8.08.2011

Sushi & Karaage @ Torarenbo Japanese Restaurant (虎連坊)

Another day of sushi eating.  This time we went to Torarenbo because it's a Sunday, and Sakura Sushi is closed.  There was a time in my life that I came here quite a bit because I was addicted to their udon soup.  But more on that later.


The decor around the bar tries to be quite Japanese I think, though it's not as cool and fancy as an izakaya.  I don't really love or hate it.  By the way, they love playing this food and travel show that takes place in Japan, but is produced by a Hong Kong station.


First up was the sushi combo ($10.50). I order this almost every time because I like how it has both udon and sushi.  Torarenbo is one of the restaurants that do not use prepackaged udons that sit on the shelf.  They probably use the frozen ones, which are really good (for me anyhow, I don't think I have tried fresh-made udon).  These ones are more springy to the bite and do not carry weird sour tastes.  The soup here is also really good with a strong dashi stock taste to it.


The sushi overall was okay.  The fish here was pretty fresh, though today's sushi rice didn't seem to be that good.  The rice parts pretty much fell apart when I put them in my mouth.  My favourite sushi out of the four was the tai (red snapper) nigiri.


We also ordered the karaage combo ($8.50), which came with tempura, rice, and a few pieces of rolls.


Their karaage is pretty good by my standards, without too much flour.  The chicken is always in sizes that I like -- not too big and not too small.  They also have some ginger flavour to it, which reminds me of Chinese style fried chicken.  They are a bit on the oily side though.  In comparison to Kamei Royale's, this one does not have much of a crunchy exterior.  They're both quite different, yet I like them both.


Both combos came with assorted tempura, with two shrimp tempura, one yam, and one carrot tempura.  the yam one was quite oily, but I was quite full by the time I got to it.  I didn't really care for the carrot one.  The shrimp tempura weren't the best I have tasted, since the shrimp wasn't entirely fresh.  They didn't have that much "crunch" to them as I would have liked.

I used to like Torarenbo a lot, so it's a bit sad for me to see that the quality of the food has gone down a bit.  The udon is still good, though I did find another place in Richmond that does the soup really well (I'm not telling you where, you'll have to wait and see!)  I still really like the chicken karaage here though, even though its not the crispy kind like Kamei Royale.

Torarenbo Japanese Restaurant
8191 Park Rd
Richmond, BC
(604) 214-1402
Torarenbo Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon


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8 comments :

Be careful! The curb here is dangerous, apparently it's popped a few tires. Michah's tire included!

I came here once and had to wait an hour! Food was pretty good, but I never came back again...

@hipster: what! which corner? I hate their little parking area, whenever I park there my car feels unsafe.

@krispy: wow an hour?! for dinner? I came here for dinner once and the wait was pretty long too. Prices were almost izakaya level, not worth it imo. I'd rather go to Guu Richmond and not have such a long wait and better ambiance.

If you choose to venture out of Richmond (believe me, there are places beyond those three bridges!!!! :P ), here are some places where you might want to consider:

Takarabune (Victoria Drive near 49th Ave)
Tenhachi (12th Ave, near Oak Street)

Keep in mind, if you choose to go, Tenhachi specializes in yoshoku (i.e., "Western dishes that have been "Japanized"). So, while they do have sushi in the mean and just because they are Japanese, does not necessarily mean you should order them! But, based on my dining companions, their nabeyaki udon is good.

I went to this place when it first opened, and remember it was okay, but not spectacular. I've been meaning to go back to do a review, but haven't gotten around to it.

@KimHo: Thanks for the suggestions! I'm pretty bad at going into areas of Vancouver that I'm not familiar with because I feel so unmotivated. Going to Burnaby or downtown core is a bit better because I can shop after.. haha! But I will try to check those places out :)

@Peter: I think many people commented that it wasn't as good as it used to be. I definitely noticed the rice wasn't up to par, though it just might be me being picky since I actually put some effort into thinking about how to describe what I eat ever since blogging! haha

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