NOT related to the Burnaby Bentei Sushi, except for the name.
Ohhh the infamous Bentei Sushi, one of the few restaurants that scored less than 30% on Urbanspoon. Although I drive by all the time, I’ve never noticed it. Apparently there are two Bentei Sushis, the original one is near Holdom Skytrain station. The one we’re reviewing was sold off and changed owners three times. Not exactly a confidence builder… The only reason we’re going is to see if it really deserves 27%. Heads up, for the new Bentei Sushi, click here, but you might as well read this one first since you’re here.
The minute we stepped in, we were greeted by such a weak irasshaimase they might as well have not said anything. The restaurant itself was pretty dim, almost dungeon-like. Luckily we were given a window seat. Service was quick; we were immediately served traditional rice tea, or in this case, tea-coloured water.
Looking through the menu, nothing really stuck out. They had the usual like sunomono, spinich gomae, nigiri sushi, rolls, and the not-so-special special rolls. It’s now apparent they’re in business because they’re the only Japanese restaurant around…
Since there is no bacon on the menu, Bacon decided to skip out. With just the two of us, Specs and I opted for the two-person dinner, which had a nice variety. Two salads, two soups, two small udons, 4 piece chicken karaage, California roll, Dynamite roll, nigiri sushi, and tempura all for $25.95.
The salad came out first, and it looked delicious! Crisp lettuce, ample dressing, julienned beets; what more can you ask for! Specs and I really enjoyed the salad, though the dressing got a bit sweet near the end. Maybe Bentei Sushi changed for the better, or so we thought…
For the next three minutes, we were literally bombarded with food. If you want a more visual representation click our timeline at the end. But seriously, who brings out miso soup, udon, sushi, and sashimi at the same time. We honestly didn’t know where to start. If we ate the udon first, the sashimi will go bad. If we eat the sashimi first, the udon will get mushy. Ai yai yai.
The chicken karaage was garbage. I’ve never seen such small and shrunken chicken wings before. If you look closely, you can see the meat fibres. I’m surprised the meat wasn’t crispy.
The udon consisted of a clear MSG broth with pieces of veggies. It must be my good looks, because I got THREE small pieces of broccoli (Specs only got two) along with a leaflet of my favorite veggie, Shanghai Bok Choy! Surprisingly, the udon was still chewy, and all the vegetables still had some bite to it. I felt the best part of this dish were the vegetables. This is good or bad depending on the person.
The California roll was predictable and a bit on the salty side. If a Japanese restaurant can’t get the simplest roll right, how can they get more complicated dishes right. The Dynamite roll was just a grown-up version of the California roll with a prawn tempura. The prawn tempura was so mushy that it made no difference if they included it or not. In my opinion, the two rolls are too similar in taste. They should’ve subbed the Dynamite roll with a BC roll instead.
Like in the Dynamite roll, the tempura was quite mushy. However, hey tend to forget about the tempura sauce. It didn’t happen to us, but I heard other diners complain. It seems to be a common theme amongst their reviews. Either they are terribly forgetful or terribly cheap. You decide.
The nigiri sushi was oddly warm… Everything but the salmon tasted fishy. Like I always say, “If it’s fishy, it’s not fresh”. Also, unlike the rice in the rolls, the chefs managed to over-sweeten the rice for the nigiri. This made the sushi quite unpleasant.
Surprisingly, even with its horrid rating on UrbanSpoon, there was a steady flow of customers while we were there. Many ordered bento boxes. Perhaps we should try those next time… if there is a next time!