the art of a skilled hand
Right now, Kaide is one of my favourite sushi spots in the downtown area. I just added Sea Monstr. My friends constantly ask me what I look for in GOOD sushi. Here in Vancouver there's GOOD sushi and then there's just sushi. I don't do just sushi. Scroll to the end for my Sushi 101. Read on otherwise.
Sea Monstr is a small resto in Gastown that shares a door with Sharks and Hammers. They also share an owner. The sister has been wanting to try it but I went without her. Too bad, so sad.
Sea Monstr exudes a cool vibe, one that lacks effort and one you expect from the likes of Gastown. It's an unembellished small space with surprisingly bright lighting. All the better to see the food my dear.
On the weekend I met an old friend for dinner and sake and surprise, really GOOD sushi. In spite of its youthful funky website, Sea Monstr serves my favourite type of sushi: classic, simple, and soulful. Just like Kaide. And although I liked the space better than Kaide, in the end, the latter still came out on top because its sunomono is easily better; Sea Monstr's was too edgy for my palate: dark, buckwheat-like noodles and too much cucumber and seaweed:
|Ebi & Tako Sunomono + Gomae|
Everything else we ate was true to form - classic and made with finesse. Here is round one of the sushi we ordered. We ordered an encore but I ate it before I could snap it.
|salmon, negitoro, chopped scallop, spicy tuna and monstr roll|
|saba sashimi + nigiri|
Breaking down good sushi from sushi may sound frivolous but too many people don't understand why I don't like the Sushi on Bloors, the Juno Sushis or the Sushi Bellas of Canada, I will try to explain. First, in my bubble, there are two kinds of sushi: classic and new age. I prefer classic which doesn't mean I don't like new age, but let's focus on one and not the other. There's also premium sushi places, but let's leave those out of the equation too. If you're curious those would be Ajisai, Toshi, and Minami/Miku - and yes, those three/four are my faves. Otherwise...
good sushi is...
- NOT big. I repeat BIGGER is NOT better. Futomaki is a whole other discussion.
- made with proper sushi rice (the su of sushi? well, it's vinegar)
- well-rolled. It is an art. Respect tradition.
- odourless and fresh. If it smells fishy walk away because fresh always tastes clean.
- cheap. Rule of thumb: negitoro max $3.50, individual nigiri avg $2.00That's it. That's all. I see people complain about "doll sized rolls". I refer these people to point 1. And now that I've broken down something that should never be broken down I can sleep in peace. So please stop telling me Samurai Sushi on Davie is good. I will throw up my hand, talk to it.