Isami Sushi – casual Japanese food done well

isami sushi - exterior A bit of disclaimer: these pictures do no justice to the quality of food served at this fine establishment. On Kingsway in front of Metrotown in Burnaby, there are about four billion Japanese restaurants that appear to be competing fiercely with each other on having the most generic sushi menu served in gut popping proportions, while charging prices that make you think

isami sushi - rice wine steamed mussels“hm, not bad for a boatload of fish, and the taste totally meets my expectations. I sure am getting great value out of this meal…yet its not AYCE… how is that possible?”
Meanwhile as you look over at the open kitchen and see an assembly line of young buckling sushi chefs rolling away like they were making doves out of clay, a lineup at the door extending to the sidewalk, and slowly it all begins to make sense.

isami sushi - beef tatakiisami sushiisami sushi - spider roll

Venture a bit further down, and you’ll find Isami Sushi, a quaint little place with a distinct Japanese feel, and the staff is actually Japanese.
In case you couldn’t tell, or just weren’t paying attention, the ratio of restaurants serving Japanese food to restaurants serving Japanese food owned by Japanese people in Vancouver has grown to 1024 to 1 this year. True fact.

Highly rated and low on the lineups, we gave Isami’s menu a spin with great pleasure.

We sampled a few of their sushi items, which were skillfully prepared, along with an appetizer of beef tataki and steamed mussels in some rice wine broth. Their dynamite roll was Dy-Na-Mite, and their spider roll had a huge crab leg sticking out and gave that roll more “spider” than it knows what to do with.

These guys don’t serve up big portions, but i figure its the opportunity cost in man hours used in rolling the goods that warrants the price of admission rather than the size of the generic frozen atlantic salmon being rolled.
The place is adequately staffed with a 4 person wait staff to take your order with attentiveness, and 2 senior looking sushi chefs at the helm. After 6 menu items, the bill came to less than $40, and we left full but not stuffed, and completely satisfied with the dining experience.
Food: 8.5/10
Ambience: 6/10
Crab Leg-to-Spider Roll Sushi Size Ratio: 1.5-1
Like sushi? Learn about this sacred food through the power of the intarnets:
All true. I swear it.

Isami Sushi on Urbanspoon

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  1. I remember not liking this place a few years ago for some reason, but since returning there a few months ago, I have to admit it is a good place! Way better than Sushi Garden too.

    • Vancouver Food Critic
    • April 30th, 2008

    I have been to many sushi places however Isami Sushi is definitely a place where everyone must go, you definitely get the vibe that everything they serve has quality and real Japanese acquired taste, I simply love it here, and I could tell the manager takes extra care especially when it comes to serving his sushi, absolutely wonderful.

  2. Hello nice to meet you.
    KO-N-NI-CHI-WA (^_^)v
    I am Japanese.
    I saw your wonderful site.
    Please link to this site !
    【Website】http://food-of-japan.blogspot.com/

    • Love Isami
    • September 24th, 2008

    I have been going to this restaurant for almost 10 years. Not only their sushi are delicious, but their spicy salmon donburi is to die for. I have been bringing family and friends from many places, and all of them have commended from time to time how they miss that dish.

  1. May 18th, 2009

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