Review: All-You-Can-Eat at Ninkazu Sushi

by gigi on June 8, 2009

It was James’ birthday a few weeks ago and he wanted to celebrate by going to an all-you-can-eat sushi place. I had never been to Ninkazu before, but had heard it was owned by the same people as Tomokazu, so I suggested to James that we check it out. It had been quite a while since my last foray into all-you-can-eat sushi and it’s always more fun with a group so I was quite looking forward to it. Ninkazu is located in a small plaza between Aberdeen Centre and Parker Place in Richmond.


First, we started with a large plate of fresh oysters. I love fresh oysters and although Ninkazu’s isn’t the best, I was able to eat as many as I wanted to I suppose I couldn’t really complain. James and I finished most of this off quickly and ordered another plate so the others could have some too. :)


I liked how Ninkazu had quite an extensive sashimi selection in their menu. We ordered a bit of almost everything that was available, including salmon, tuna, toro, octopus, and hokkigai clams. Again, not the best I’ve had, but not bad for all-you-can-eat and due to the high turnover at the restaurant, was very fresh.


We also tried the spicy salmon and spicy tuna, which was basically salmon and tuna sashimi drizzled with a slightly sweet and spicy sauce. I like it when the spicy sauce has a hint of sweetness to it, rather than the slightly tangy taste found in Tabasco sauce, so I quite enjoyed this dish.


I also liked the Korean-style salmon sashimi. The fatty salmon belly was used here and drizzled with the sweet sauce used to marinade meats in Korean BBQs. I liked the fattiness of the salmon here as well as the sweet and slightly salty sauce.


To get our vegetable quotient in, we ordered some gomaae. I like eating spinach like this and I think I’ll have to try and find the recipe so I can make it on my own.


We also ordered some green salad, which came with a carroty and vinegary dressing. I felt that they were a bit heavy handed with the rice vinegar so the salad was too acidic for my liking.


The selection of nigiri sushi was also quite extensive. I wasn’t too wild about the sharkfin nor abalone nigiri but did enjoy the amaebi (sweet prawn) and hamachi. I appreciated that even though it was all-you-can-eat, Ninkazu did not overload the nigiri with too much rice and kept each piece relatively small so we could try a variety of items.


Even though I know cones are not a strategic item to choose at places like this due to the fact that they are so filling, I like eating cones so much that I always order them anyway. The negitoro cone had a lot of tuna and just the right amount of chives. The tuna reached all the way to the bottom of the cone and the seaweed was nice and crunchy, which I really enjoyed.


The gyoza and teriyaki chicken fairly standard. I would have liked the teriyaki chicken to be crispier on the outside though.


I did not like the oyster motoyaki at all though. They came served in little tart cups, which I think is much more hygenic than the (likely reused) oyster shells. However, I found the motoyaki sauce to be too oily and hardly any oyster pieces inside.


The grilled saba and salmon was done quite well. I suspect this would have gone nicely with a bowl of steamed rice.


You have the option of ordering only prawn tempura, as opposed to the other veggie-based tempura at some other establishments. I found the prawns to be over-battered and too floury tasting though.


The fried squid and smelt was soggy and not very tasty. I wasn’t sure if it was over-fried or just sitting out for too long but I definitely would not order this again.


The agadashi tofu was passable but I found the sauce a bit on the sweet side.


Finally, we had almost eaten as much as we possibly could so it was time for dessert. We started off with a plate of orange slices. Jenkins always comments that Tomokazu has very sweet oranges and Ninkazu turned out to be the same.


We had the oranges first because next up was mango pudding. We figured that the mango pudding would be so sweet that the oranges would taste sour if we saved them for the very end and this turned out to be the right assumption. The mango pudding did not have too much mango taste to it though.


As far as all-you-can-eat sushi goes, Ninkazu really is not too bad. Of course, you do take a hit on quality when you decide to go and do all-you-can-eat but Ninkazu does have quite a high turnover rate and most of its items are quite fresh. However, I do feel that I’ve reached a point in my life where I’d rather eat less at a nicer Japanese place than to stuff myself silly at an all-you-can-eat place. :) During weekends, the all-you-can-eat at Ninkazu is $22.95 per person.

4231 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond
Tel: 604-279-9077

Food: [rating:3]
Service: [rating:2.5]
Price: $$

Ninkazu Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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