Monday, May 9, 2011

Sen Zushi

Address: 940 Fort St.
Phone: (250) 385-4320
Price: $3-10 sushi roll
Notes: Great for dates, tourist friendly, gorgeous decor!


Sen Zushi is one of the most beautiful sushi restaurants I've seen in Victoria! The space is quite open, with sky lights bringing light into what would otherwise be a very dark space. Although the tables are close together, they are elegantly separated by floating pieces of fabric and screen-printed art hangings. 

I love the name - the switched letters that almost sound like you're drunk tickles the british part of my funny bone. Overall, the menu is probably one of the most 'authentic' and extensive in town. I'm not sure the value (bottom line bang for your buck) is there compared to other places, but when you want a lovely meal in a lovely decor this is your place!

May 9, 2011
Our waitress was very friendly and helpful! She even put up with the fact that my partner-in-food-and-life's politeness clashed with the politeness of Japanese culture -- it was cute to watch them argue about whether or not chopsticks that were dropped on the floor need replacing. She also helped us learn that 'temaki' (the cones) are okay to eat with your hand because 'te' means 'hand.'

She did seem to disappear at one point however this coincided with both a huge increase in the number of tables, the very tail end of our meal as well as the end of the Canucks vs. Predators game so we didn't mind. Especially since we needed the time to digest a little bit and make room for dessert!

May 9, 2011
I wish that I could just let the pictures speak for themselves this time around because I am so full I can't even speak. However, some of the photos are not so fabulous due to flash and poor lighting. So you will just have to put up with my attempts to capture the fabulous flavours and textures of this excellent meal!

Sushi was on the top of my "I need to review because I'm craving..." list for a while now, but when my oldest friend returned from a month in Japan craving sushi I accepted without reluctance.

Goma-ae Salad via

Normally I am not a fan of goma-ae. Peanuts are not a food that I enjoy, and often sesame and peanut taste similar. This one, however, was much more delicately flavoured. I only had a bite, however. I was stealing myself for the onslaught I knew was to come!

This isn't something I ever would have ordered had I not been with someone who knew what to order. This was 'tako' (octopus) 'yaki' (cooked on a grill) topped with this crazy topping, katsuobushi, that moves. It's kind of creepy, but in a really interesting way. It's dried fish flakes cut so thin, that the heat from the dish causes them to undulate. 

The 'yaki' were amazing! I was expecting a dense texture, but the closest thing I can come to is that it was like eating a puff pastry. So incredible! It almost collapsed in my mouth. They were described on the specials list as 'pancake balls' which is a good description. The piece of octopus in the centre offered a moment of resistance. I could eat those like popcorn! 

Snapper Carpaccio via

This wasn't my favourite, but it was still tasty! The texture was very lovely, and the spices of the carpaccio were exceptionally complex. A bit smokey on the fish and savoury sauce beneath. 

Tuna Sashimi via

The waitress asked if we wanted the small or large portion of sashimi. This was the large! $15 for 12 piece is pretty generous... the pieces were thin, but also long. This made them harder to eat. By the end I had to sadly smush a whole piece in my mouth instead of wasting it. I felt so guilty for wasting such delicious fish! (Tuna sashimi is hands down my absolute favourite food in the whole wide world.)

This was described as 'local' tuna. I'm not sure how much this is different than the tuna I usually have. It was pretty tasty, although I do think the pieces would have been tastier if they weren't quite so long.

This was my partner-in-food-and-life's choice. It was excellent! It was quite a bit like popcorn chicken or the very most lovely calamari you've ever had. Again with the eating like popcorn. 

Piano Scale Roll via

This was my friend's partner-in-food-and-life's choice. It was pretty amazing! "Cooked gourd" (?), cucumber and daikon (radish) sprouts topped with avocado. The overall combination was quite fabulous. Crunch and soft, mellow and spicy. Mmmmmm!

This was the companion to the above roll - tempura vegetables, pickled radish (!), pickled burdock (!!), and lettuce. Yum squared!

Spicy Tuna Roll via

This was a spi!cy! roll. I love it! Unlike most spicy tuna rolls which are mostly mayo that has been waived near to something spicy at some point this had avocado and a very slow-acting, smokey spice. The tuna was almost lost in it, however. It was very good, but not my most favourite spicy tuna roll in town. A close second, however!

We were so excited to see this on the specials menu! Apparently, it's a pretty 'regular' on the specials list lately... exciting! My friend had been talking of this magical "Japanese pizza" (sometimes also called a pancake) and I was nearly about to go on an expensive shopping trip to acquire the ingredients to make it from scratch with a very helpful step-by-step photo recipe. 

Sen Zushi to the rescue! My friend was saying that everywhere in Japan makes this dish a little bit differently, and this wasn't her favourite way, but I would argue it was still pretty interesting! I opted for the beef, but you could ask for it with pretty much any meat or veggie. It's topped with sweet barbecue sauce (sweet Tonkatsu) and mayo. It came with the weird moving fish flakes again, and was served on a hot plate. It was pretty huge, and for $11 it came with a miso soup and green salad and would have been almost a meal by itself! 

Dynamite Roll via

This was probably the most 'meh' of all the rolls, but it was ordered by the person at the table with the least enthusiasm for raw fish (we attempted to convert her! she pretended like we succeeded. she was very polite). It wasn't that it was bad, just nothing stood out flavour wise. 

Chicken Karaage Roll via

"Mmmmm... delicious! It's like a fried chicken roll"
"It's like a delicious chicken sandwich!"
"Is it JFC... japanese fried chicken?
"No, it's still KFC... karaage fried chicken."

I was so full at this point that I could barely open my mouth to put this in. This had just about everything in it - crab, roe, egg, smoked salmon, daikon sprouts, avocado all wrapped in cucumber. Holy moly! Unfortunately, I have an extreme distaste for smoked salmon and that's all I could taste. It was a very melt-in-your-mouth roll, however. I did note that!

Matcha Tiramisu via

Somehow, we managed to find a corner or two for some of this most fabulous dessert special! It was worth every part of the discomfort my over-full belly is feeling right now. Instead of espresso, they substituted matcha powder. The slightly-sweet green was very, very good! I would love to replicate this recipe some day. 

Coconut Surprise via

This is a regular on the dessert menu - coconut ice cream with mango ice cream inside. The middle is mango ice cream! Making it egg shaped would have been cute... coconut egg surprise... come on!

Sen Zushi on Urbanspoon


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