3431 West Broadway
T: 604 738 5298
Brief Description: A funky and busy sushi hangout, where you will be tempted by a large and unique menu that focuses on innovative rolls. For the less adventurous, traditional sushi items are also available.
I am probably offending every Vancouverite out there (well, everyone that I’ve met anyway) by saying that I don’t really like sushi. I do like rolls but when it comes to sashimi and seaweed salads, well, quite frankly the fascination is lost on me. That is why you’ll probably be surprised to hear me say that I absolutely love the Eatery. It was one of my first sushi experiences when I arrived in Vancouver and I now continue to go back on a regular basis.
The interior is dark and a bit rough-around-the-edges, whilst quirky art adorns the walls. In the evenings they play loud dance music which, although makes conversation difficult, adds to the general chaotic vibe of the place. The Eatery is very popular amongst university students that live in the area, so in the evenings (particularly on weekends) expect to line-up to get a table. Once you are in though, service is generally pretty good but sometimes you might need to prompt to be remembered.
Take your time to make your food selection from the cartoon character-adorned menu – it is large enough to be a small novel! The usual sushi suspects are available; sashimi and nigiri and there are pages of rolls – some innovative, some more traditional but for the most part, delicious. Donburri bowls and curry dishes feature quite heavily, as do a variety of modern Japanese appetizers. In this case, think wings, gyoza, yaki soba, salads and tempura dishes.
Speaking of tempura dishes, you cannot visit the Eatery and not order the Tuna Tempura. Every time I take someone new to the Eatery I insist that they try this dish and every time they have been as impressed by it as I am. There is just something so incredible about the tender, juicy pieces of tuna that are perfectly deep-fried, yet not oily. The melt-in-your-mouth tuna pieces are drizzled with unagi sauce, mayo and served alongside a ponzu sauce. Quite simply, it is heavenly.
One of the hardest things about going to the Eatery is trying to decide from the extensive roll selection just which rolls you want to order. Honestly, there are so many to choose from. From the “Funky Creations” section of the menu you can choose from innovative (and some a tad unusual) rolls. All of them have funny or unusual names; “Electric Banana”, “Italian Stallion” or “Erotica Roll” are some of the stand-outs. Some of my favourite rolls are the Viva Las Vegas (crab, eel, avocado, cream cheese + spicy misonnaise -tempura style), The Volcano (tuna, scallops, salmon and avocado, tempura style on a lava bed of spicy crab meat) and the Tataki Attack (crab, scallop, avocado and mayo wrapped with seared albacore tuna).
For those who like their sushi less innovative, you can choose from the more traditional rolls, such as the “Unagi Roll” or “California Roll”, from the Sushi 101 section of the menu. These classic rolls are simple but still with the funky names and great taste. For the vegetarians, or perhaps for those that just don’t like seafood, there is a surprisingly wide selection of innovative vegetarian rolls. Your taste-buds can discover interesting flavour combination’s, such as “Panama Roll” (avocado and cream cheese, topped with tempura plantain banana and dragon sauce) or “Green Decadence” (tempura green onions, asparagus, avocado, balsamic vinegar and olive oil) – definitely not traditional sushi! If you are vegetarian, you will not be bored by the selection- you wouldn’t even miss the seafood…well…you may miss the Tuna Tempura!
If you just can’t narrow your choices down, make it easy and try one of the Combination Platters. This way you can try a few different choices. There is also a large and varied martini and cocktail list and, if you can fit it in, they even have Deep Fried Mars Bar on the dessert menu!
Final Thoughts: The Eatery is a fun, casual environment where you can try sushi that you’ve never even dreamed of. You will find it very hard to go back to regular sushi after visiting the Eatery!