From a culinary standpoint, Winnipeg has experienced an influx of sushi restaurants popping up all over the city in the past few years. Some of my favourite places include Sushi Cushi, Hanabi and Blufish.
After a friend of mine on Instragram shared a mouthwatering photo from Tokyo Sushi, I couldn't help but head down to St. James to see what all the fuss was about.
We went to Tokyo Sushi on a quiet Sunday night. They had plenty of parking available in front, behind the restaurant and on the residential street beside it.
The restaurant doesn't look like much from outside, but you'll be delightfully surprised upon entry. Faux greenery covers the floors on both sides of the walkway, with a custom wooden arch acting secondary as a door.
The restaurant in itself has a very oriental feel, which is more traditional than most sushi places I've been to. The walls are covered in a muted red paint, with plants propped up on most countertops and ledges. Lanterns adorn the ceiling and shine light on the otherwise dim atmosphere. There's also a beautiful sakura tree and miniature lit house in the middle of the restaurant.
There are about a dozen tables in the restaurant, and the waitress seated us by the window looking out onto Portage Ave. She was dressed in a kimono, which added another touch of oriental authenticity.
I started off my order with a sushi pizza ($7.95) - an unconventional item I order at all Japanese restaurants, if it's available on the menu. Generally, a sushi pizza is made up of different raw fish drizzled in teriyaki sauce and (sometimes) mayo, atop a deep-fried rice patty.
I requested a vegetarian version of the dish, which was instead topped with tomatoes, avocado and apple. The tomato was juicy and the apples were sweet, if not tasteless. The rice patty was a little overcooked, making it hard and chewy on the bottom of it. Not the best I've had, but not the worst either.
Our main order included the avocado roll ($2.95), spicy vege roll ($4.45), b.c. roll ($4.45), teriyaki chicken ($4.45), bagel roll ($4.45) and vegetarian caterpillar roll ($8.95).
The rolls were average in size, except for the massive avocado pieces. The sauces were tasty and the spicy sauce on the vege roll was the perfect blend of spicy and sweet. Their chicken teriyaki roll, which is traditionally made with breaded chicken, was instead cooked with chicken covered in tempura batter. It was an interesting alternative to the normally thin coating.
The only concern was overly chewy seaweed, making the sushi rolls a bit harder to swallow.
Tokyo Sushi has great presentation skills, both in the plating and atmosphere. Their sushi is slightly above average, and their service is nothing out of the ordinary. Nonetheless, it's worth the trip to admire the decor, and perhaps try out one of the popular specialty rolls.