than I know it to be, but satisfied nonetheless.


This was easily the best part of the meal for me.  I am a sucker for mango and california rolls.  True, this mixture can often be miss rather than a hit, but here the Mango roll has always been a hit for me.  I don’t always get this roll because I can easily get two standard rolls for the same price more or less but today I was out to spoil my senses.  I don’t have too much to say about this except that I really enjoyed every piece.  The filling in the roll was fresh and the mango slices were really good too.  And yes that’s mango puree you see topping the rolls!!  Oh yea.  Peanut Butter agreed that this roll was good too.  She went on to say she doesn’t usually like mango/cali rolls but she did like this one, which mean its really good.   And she is a picky eater.  That’s all I have to say.  I’ll let the photo do the talking now.

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Peanut Butter managed to drop the mango slices off one of the rolls and both of us expressed genuine remorse at the waste of a vital ingredient to the mixture that results in gastronomic euphoria.  =(.  Sadder moments are rarely witnessed.  =( =(
Lastly, we got our yam tempura order.  The reason we got it last was because they accidentally prepared veggie tempura for us initially.  When the yam tempura arrived, Peanut Butter and I were both really really full and couldn’t eat most of this dish.  And because we were so full, we didn’t really enjoy the deep fried goodness of this dish either.  Too heavy after all that rice.  I also didn’t want to wash away the mangoey after taste of the last dish.  This dish was a fail.

One of the reasons I’m such a big fan of this place is that the food is great and so is the service.  The two people who run the show here are both really nice and it shows that they care about our experience and food.  And hey, they’ve known me so well in the past, how can I not like them?? 

Mazuya can seat about 15-18 people at most and as you can imagine, that can be a lot for one chef and one or two servers to handle.  So if you go at peak hours you will see a harried server and may experience long wait times.  This just speaks to the fact that the food here is good.  For the best experience, I’d suggest you go at lower volume times.  Go just when they open or after the lunch rush around 3 pm.
I’m going to close this post by saying that no amount of written description or photos do justice to the delicious food here.  Go and taste this stuff for yourself!  I’ve recommended this place to lots of people and not a single person has be disappointed.

The Yummies:
- really, really good food
- friendly service
- appealing ambience
- usually a good view when construction isn't the way
- Mango Roll is a MUST have

The Yuckies:
- parking can be a challenge
- very busy during lunch hours

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