Recently, my roommate told me she’s experienced a string of excellent service.  Wherever she goes, she encounters cheerful shopkeepers who make her day better.  Fortunately, I can say the same.  Both yesterday and today’s posts are on Japanese restaurants, and at each place I received exceptional customer service.  It was the kind that leaves you with a goofy smile on your face, which is then mirrored by everyone you pass.  People smile at smilers, it’s a fact.

Yesterday I grabbed dinner at Shikisai Sushi, located in the plaza at Garden City Road and Blundell – an easy bike ride from Brighouse Station.

When customers enter, they’re greeted by the entire staff, and the same thing happens when they exit.  My server didn’t have all of her ducks in a row, but she was sweet as honey and I really liked her.

The interior was small and tidy, with spiky dried blowfish hanging above the chef’s counter.  I first ordered a bowl of miso soup ($1.00) to warm up, then decided on a dynamite roll ($4.25), gomaae roll ($3.25), a smoked salmon nigiri ($1.75), and an inari nigiri ($1.25).  This restaurant doesn’t have extremely high ratings on Urbanspoon, so I figured I’d stick with the simpler things.  It’s very inexpensive and popular for takeout; many customers came in to pickup  dinner while I was there.

My soup came first, and as I looked at it, I realized I never give miso soup any credit.  It’s simple, healthy, and restorative, and settles into the most unusual cloud-like forms when left for a few minutes.  It was just what I needed to cut through last night’s chill.

The rolls and nigiri were decent, but not terribly remarkable.

The dynamite roll was filled with more rice than I would have liked,

but I did like the sweetness of the green gomaae roll, which had avocado and cucumber in addition to the spinach.

I’d never had a piece of smoked salmon nigiri before, and it was nice.  I am, and always will be, a big fan of smoked salmon.

As usual, I loved the sweet, toothsome inari.  I could eat an entire meal of these little rice-stuffed bean curd pillows.

The quality of the rice wasn’t stellar, which is what so often separates an OK piece of a sushi from a great one.  As I said, however, the people were lovely and it’s cheap – just the thing to grab for dinner if you’re tired on a weeknight.  Plus you’re likely to leave smiling!

And now, because November tends to be a busy month, here’s an event to put into your calendars now: The 2nd Annual Fishermen Helping Kids With Cancer Herring Sale.

When: Saturday November 24th, between 7am and 4pm (or until sold out!)

Where: 12740 Trites Road (the south end)  So where could you grab breakfast or lunch if you’re hungry?  The Fisherman’s Boot Cafe, of course!

How does it work?:  Bring cash to purchase 20lb bags of freshly-caught herring for only $10 (or customers can bring their own five gallon pails), with 100% of proceeds going directly to BC Children’s Hospital.

Last year, organizers set a fundraising goal of $25,000, and after fish sales and donations were tallied, they ended up raising a total of almost $60,000!  They decided to make it an annual event, and volunteers (including musicians) are lined up again this year to help make it a success.

Unsure of what to do with all those herring?  Me too!  But don’t worry, we’ll figure it out.  I have some pickled herring research in my future….


Shikisai Sushi

9040 Blundell Road, Richmond BC


Cash and cards accepted

Vegetarian (and vegan) options available