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Just last week, however, Sushi Garden finally opened up shop at 4269 Lougheed Highway. We dropped in for a quick weekday meal and were surprised to see it already packed, with a small lineup for take out, and a small lineup in the waiting area as well.
Being tired from a workday, we pondered the menu for a while before succuming to weariness and deciding on the basics: california roll, chopped scallop roll, dynamite roll, a tuna & salmon sashimi, and mentaiko udon.
The food arrived nearly all at once; it made photography a little tricky as I couldn't move it around as much, and, combined with the flimsy / light tables, we nearly shocked a neighbouring table with a shower of hot tea.
The rolls were all good, although even M was careful to note that he wished the sushi chef who had made the dynamite roll had made the california roll and the scallop roll as well. But, it was Sushi Garden! At the prices they were charging, it was reasonable and went down well.
The sashimi was just ok. We were tempted by the large assorted sashimi platter that the couple next to us were having - on a side note, the guy looked a little like Edlau. Was it? I didn't want to stare, so I didn't get a good look. Anyways, we would not order the tuna & salmon sashimi again.
The mentaiko udon was good, with briny cod roe notes and hints of dairy / butter as well. I'm thinking that they soaked the salted cod roe in milk to rid of some of the salt? It was good, and the noodles were not overdone. Service was harried as the four waitresses could barely handle the volume and turnover of tables while we were there. M witnessed one waitress attempt to wipe down a table; instead she flung rice and sushi particles onto the floor and a piece hit a diner in the back - I wished I had seen that!
The dining area is quite large, and although the space looks narrow from the outside, there was ample space for waitresses and take out customers to dart about without bothering diners. That being said, the waiting area could stand to be larger as I foresee lineups going out the door. The decor is a little nicer than their Kingsway location, with dark wood and slightly more comfortable chairs. It is still all very utilitarian and the operation is efficient. (...As a matter of fact, it looks a little like something I could replicate in Cafe World or Restaurant City on Facebook! haha!)
Sushi Garden was very wise to open up a location on this strip of Lougheed: far enough from the Korean restaurants of North Road and the older eateries on Hastings, yet close enough to all the new apartments in the Brentwood area. There are four other Japanese restaurants within walking distance to Sushi Garden, so in a pinch, you could fulfill your sushi cravings if there was a long wait at Sushi Garden. However, Sushi Garden is strong where the neighbouring restaurants are weak; Sushi Garden has larger capacity, higher product turnover, and more efficient (not necessarily experienced though!) service. Parking is free out front and on the rooftop and the location is relatively close to Gilmore skytrain station.
Judging by the packed restaurant last night, the neighbourhood was waiting for Sushi Garden to open! Hopefully they can maintain the newness / cleanliness - just like their Kingsway location, it's a good place for a quick meal or takeout.
4269 Lougheed Highway