Samurai is a sushi restaurant on Cambie with giant portions.
After hearing how huge all their sushi rolls were, I went and ordered a party tray for my birthday this year. While there was a lot of variety and it was pretty fresh, the size was not what I expected - definitely smaller than advertised and it wasn't anything super special. The location is right across from Oakridge Mall and like previous reviewers you're better off doing take out if you live in the area. I walked in to pick up my order and was surprised at how tiny the eating area was...and did I mention it felt very stuffy and warm inside? I was a bit worried after that when I saw my party tray was just sitting on shelf behind the cashier basking in the warmth of the place. I remember having their rolls last year at a friend's party and they were much bigger...too bad it's not the same anymore. =(
The sushi is made for giants or people with huge mouths. I tried 'B' party tray, which had a nice selection of sushi, and I also foolishly ordered a beef teriyaki roll, because I hadn't yet seen how gigantic the party tray was. The taste was okay, but the size was WAY too big. Sushi is about style as much as substance and these mammoth sushi pieces were ridiculously crass. As Mrs. Chasiubow said: "Ma dai go hou"! (Open wide!).
I will say that it was fresh, due to the chaotic pace in the restaurant. A few brave souls actually tried to sit at the tiny tables or the mini sushi bar, but I went for the take out. It is incredible value for the money, if you judge such things by quantity for the price.
A good choice if you are VERY hungry, or if you have teens at home. Otherwise, you should go someplace less extreme.
I've only had take-out from this Samurai Sushi House. From what I've had, yes, you do get your money's worth. A whole sushi tray to serve 4-5 for $20. But I have to agree with some of the other reviews. Some rolls are so large, I got sick trying to finish one. They jam so many different ingredients into one roll, that it kinda loses good flavor. You spend so much time trying to point out what you're tasting at that moment.
We ordered the sushi platter while we were 5 minutes away and when we got there, we had to wait another 40 minutes. And since I can't really rate the ambiance because I've never dined-in before, I gave it a "poor" because when I walked in to check on my order. I almost went deaf from the really loud Vietnamese conversation from the ladies chatting inside. I also, don't mean to be rude, but if those ladies kept their talking at a lower level, I wouldn't have walked out and waited in the rain instead.
This was the only location I've gone to and it's been a while since I've gone back. I almost exclusively dine in at sushi restaurants but there's hardly ever any available chairs in their cramped quarters and it's dingy to hang around long so I do takeout.
I've stuck to the same few items: California Rolls, Spicy Scallop Rolls and their House Roll the odd ocassion. Rolls are gargantuan in size which is why there is always a lineup. As mentioned their Salmon and Tuna is actually of decent quality but it is inconsistently prepared: either too cold, too warm, and/or improperly sliced and sized. Overall from my usual order it's fast food quality at fast food prices. Liberal use of sushi rice round off in making their rolls astounding in girth and filling for the hungry. Honestly though it isn't bad but there are dozens of other joints for better consistency and quality.
Since I've only had takeout there they handle the volume of customers fairly well each visit that I've had. Run similarly to a conveyor belt the ladies on the cashier take your order and give you a number. Other than than the varying wait times for your order to be prepared there's not much else to go into detail.
If you're hungry and craving sushi and only have a ten on you I suppose this place (and their other locations) should fill the gap in your stomach.
Yes, the sushi pieces are extremely large and for some pieces you will need a knife and fork. The quality, however, is good and the line-ups = mucho business = fresh sushi. Prices are extremely reasonable. So, for all you people complaining about the size of the sushi, I have one question, why do you keep going back?
I've never been in the place. I've seen the lineups though. I have however been the recipient of takeout many times.
Their sushi tastes OK, but what it really comes down to and the main reason for my low rating is the ridiculous size of their rolls just makes me angry. Japanese food is intended to be prepared so that everything is bite sized or is otherwise simple to eat. This place is an egregious violation of Japanese food as you can't just eat their food with chopsticks easily. There is absolutely no way you can eat their larger rolls with one bite. You have to pick the pieces up off the plate (not great when you are sharing). You have to somehow cut through the nori with your chopsticks to get it into small enough pieces. Meanwhile the crab is falling all over the place littering your soy sauce. UGH. Can it be any more STUPID?
The sushi is also poorly constructed. Compounded with the large size, it's a miracle if you can get a roll off the plate without it falling into pieces.
I know some people love the schtick of the large sushi and feel they are getting a great deal. Honestly if they change to small rolls they would probably lose half their business. If you like it, great, but I don't. If they want to give good value for money, why not just give more sushi for the money? I'd certainly be fine with it then.
i have tried this place twice. first time i was baffled at the need to serve for them to have jumbo sushi. sushi is supposed to be bited sized but the mere size of the rice rolls scared me. the fish did not taste fresh and i dine at many many japanese places on a regular basis. i hope i am not being rude here but vietnamese people cannot be running a japanese restaurant as i highly doubt they know the skill of handling raw food. this is evident in them cutting the fish in such large pieces. but if its quantity and not quality, this place may be fine. but even that, i fear for my health and will choose not to return again.
I love sushi and eat it A LOT. This is a place I like to go on occasion for a bit of variety. Everything is huge here- definitely not one bite sushi. I really enjoy the california rolls with the shredded crab. Again, not a place I like to go all the time, but it's cheap and good. It's impossible to be hungry after eating here!
I must say, the sushi here is indeed larger than the competition's. It might even be difficult to eat, and challenges even the most seasoned of sushi afficiandos. The tuna nigiri sushi sometimes felt a little frozen so you might want to bring it home and thaw it out a bit...House Roll there is a must try as the epitome of their biggest maki rolls available.
