An East Vancouver institution. This place has been around since at least the early 80's and as far as I know was and is family run. Very traditional menu with excellent quality in a nice space and very clean to and great service.
The place has really gone downhill. As a regular, I've witnessed this place decline over the past year. Koko used to represent quality traditional sushi and sashimi at a premium price. I truly believe that high quality fish and craftsmanship merit premium prices, however when you cheapen the food it leaves a particularly bad taste in your mouth. Yesterday I had such a disappointing sushi experience that I was compelled to write this review.
Real dungeness crab California roll- was cheapened with rice rolled in with the crab! Do they think a customer won't notice? $8.25 for a rice roll? These used to be amazing with an abundance of crab.
Hamachi - wasn't fresh - it didn't have the richness and sweetness that it should. At $4.00 each!?
Uni- was kind of lower grade with a darker color and slimy texture when it's supposed to be bright yellow and glistening. It tasted awful but to top off, upon complaining the waitress said that was the way it was supposed to be and left it at that.
The crab , toro and aji sushi were otherwise was pretty good.
The washroom is nasty. I appreciate the flowers but the cracked and stained walls, rusting metal panels and dehydrated air freshner containers really convey a sense of neglect.
I won't be returning. Try sushi naniamo down the street. The quality there and price is about 20% less on average
I have eaten here a few times; the food is better than average (food rating if they allowed half stars would be 3.5 stars), but the service is really mediocre with missed or incorrect orders (this has happened on more than two occasions). The prices are high for what you get. The ambience for the booths is solid, but the tables are more in line with a low end place. Of the food the ribs are a must have item.
We have been going to Koko for many years. Once we discovered it! it took a while because we didn't know it was there. We call it the Japanese tire store because it kind of doesn't look like a restaurant from the outside — which is why I think it is a hidden gem. No one knows it is there! But it has been around for over 20 years. The sign kind of looks like a tire store sign.
The food is always great. They have great big private booths, which is fantastic because you can have privacy while eating. Their are always super friendly. The sushi is always great quality. Example: the BC roll is still hot when it comes out. I highly recommend it. It is our go to place and we are never disappointed.
I agree with the previous reviewer about the sign and the plentiful booths. I always thought it was a gym or something to do with boxing (maybe it's the K.O. thing). I really liked the private dining booths which are great for bigger parties, but I hate having to remove shoes before entering. I stepped on something and looked down to find chicken bones. Gross - luckily I was wearing socks. The waitresses dressed in kimonos was a nice touch too.
I had tempura don and tempura was nice and crispy. Food is good and service was good. Value was just okay though.
I wouldn't mind returning again, but I wouldn't go out of my way to eat here.
Haven't been to this place in years...the last time I was here...I remember the sushi was fresh and high quality with a sticker price to match. This time...I had a trio of fellow co-workers to join me. We decided at 5pm...exactly when it opens. I got there at 5.....place has not changed at all...still looks like a gym from the outside. On the inside...table and chairs to the right...interesting but on the left was the old school booths...we decided on the later. The only problem..one of our fellow co-worker was going to be late.
Finally at 6, we decided to go for broke and share... beef short ribs, chicken kamikazi, assorted tempera, toro sashami, large gyoza, beef teriyaki roll,spicy scallop roll, B.C. roll, California (fake one) roll, 5 piece tuna and 10 pc salmon nigri sushi....HOLY COW!!
The food came in no time....the beef short ribs were probably the best I had to date...tender, sweet, savory and a nice charred smoky taste!! The chicken kamikazi was very good looked like twisted pony tails with slight heat and a carmelized exterior...yummy. The assorted tempera and the gyoza were standard stuff...I remembered the tempera being lighter in taste but this is a close second. The SUSHI...this is what I'm talking about...toro sashimi...one word..butter!! All the rolls were all excellent..with the B.C. and beef rolls being all meat no fillers. The nigri sushi ....amazing!! Tuna tasted almost as good as the toro and the salmon ( real and not the farmed stuff) fresh, fresh, fresh!!
