All-You-Can-Eat-Sushi Quest: Sushi Jet
Types of Sushi: nigiri, maki, hand rolls, pizza
Sashimi Options: butterfish, salmon, mackerel, surf clam, “crab”, red snapper
House Special Rolls Available: 9
Vegetarian Sushi Options: 9 rolls, 1 nigiri (+egg)
Tempura Options: shrimp, “yam”, eggplant, vegetable, mushroom, broccoli
Kitchen Selections: skewers, teriyaki, deep fried items, thai noodles, fried rice, sweet & sour, wok dishes, beef tataki, grilled & pan-fried meats, noodle soups
Dessert: daily ice cream
Winnipeg’s Sushi Jet has expanded to Halifax, bravely taking over that doomed corner on Hollis and Salter streets. Rumour has it they are already looking to open up a second location on on Spring Garden!
Scott Thompson, sales manager at the Fisherman’s Market, joined us on this occasion, imparting his industry knowledge to our eager ears while we satisfied our hungry bellies.
I arrived a few minutes early, and asked my server if I could start with a beer while I waited for everyone. I would have settled for anything, really – but she went to get me a drink menu. She dropped it off and I said, “Yes, thank you, I’ll have…” at which point I realized she was walking away from me! By the time she came back, everyone had arrived and I didn’t want the beer any more (she also didn’t ask). In general, we thought the service could be better. We also had to wait a long time for our food – so we were proactive with our ordering sheets, forwarding the next order as each course arrived – and sometimes walking across the dining room to hand deliver them.
But onto the food!
First up – an order of perfectly acceptable sashimi. The Fisherman’s Market is a supplier for Sushi Jet (and many other sushi restaurants in town), so Scott assured us of freshness and quality. I was surprised when he ordered some surimi, as fake crab is not something I typically look forward to eating. Apparently there are various grades of surimi, and the quality used is an indicator of overall quality. This surimi was fibrous rather than mushy, indicating a superior product.
Scott’s favourite type of sushi to order is the golden standard – nigiri. This way, one can evaluate both the fish and the rice. I personally felt that the fish/egg was too cold, and that it cooled down the rice – but nobody else thought this was a problem. I enjoyed my favourite – tomago, while Scott complimented the cut of the surf clam. We also ordered something called “Salmon Wasabi Cake” that had salmon and masago on top of a creamy wasabi sauce. This piece packed quite a punch, and was an enjoyable addition to the typical nigiri options. There was no tuna or unagi available, which was disappointing.
The maki rolls were quite good. There weren’t as many crazy fusion rolls – nothing was deep fried, fruit-laden or smothered with too much eel sauce or mayo. The rolls were simple, fresh and good. There may have been too much reliance on butterfish and tempura flakes, but I found the Spicy Salmon Roll to be properly proportioned. The Arctic Roll (not pictured), on the other hand, was a pillow of tempura flakes.
The spicy salmon sushi pizza was one of the better ones we’ve had. It came topped with crunchy tempura flakes and a drizzle of mayo.
We haven’t ordered a lot of noodle dishes on the quest – mainly because we want to try as much sushi as possible. Scott is a noodle guy, however, so he ordered a dish of pad thai. Unfortunately, the flavours in this dish reminded me more of ketchup or BBQ sauce – sweet and vinegary – and lacked the fine balance of sweet, salty, sour and hot that I would expect in a Thai dish.
The chicken skewers, or yakitori, were pleasantly plump, juicy chunks of dark meat. But not particularly flavourful. The chicken teriyaki was similarly portioned and flavoured. These were probably some of the better chicken dishes we’ve had on this journey. We also quite enjoyed Sushi Jet’s rendition on Green Onion Beef Rolls, which seemed to find the proper balance between the versions we tried at Genji and Mizu.
As for the deep fried stuff, the tempura was quite good but most of the other items were pretty standard. The scallops were strangely uniform, and looked exactly the same as the ones we ordered at Mizu. I figured they were just a processed product from a food manufacturer.
Scott just had a good chuckle before informing us that the “scallops” aren’t scallops at all. They are imitation scallops made from mystery white fish.
Similarly, the “black cod” on the menu (which was way too soft and sweet to be edible IMO) is not actually black cod, but basa. I’m getting pretty fed up with the mislabeling of food at sushi restaurants – just call it what it is, dammit!
Much thanks to Scott for coming along and enlightening us from the supplier side of things. There is such a curtain of mystery that separates the consumer from the source of their food, and asking your server does not guarantee accurate information. A good sushi restaurant should be transparent and knowledgeable about the foods they are serving – but you get what you pay for and this is AYCE.
Favourite Rolls: Salmon Avocado Roll, Spicy Salmon Roll, Pembina Roll
Other Favourites: Salmon Wasabi Cake, Green Onion & Beef Rolls, Nigiri/Sashimi, Sushi Pizza, Sweet Potato Tempura, Teriyaki Chicken and Yakitori
The Good: Overall Quality, Freshness
The Not-So-Good: Service, Limited Menu