Recently opened in the former location of the Prima Taste Singaporean restaurant in Vancouver, Junsei River serves many of the favorite items you can expect to find at a Vancouver Japanese restaurant. Items include sushi, Teriyaki, tempura, sashimi, salads, and cones. The restaurant is a-la-carte, and the portions are of decent size and reasonably priced. Vancouver has such a high standard of sushi restaurants, and I found Junsei River to be in keeping with most downtown sushi places.
Running a restaurant must be a tough business, especially the first few months after a restaurant has opened. The restaurant needs to establish a regular clientele, a good reputation, and impress their guests so that they will keep coming back. I think it is better to give a brand new restaurant some time and a chance to figure things out before pronouncing it “good” or “bad”; unfortunately some of the reviews that I read on the community review dining guide site www.dinehere.ca are a tad negative!
But never fear, my experience at the restaurant was a good one. We went on a Saturday afternoon after visiting the Vancouver Public Library book sale, and sat at one of the tables near the large windows. The restaurant has some very appetizing photos of their food on the wall, and these helped me decide on a few items.
I ordered an Ebi Sunomono salad – my favorite – ($3.25, pictured below), which is a cold vermicelli noodle salad in a sweet tangy vinegar and sugar broth, topped with some generous butterflied prawns. It was definitely up to snuff, but I could have enjoyed a bit more noodle in the salad.
I then tried the Cone Combo ($6.25, also pictured below) which included a spicy salmon cone, an imitation crab meat cone, and a tuna cone. The cones are stuffed with sushi rice and topped with seafood wrapped in the slightly salty nori (roasted seaweed). I ate them so quickly I don’t even remember what they were like – my only memory is a brief moment of pleasure while the seaweed stuck to my tongue, the cold and yummy seafood, followed by the satisfying sticky rice.
To finish off this light lunch, I enjoyed the 1/2 Kishu Roll ($5.00, also pictured below), which tasted fresh and had a great combination of crab meat, egg (tamago), fish cake, cucumber, salmon, Japanese pickle, and masago (smelt roe).
I love big sushi rolls filled with lots of interesting ingredients. There are very few foods that that can make me feel as healthy and satisfied as sushi. However, if I was being picky, I would have noted that the rolls were not entirely tightly packed with filling, with a few “air holes” in the sushi next to the edge of the roll. This minor mistake didn’t stand in my way of enjoying the sushi rolls.
The service was fine, and the restaurant was not very busy. I’ll give Junsei River another visit sometime, as their location is really convenient for me.
There is also another new Japanese restaurant across the street from the Telus building just one block away, and I’m going to try that one too! Can Vancouverites ever get tired of sushi?