The real drawback of the place, are the occasional large line ups of folks trying to either order food, or wait for theirs to pick up. I've had to turn away and go somewhere else just because of this a couple times, but I guess its a good sign for the business.
I took out combo tray (can't remember which one, they are all good though), the food was so-so when eating. However, it was the large portions that made up for the quality. The sashimi ontop of the rice were HUGE. Great for take-out and parties. I also liked how they give you discounts for ordering ahead.
I have never gotten the reason people fancy this place as much as they do. Perhaps good timing when they opened this location. The food is ok. But i find the sizing than people like has lots to do with the amount of rice they use of the rolls and sushi. I personally prefer, more fresh ingredients and just enough rice. I find they use too much rice. And the rice although fresh lack some taste/seasoning. This is my opinion, so other may like it the way Samurai does it. To me it reminds me of sushi done by robots not sushi chefs.
The value proposition is prob still good. As you can get party tray take out for pre fixed price. Good when you have a pot luck or function to atttend or host. IMHO, there are so many newer and better establishment now that are better in quality and value.
I've been here many at times for take out ...this is the only place I know that serves supersized sushi and sashimi. BIG BIG Big is my only description. Make sure you have an empty stomach cause the portions are hugh...enough for even two people. My favs: mixed combo A or B, B.C. roll, SSSR roll, dragon roll, salmon or toro or hamachi sashimi. Just be warned: the house roll is like a eating a 3 level home ...a good 2 to 4 bites just to finish one piece. Peak hours are usually packed. Order take out 2 hours in advance...recieve a 5% discount. Seating??? good luck!!
All in all cheap and good eats.
There was a time when I used to come here on the odd occasion, but I haven't stepped foot in this place for a good 2 years now. Sure, it's cheap and yeah, the portions are obscenely large, but just take a look around. The place is always warm with people, with too many cooks crammed behind the counter, all preparing WARM sushi. The kitchen looks grubby, and really, I wouldn't eat anything raw here. The sashimi is huge, but never tastes remotely fresh. One time there were even bones in my sashimi and the tuna was so fishy I couldn't even eat it.
The restaurant is too small and uncomfortable to dine in, so most people take out. Lineups have people jammed out the door most of the time. If you're really desperate for cheap sushi in large sizes, go to Sushi King House instead. At least their fish is edible.
I've eaten at Samurai for almost 10 years now and still enjoy going there for run of the mill Japanese food. If you want high end authentic this is not the place to go.
Pro's: Quality of food is good but not ever close to being outstanding or high end, but doesn't claim to be either. Fish is fresh due to high turnover, portions are large and you never feel ripped off. Prices are reasonable to cheap compared to what you get elsewhere. Menu has wide variety of rolls, sashimi and cooked food. Cheap, cheap bEER!
Con's: busy, not too authentic (probably pandering to Chinese crowd (give me more mentality). Samurai on Cambie is downright disgusting & laughable at the sametime.
Many Japanese restaurants can compete with Samurai on food quality, but once you factor in price & portions they are hard to beat.
I'm still gonna get my take out and late night from this place for years to come.
Food - The quality and taste is above average, especially compared to other take-out places.
Service - The ladies there are pretty straight forward when it comes to the phone. On the rare occassion I dine in, they aren't bad but you also can't expect perfection.
Value - Definitely a great place in terms of "bang for buck". Granted sashimi/nigiri pieces are traditionally not served that large. Coupled with their above par quality/taste, you can't really complain about the larger portions.
Ambience - Can't really say much for the ambience. It's a smaller place and I think that's why it's such a success.
I've only ordered take-out here, and I usually stick to the beef and chicken teriyaki rolls. I had my first taste about 3.5 years ago and this is still probably my favourite place to come to for teriyaki sushi rolls. Sometimes service can be really slow (one time waited half an hour for a four roll order), so it's probably best to call in two hours early (5% off with this). They also have tea that you can take as you wait for your food, so sometimes it's not so bad. I've heard and read about some pretty nasty things about this place (health inspector observed cooks not washing his hands after going to the bathroom and smoking) but what can I say...I will continue to go for the humongous portions and cheap deal!
i don't understand why people are making negative comments on the size of the sushi/ rolls.
they're huge. they are surprisingly TASTY, (the ingredients have that mmmmmmmm) sometimes, for the end pieces of the roll, there's a bit too much rice, but generally they are modest about the rice, unlike many restaurants
takeout is better than eating in. usually takes 15 mins for your order to be done. the sashimi is okay, it's fresh but lacks taste. they could cut them into smaller pieces as well
excellent value for party trays.
(the tea is disgusting)
Chinese people seem to love this place. The only good thing about this place are the massive portions and cheap prices. It is enough to fill up your stomach and that's about it. I don't recommend this place. Spend a few more dollars and you can get comparable size and much better quality at Sushi Garden in Burnaby.
I leave nearby this place so sometimes I ordered for take out. I do agree that their sashimi is not at their best quality or freshness. IF I go there I never ordered their sashimi, I only ordered California Roll (best deal), spicy chopped scallop, Alaska Roll, Unagi Roll or Dynamite roll. Well this place can be very overwhelming for ladies...but flr us men this is definitely the place to satisfy your crave for a sushi. Their sushi rice is not bad and always consistent. For the money this place is worth it.
If i'm looking for cheap sushi and huge portions, this is my go to place. The rolls are huge and cheaper than rolls elsewhere. I also love their spicy agadashi tofu, it comes with a peanut-y sauce that is delicious! Would definitely recommend Samurai for a casual lunch, but don't expect outstanding ambiance or service.