All in all...we were stuffed and happy. I do have to mentioned the service was friendly and courteous. Our bill...came to $145 with beers. With tip $170...roughly 42 bucks and change for each person. Great meal, Good friends and of course quality food with a price to match.....again. LOL.
Funny thing, on my way out...I picked up a take out menu...I thought this was kind of strange and reading the last review about how bad the food was...let me say this....this establishment is NOT FOR TAKE OUT !! It is a quality DINE-IN place. I going out on a limb saying this is probably the BEST old school sushi joint around in east van!! Thanks for reading.
This place is a great hidden gem. I've been here a few times with co-workers and found the food to be really tasty. I like how the items they serve resemble more traditional Japanese food, rather than the stuff you'd find at regular Japanese sushi places.
The service is pleasant.
The value is pretty good..but I've only ever been here for lunch, so I can't say as much about dinner.
Ambiance is ok. The outside looks like an autobody shop (the sign is really old), but the inside has nice little booths.
I had completely overlooked this place and it's not hard to see why. A non-descript building on Hastings in a not great part of town. This was my first sushi place back in the early 80's! This and the Japanese deli on Powell (long since gone) are the grand daddies of sushi in Vancouver. We went last night with 3 other couples. Dishes to recommend are their BBQ Unagi, the best in town IMHO, the lobster roll, very decedent and they have a great scallop roll called the chop-chop. The attention to details obvious such as the basic Miso comes with clams; the iced tea is actually brewed iced tea! One of my new faves is the cucumber roll made by wrapping in cucumber instead of rice. The beer is also reasonably priced. The menu is not cheap like a lot of other sushi places and is actually a bit pricey for the area, however the quality and service make up for it. w/c’s were very clean, a nice break from the norm for this type of restaurant. I’m glad I rediscovered this place and would recommend you give it a try, oh btw, reservations are highly recommended.
I live the neighbourhood and am doing my best to explore the nearby restaurants. Needing some Japanese take-out one night in late February, I called Koko.
I found the menu online. The staff cheerfully took my order over the phone. When I arrived at the restaurant, I remarked at how big the restaurant was and how clean and neat it looked. I remarked to myself "Hey, I should come back with the family ..."
When I got home with the food, I realized that I would not go back.
California roll - the very thin layer of rice was mushy and tasteless. There was no hint of vinegar here.
Teriyaki chicken - the sliced pieces were very small and over cooked. I'm all for food safety, but this was ridiculous.
Ebi sunomono - this was good. The noodles were cooked just right.
Gomae - this was OK.
All in all, this eating experience was very disappointing.
Koko's is great and since our first visit on a friend's recommendation we've been back many times, it's the best sushi place we've found so far in the area. As other reviewers have mentioned it is a bit pricier for the neighborhood, but it's well worth it. This is *Japanese* sushi, so much better than the miscellaneous style that is found throughout this city. You can taste it in the rice, in the freshness of the fish, and the uniqueness of many of their menu items. And the service has always been fantastic, very friendly, always prompt, and you never have to ask for tea refills. Definitely would recommend trying it out.
I think this place is so great. I love the booths or sitting and interacting with people at the bar. The size of the sushi is perfect and the cuts are appropriate- I always feel like everything is well-balanced. Clearly, they have well-trained sushi chefs. My favourites: the dynamite cone is delicious, but the wild salmon sushi is perfection.
Sometimes I feel like service is a bit confusing. I think the servers share tables and it would be more organized if they each did their own tables. Despite the confusion- "no we're not waiting for the bill- yes, we're waiting for food," the servers are well-mannered and refill drinks often. It's such a nice touch to have hot towels at the beginning of the meal.
I would recommend this place to anyone looking for quality sushi in the Hastings-sunrise area.
a hidden jem. Great sushi and one of vancouvers oldest sushi restaurants I believe. Try the spicy salmon anything and the spicy dynamite. Never had a bad meal there in 5 years. The decor might not be much but don't be fooled. Family owned, solid pricing and consistently great sushi.