Have you tried Midori lately? (Cgy)
Midori Japanese Cafe, 1054 17th Ave SW, Calgary. I've been going maybe twice a month for the last few years and have always been happy-- not overjoyed, but happy-- with their cheap and serviceable sushi and Korean. Then a few weeks ago they added some interesting "fusion" maki (think El's Japanese Fusion) which is, I've come to learn, a Korean spin on sushi that makes for some very complex and interestingly layered dishes. It's not traditional but most of it tastes really good.
Anyway, the first of these new rolls I sampled a couple weeks back is called a "goddess roll' if memory serves- it's avocado, tempura asparagus and a spring lettuce mix inside, topped with tempura bits and a wasabi mayo. FANTASTIC, beautifully presented, and a great deal at $8.95, practically a meal in itself.
Today I stop in for lunch and the entire menu is new. The walls are covered with pics of interesting new rolls. I order a bowl of miso soup and two rolls: a spicy tuna crunch, and a "hawaii roll" which comprises tempura shrimp, avocado, and mango.
Soup up first- it's fine; not remotely as rich and delicious as the miso soup at O Shima but decent enough.
Long-ish wait ensues but I hear much chopping and frying and i'm hopeful. Then come my rolls- each plated separately. The Hawaii roll is a sight to behold, and of course I forgot my phone today for pics. Turns out the whole roll is tempura'ed. It is in 6 mouth-filling pieces in a crescent around a pile of salad, which seems a little odd, but then I taste the salad. BEST JAPANESE SIDE SALAD I'VE EVER HAD. Dressing is nice creamy miso based and the salad has thin radish and shredded beet. Gorgeous and delicious, an absolute cut above what one usually sees at sushi bars and in bento boxes. The roll is fantastic; there is more than a touch of sweet here because the mango in the roll is in addition to mango mayo that is delicately squirted atop but I still enjoy every bit. This roll is $10.95.
Next is my spicy tuna crunch. It's on a long thin plate (think Globefish) , and, hmmm, this looks very much like a similar roll at both Blowfish and Sukiyaki house. Inside is tempura and cuke (avocado would work better IMO); outside is the tuna, a tiny slice of jalapeno, and the whole thing is enrobed with the lovely spicy mayo that I've always loved at Midori. This roll isn't quite as well made as the similar one at, say, Sukiyaki house, but at HALF the price (Midori's is just $6.50, which must make it the single best value for a giant special roll in town, maybe the whole country). It was very good- not as good as the Hawaiian but plenty good.
Lunch with ice water came to a hair under $20. I look forward to trying more of their rolls and maybe for the first time their nigiri, too.
Got the yam/avocado roll and the spicy tuna crunch for lunch today- here's a pic: http://media.shozu.com/cache/full/a61...
I also took the plunge and got nigiri for the first time (at Midori, I mean): two pieces of unagi at the not-exactly-cheap price of $2.70 each. But- excellent! Beautifully shaped, nice and warm, good-sized pieces of fish, and a very nice sauce that, I was informed, is house-made, so no Sysco teriyaki sauce for unagi here.
We were just at Midori this past Saturday with three kids in tow (apologies for the patrons that were there at the same time as we were). It's been a few months since we had gone to Midori due to the arrival of our newborn but prior to that, we were regulars there. The actual menu itself was unchanged when we had gone but I noticed that there were pictures of new rolls on the wall. I agree with you John - the sushi (and food in general) is very good but not top notch but you cannot beat Midori for value. Their rolls are solid, we love their tempura, and I'm a big fan of their vegetable bibimbap.