Sushi Nara Hurrah
Update: Skipperloo has informed me that Sushi Na Ra is closed – something about not meeting lease terms. He tried to go on Sunday, February 28, 2010.
Update 2: We visited the location that was formerly Sushi Na Ra on May 27, 2010 ; it is now called Tomu Sushi. They have been open for 3 months, and are complete new owners. Tomu Sushi has less Korean dishes but the two that we did try did not leave us feeling overly thirsty or too poor. Will return.
Update 3: (October 2010) Tempura with sweet soy sauce as tempura sauce and the California sushi rolls was surprisingly good. The bento box lunch specials itself were okay, nothing too special. Disappointed that they took out the marks of a Korean restaurant: metal chopsticks and spoons in a box and opted for wooden takeout chopsticks instead. May return to try more of their sushi rolls.
When Lucy told us that there was a new Korean restaurant in town (Erb near Amos), it piqued my interest as she had mentioned “Korean BBQ”. Maybe this time it would actually have that option (instead of the restaurant in Kitchener which is called “Korean BBQ” but it doesn’t appear to have that option). We had the opportunity to go after church for lunch one day and it seems to offer some pretty authentic Korean dishes (and yes, even Korean BBQ). The fact that it was open on the day we visited is a pleasant surprise, since many small Korean restaurants are closed on Sundays.
347 Erb Street West
Date of visit: January 3, 2010
The name of the restaurant is slightly deceiving; they serve more than sushi. In fact, I would venture to say that their Korean dishes likely taste better than their sushi.
We think that this restaurant was the bakery that used to be in this place. They made an effort to renovate it into a Japanese-style restaurant – with some individual booth-style rooms, and an open concept sushi bar area. The unassuming exterior looks like a quick take-out place, with some enlarged photos posted on their windows and typography that doesn’t make it look authentic at all.
I’m not sure that I like the wood panelling decor, and if you look around, the green chairs look like they come from an old Canadian-style Chinese restaurant. Particularly if it’s a chilly day, I would avoid sitting in the rooms as the dividing walls are merely there for looks – the cold draft from the doorway just goes right to where you are sitting.
Regarding authenticity: they serve you complimentary tea and the water comes from a typical cooler that you see in many Korean restaurants. One sign that it is a Korean restaurant (instead of Japanese) are the flat metal chopsticks, which are very prevalent in Korea. It’s also a good sign when you see Korean customers walking in and sitting down to order (in Korean) as well!
Meal choice, food quality
Most of us ordered something different, which were under $10 each on average. I picked a dish I couldn’t pronounce (had rice vermicelli, beef brisket in a spicy broth which came with a bowl of Korean rice). I was slightly disappointed in the lack of meat, but the portions itself and the size of the side dishes (like the bean sprouts, potatoes and kimchi) and the salad that came with the order is quite filling. In addition, the food itself was quite tasty (not sure if it was MSG or just the portion that made me take a Sunday nap after). Lucy recommends the stone bowl bibimbap there, but we are in agreement that we probably don’t want to order the seafood house noodles again because we find the soup a little too thick (whether they actually used corn starch or not as a thickening agent is another matter). However, I must give them credit – that bowl had a lot of seafood. Also, it’s too bad that the enlarged poster on the exterior windows don’t match the actual seafood udon (different dish) at all.
The Korean style dynamite sushi rolls were tasty as they had some rice vinegar in the rice. They’re not too wide, so one could easily pick up a piece and eat it in one bite. Plus, the ratio of filling to rice seemed about proportionate.
Considering Korean food around here is mediocre on average (the best being Korean BBQ in Kitchener I would say), I think this deserves a second try – the price isn’t too steep, plus, I do want to try the Korean BBQ.