Emme and I took the opportunity to visit Whistler the other day when the sun had actually come out – to take a breather from the city and to take advantage of the day being beautiful. (This is “Beautiful BC”, but clearly Vancouver is confused over what season or month it is. (Dear Vancouver… The season that comes after spring is, um, summer. Not winter again. Please adjust the weather accordingly…) Ahem.) I actually wanted to visit Araxi, but seeing as it’s closed for lunch, we opted to try out Sushi Village instead.
So let’s get a couple things straight off the bat. This place isn’t what I’d call “authentic” in that there are some “innovative” rolls on the menu, but it’s got traditional dishes aplenty, too. Also, the waitresses and waiters are not Japanese, which does kind of take away from the experience a little bit, but the chefs are and the little history blurb on the website will tell you that the owners and/or manager are as well. No, I’ve no reservations about being a sushi snob; it does matter to me whether the chefs are trained in Japan or something close to that… especially considering the prices some places charge, like at Sushi Village.
So ambiance is not bad – there seem to be a couple of more traditional seating areas in the back of the restaurant, which I imagine you need a reservation for (or a large group…) – but nothing particularly special. The seating area is nice and bright thanks to the windows. The whole area in front of the stairs up to the restaurant was being torn up for some reason when we were there, which was clearly impacting the number of people going up to visit the Sushi Village and the other restaurant that are up above the ground-level shops. As a result it wasn’t very busy, but that’s fine by me; the only thing to be said here is that “busy-ness” wasn’t a good reflection of food quality.
Yes, the food. As I mentioned before, the prices are incredibly high – bordering on outrageous. So I was pretty sceptical after ordering that my meal would be worthy of its price tag. While I won’t say that the prices are justified, the food was g.r.e.a.t for the most part. I got a half order of Sockeye Salmon Sashimi, which definitely would be ranked amongst some of the best sashimi I’ve had in Vancouver. I had some Miso Soup on the side, which was nothing more than your average, run-of-the-mill miso soup. For the slightly higher price (than average in Vancouver), you’d think they could have at least tossed in some wakame… Nope! So it was nothing special. Not particularly flavourful, not noticeably bad.
I ordered some sushi on the side… Only a couple of pieces, because I was so deterred by the pricey-ness (yeah I’m still going on about that…). Anyway, the Ikura Nigiri was lovely – loved the crunchiness and slightly saltiness of the roe, and for some reason even the nori was tastier than normal. The Hotate Nigiri might be the best I’ve ever had. Super melty, subtly sweet, perfect. The Ebi Nigiri was equally great. Everything was presented beautifully, too. Two thumbs up for both the sashimi and the sushi here.
Emme ordered the Beef Tataki… the catch here being that she didn’t seem to catch the word “rare” in the description for the dish. (Maybe it just got lost in the ‘fancy’ description of the dish, ahah.) Anyway, she was pretty shocked when it was served. Emme doesn’t like anything raw, really – the reason I always eat all the sashimi and sushi we order by myself. Nevertheless, she tried it, saying “There’s a first for everything…” And indeed, there is. She thought it was great! Her comment that it was quite obviously very high quality beef. It was cut well and matched the accompanying ponzu sauce wonderfully. The negi (green onions) were a great complement, as well. So, looks like Sushi Village doesn’t just do raw fish well… All the raw dishes we tried get our approval.
Emme also started with some Edamame beforehand. If anything, these were the biggest disappointment. True, this dish is so simple that you would argue it’s impossible to mess up. Honestly, I think restaurants should get in the habit of asking whether customers want them hot or cold, since they are traditionally served either way. Just so happens that Sushi Village serves them cold, and Emme prefersedamame when it’s hot. Also, there was hardly any salt – close to none at all. Could use some improvement on the basic dishes, here.
As for the service – it wasn’t bad. I think our waiter found it odd that I ate my nigiri with my bare hands. Argh come on! You’re allowed to eat nigiri-zushi with your fingers, people. ): (Yes, of course I ate my sashimi with chopsticks, thank you very much.) Anyway, our waiter wasn’t particularly attentive, which was the only thing I could complain about. Sometimes it was hard to grab any waiting room staff-member’s attention, but it wasn’t that noticeable. Could’ve been better, considering that the restaurant was hardly what I’d call busy.
If you’re in Whistler and just looking for cheap sushi to stuff yourself with, look elsewhere. But if you’re in the area and looking for truly high-quality sushi, then this is the place for you… even if your wallet feels quite a bit lighter afterwards.