I have come to the conclusion that there are only two types of sushi restaurants in vancouver: either really expensive or quite expensive but with excellent quality like Tojo's or Miku on the one hand, and low quality sushi like all-you-can-eat on the other. It is pretty much impossible to find something in between.
I was hoping to find a mid-range sushi place, ie. not stellar, but decent quality sushi at not cheap but still affordable prices, and decided to give Sushi Aoki a try tonight. Let's just say that it was a sorely disappointed experience. Here is why:
The paramount benchmark for any sushi restaurant is the quality of the fish. (It's not whether the chef and staff are japanese, like some of the commenters here like to think. Even though it is nice if they were. By the way, Aoki-san is actually not japanese, for those who seem to be obsessed with a japanese sushi chef.) And on this count, Sushi Aoki failed miserably. One of the commenters said that he used to live near Tsukiji in Tokyo and gave a glowing review of Aoki's fish quality. Well, I can only say that may be he came on a good day or I came on a bad day, but the fish was simply not up to standard.
I only ate nigiri. (If you would like to eat Japanese sushi, try nigiri. However, considering the low quality of most sushi restaurants in vancouver it might be better to just stick with North American sushi, i.e. rolls.) Salmon was probably the only fish that was okay. Tuna, hamachi - my favourite, and tai were not fresh at all. And the worst was saba. It completely destroyed my appetite!
That said, there was a bright spot. At least the rice was warm. Now, to those who think that sushi rice should be cold, think again. Warm rice means that it has recently been mixed and stored properly. Cold rice means it is stale and has been sitting around or in the fridge for a while. Why on earth do you want to eat stale rice?!
In terms of service and decor, nothing spectacular but nothing to really complain about either, hence the neutral 3 star rating.
In conclusion, considering how much i paid, i would have rather paid a bit more and go to Miku or pay less and expect less and go to an all you can eat place. And that is exactly what i plan to do from now on. Good bye, Aoki!