Japanese restaurants are very popular in the Vancouver area, but not all of them are of equal quality. While the more recent trend seems to be the rise of ramen shops, I still very much enjoy some good sushi and sashimi. And oftentimes, the smaller sushi places are the better ones.
That’s partly why I was drawn to Gohan West Coast Japanese Restaurant. If you didn’t know it was there, you really wouldn’t know to look for it. It’s surrounded by a number of condo buildings in what would otherwise be a mostly residential side street. It’s easy to see the major chain restaurants on Lougheed Highway near Brentwood Town Centre, but Gohan is hidden behind the Joey and Save-on-Foods.
Despite calling itself a “West Coast” Japanese restaurant, there really isn’t all that much on the menu that I would call “fusion.” Yes, there are the “fancy” maki rolls that you find on a lot of Japanese menus in Vancouver area restaurants, but the rest is fairly standard fare. For our dinner, we opted to get one of the set menus and then add a couple of items on top.
As part of the set menu, we were given a small tuna tataki appetizer. The fish was seared just enough and the little garlic chip on top was a nice touch. Fresh and refreshing.
Also as part of the set dinner menu, we opted for the three pieces of nigiri sushi instead of the California roll. The fish tasted quite fresh, but it wasn’t quite as chilled as I normally prefer. I wouldn’t say this is the best sushi in town, but it is certainly far from the worst.
The entree portion of the set menu consisted of chicken teriyaki and a croquette. It is normally served with a bowl of white rice too, but Susanne opted to double up her green salad instead. There is also a bowl of miso soup, not shown. The teriyaki was nothing to write home about, not being all that much better than what you’d get from a standard food court.
Off the regular menu, we also ordered the ebi prawn gyoza. This is basically a prawn wrapped in a gyoza skin and deep fried. The dipping sauce had some mayo in it, but there was no mayo on the gyoza itself. This was fine, but it wasn’t all that special.
We also ordered a chirashi don, which is a bowl of rice topped with several pieces of sashimi. Again, I wished the fish was chilled just a bit more, but everything tasted fresh. There was also quite a bit of fish in this chirashi don, which made for a fairly good value.
Overall, I’d say I was pretty pleased with Gohan. The sushi may not be quite as good as Sushiholic, but everything on the menu is reasonably priced, the fish is fresh, and service is prompt. Since it is so close to my new neighborhood, I’ll likely be back.