Locations: 116 2 Ave SW
10 Crowfoot Cir NW
I’ve been to both Sakana Grill locations, but usually the Crowfoot location is more convenient for me. Tonight was a special occasion as I had finished the last final exam of my undergrad. I can’t say that it will be the final exam of my entire university career as I plan on going to law school, but it’s still a good feeling. It feels odd that I’m graduating. It definitely doesn’t feel like it’s been four years.
I met my best friend, Julia (http://wallsandstalls.wordpress.com/) when I was in first year in an introductory English class, special topics: gaming and ideology, so fittingly, I have ended it with her for dinner this evening. My sister has also been a really important person in my life, so she came along too.
I’m not usually one for sushi, but I felt that it was something I wanted to have to celebrate this epic achievement. I remember the first time I got a job, I spent my entire paycheque treating my family here.
Normally when I go with my family we get the sushi boats because they are the best deals considering the amount my father and sister consume, but today we went primarily with appetizers and a couple of rolls. My sister suggested that we try the takoyaki because they were particularly good. I think that they weren’t any different from other restaurants that serve the dish except that at Sakana there are fish flakes…which just make me think of fish food and ironically, I’m not a huge fan of fish. Tonight’s special were squid legs. I have a personal weakness for squid/calamari so we decided to give it a try. I was in love. There wasn’t a ridiculous amount of batter on the squid and there was a sweet-spicy sauce that was drizzled on top making it absolutely delectable! Of course this dish is squid, so keep in mine my bias. The Red & Black Ninja Roll is a must have at Sakana. It has salmon, unagi (freshwater eel) over shrimp tempura, tobiko (flying fish roe), mayo, finished with sesame seeds and unagi sauce. This roll is the only one I’m willing to eat raw salmon on. The second roll we ordered for the evening was the Ocean Mountain Roll, Julia’s pick. Now, the other ironic thing is that I hate wasabi. It’s not that wasabi is spicy, well okay, it is if you eat a spoonful, but really, who does that if they’re not being dared to. But anyways, wasabi has this really weird plant-y taste that I can’t get used to. So, the Ocean Mountain Roll has salmon, avocado and ebi (sweet shrimp) over tempura yam, cucumber and mayo, finished with sweet wasabi and sweet spicy sauces and tobiko. Now I didn’t even know there was such thing as sweet wasabi so I was willing to try it. Sweet wasabi was true to its name. It was definitely not spicy and a spoonful of that stuff wouldn’t kill me, but the plant-y taste. Oh that disgusting plant-y taste killed me. Of course, my sister had to get her salmon and tuna sashimi because what is Japanese food without a couple slabs of raw fish. I won’t touch the stuff and I can’t tell the difference in textures of the meats, but then again I don’t care to put slimy raw stuff into my mouth. Another staple when going for sushi is tempura, especially if raw stuff doesn’t sit too well in your stomach. Of course, tempura, as I learned in my art history class did not originate from Japan, but was the result of contact with Portuguese traders during the Momoyama period (1573-1615).
For the first time, we also had dessert at Sakana. Okay, like we’ve all probably ordered a green tea ice cream, but tonight we ordered like a coconut surprise and a lava cake. Now I strongly suspect those aren’t made in the restaurant, but still yummy. I don’t care. . The lava cake, as my sister so expertly pointed out came with two scoops of ice cream. If I had known that we would have ordered not another ice cream dessert. The coconut surprise is like this giant egg shaped ice cream that had mango ice cream of the “yolk.” I got brain freeze. It was nice. I was tired and needed it anyways.
I would recommend the Crowfoot location over the downtown location because of lighting and atmosphere. It’s way more comfortable at the Crowfoot location than the darkly lit and kinda old looking downtown location. That being said, due to the dark and older appearance of the downtown location, it is a little bit more private for large parties.
For a Tuesday night, Sakana was pretty full. Every table had patrons. A good sign. I think.
All in all I would recommend this place for sushi, but I wouldn’t really suggest going with the yakisobas, they really aren’t that authentic. If you’re a big eater, get a boat. It will save you a lot of money.
Taking into consideration the price and quality of food, I would give this restaurant a 4/5
*Starred images: photo credit goes to Julia