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Sunday, 11 March 2012

Tomoya Japanese Restaurant (友居酒屋)

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Last night, Rich and I paid a visit to Tomoya Japanese Restaurant in Burnaby – again because I had recently purchased two deal vouchers. Tomoya is a Japanese/Chinese BBQ fusion place, right next to Lao Shan Dong Homemade Noodle House at the corner of Nelson Ave and Kingsway. It’s a really unassuming restaurant that might be easily missed. There wasn’t even an exterior sign, with the word Tomoya slightly obscured by its front doors. We had two vouchers, one for its new BBQ selections and one for sushi. IMG_8275 copy

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The interior was bright and modern looking with comfortable red plush seats. As we were visiting on a Saturday evening at a prime dinner hour, it was very surprising to see that there were only two other tables occupied. In fact, I think there were more people working (just look at the picture!) in the kitchen/serving than customers the entire time we were there. Not a good sign…

In any case, it seemed that they had recently hired a new chef who specializes in Chinese BBQ. Thus, they pushed out a deal voucher a few weeks ago to get people to try a sampler selection. I had put off visiting them, because I wasn’t sure what else I wanted to try there. A few days ago, I came across another voucher that offered a sushi combination. So off we went to try Tomoya. :)
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For the BBQ skewers, we were served three each of lamb, chicken knee and pork ones. They asked if we wanted it spicy and I ordered it as medium spiciness. The first ones to arrive were the chicken knee skewers…all mine :) since Rich is a chicken-hater. I personally thought they were the best out of the three. The meat was quite tender and flavourful, while the cartilage part was chewy. It came with an adequate amount of cumin and pepper powder to give it an extra oomph! Too bad Rich missed out! ;)
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The other six skewers (3 pork and 3 lamb) came all at once. These were somewhat disappointing though…The lamb was definitely under-seasoned and only had the flavour of the sprinkled cumin/pepper powder. Rich ended up dipping the meat in soy sauce to make it more palatable. On the other hand, the pork seemed to be drowning in a sweet, teriyaki-like BBQ sauce that overpowered any pork taste.

Rich and I are not very big meat-eaters and these 9 skewers of meat really overwhelmed us. It’s a good thing that this combo came with a pop to wash it down. I had asked for Pepsi, but the waitress arrived with a glass of Sprite. Oh well, it’s been a while since I had Sprite last, so I let it go…
I finished my three chicken knee skewers and had a piece each of the pork and lamb and called it quits. I was pretty amazed that Rich managed to gulf down the rest of the meat.
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The combo also came with a meat-stuffed bun (肉夹馍). The filling consisted of roasted pork, green peppers and cilantro/green onion. I took one look at the cilantro pieces dispersed throughout the filling and passed the bun over to Rich. No thanks for me! Rich commented that although the meat was roasted until it’s tender, it was really bland… Once again, he pulled out the soy sauce and doused it with a generous hand. I tried a little bit of the bun at the end, and thought the chewy texture was quite pleasant.
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The sushi combination was started by the customary bowl of miso soup and green salad. Nothing special about either, as they are quite typical of most sushi places that serve bento boxes. In fact, the miso soup was quite lacking in ingredients, but oh well~
IMG_8225 copy We were also given a choice of three pieces of either tuna or salmon sashimi. Rich doesn’t like tuna very much, so we went for the salmon as usual. The three pieces were fairly large-sized and quite fresh tasting. It seemed like the sushi combo was going to be the better meal of the night.
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Next up was the star of the meal: the 8 pieces of one of their specialty rolls. These rolls are usually priced at ~$8 each, so with the combo being only $11.99 (tax included), this voucher turned out to be a pretty good deal. The roll that caught my eye the most on their menu was the blossom roll. It seemed to have a really pretty presentation. I was a bit disappointed when I received our portion though. As you can see from the picture above, the idea is good, but the execution is definitely lacking as it looked so messy. I think they would have done themselves a service if they had limited the wasabi/regular mayo drizzles on the rolls themselves and not smearing it all over the plate. I enjoyed the seaweed salad in the middle. The roll itself was also quite good, tasting much better than how it looks. It was essentially filled with avocado, tamago and salmon topped with a piece of smoked salmon. I think this was the best part of the entire meal.

The combo also came with a side of teriyaki chicken, almost as an afterthought or something… Again, this was mine to enjoy? :P It came as a few slices of chicken (with skin) drowned in ample quantities of teriyaki sauce on a bed of cabbage. It would have been nice if they had served a bit of rice with it as the teriyaki sauce was way too overwhelming to eat by itself. (aka way too sweet) Not that I would have had any appetite for rice…

Although the food quality wasn’t great, I must say that for $20 (tax included!), it was a great deal! Whether or not I will return is questionable though. Also, I didn’t realize that there was actually free parking next door in the parking lot. :P It would have been nice if there was some sort of sign or something to indicate parking availability. Not that we paid for our parking hehe~ (parked on the side street)
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The Yummies:
  • Decent special roll (at least the blossom roll)
  • We were served food really fast
  • Apparently free parking is available?

The Yuckies:
  • Mediocre service even though there were barely any customers and staff outnumbered customers          
  • Maybe they need to hire a new BBQ chef? Or learn to season the meat prior to BBQ’ing?
  • Presentation needs some work – sometimes less is more!

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Tomoya Japanese Restaurant 友居酒屋 on Urbanspoon


krispymilk said...

Hahaha you wrote the post right after I did! I guess we went within days of each other.
I kind of assumed it was one coupon per person, so I ended up having to eat 9 skewers... They should've warned us about the portion size.

Ying Yao said...

Ya! I was wondering how you finished 9 skewers of meat by urself! I had about 3.5 and called it quits~ I was happy that I had a different deal voucher to mix it up a bit... I can't imagine having 18 skewers of meat in front of us!

itzzzchloe said...

Went here with my filipino friends Very cheap for a good amount of traditional and fusion Japanese food. Sometimes the waitresses don't know what they're doing though.

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