Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Feeling lucky at Hachi Hana

I love Vancouver. The mountains, the ocean, the diversity, the culture, the city, the different neighbourhoods, the amazing food.....I could go on and on. Over the holidays, my friends Bree and Kate came back to Vancouver from Peace River, AB and Toronto respectively. I really wanted to take them for a nice meal while they were in town. I threw out a bunch of ideas for based on food buzz around town for posh places for a special meal and I was leaning towards a dinner at Vij's. Bree kind of surprised me when she told me that was desperate for a sushi lunch. 
Peace River isn't exactly a culinary destination and apparantly the only available sushi is packaged grocery store rolls. Her closest sushi destination is Edmonton and apparantly it's pretty pricey. $5 for a tuna rool- $7 for a california roll-$15 for a california roll-$9 for an avocado roll.    I was surprised when Kate told me that sushi is pretty pricey in toronto too. She was quoting $5 for a basic 6 piece tuna roll and $11 for a house special-type 8 piece roll.
I did a bit of research on Urbanspoon and recommended a few places....they didn't feel like leaving the North Shore so we headed to the one NS location on my "recommended" list...Hachi Hana on Lonsdale.
Walking in at around 1:30, the place was packed- I take that as a good sign since there is pretty much a sushi joint on every block of Lonsdale, so there are plenty of other options in the neighbourhood. It was a short wait and the servers were friendly and attentive. When the menus came out, Bree and Kate started a list that seemed a mile long of all the different dishes they wanted and we quickly decided to order a variety and share.....and they had a lot they wanted to they did.
We ordered 6 pcs Gyoza (3.95), 8pc Tuna Sashimi (7.95), 9 pc Vegetable Tempura (6.95), Vegetable Maki Combo- kappa, veg, asparagus (7.50), Yam/Sweet Potato Roll (3.95), Negitoro Roll (3.95), Spicy Tekka Maki (2.95), Chopped Scallop Roll with spicy sauce (4.95) and the 12 pc Hachi-Hana Special Roll w/avacado, smoked salmon and prawn(8.95)....and I got a miso soup. This was some pretty impressive ordering and we definitely filled up our table.
They decided to bring us even more food and brought us a complimentary order of BBQ Tuna. It didn't look like much (kinda looked like a plain cooked chicken breast cut into small pieces) but behind its plain appearance lay a light, lemony flavour that was fresh and light-tasting.
 I'm not usually a big tempura fan, but I found this tempura exceptional:light and flaky with no greasy aftertaste.
The tuna sashimi was cut nice and thick with a beautiful colour. Fresh and bursting with flavour, it melted in my mouth. I also LOVED the attention to detail with the presentation and the use of pea shoots.
The yam/sweet potato roll was another stand-out. It was different than your typical yam roll in that the tempura yam was on top of the roll and the inside was full of marinated and grilled mushrooms.
The negitoro roll was bursting with fresh flavoured tuna and the added kick with the chopped green onions made it memorable.

The spicy sauce in the spicy tuna and chopped scallop roll is made in house and a tasty, savoury addition. All of the veggies in the rolls and garnishes were fresh and added a nice, crisp, crunchiness to some of the rolls. The Hachi-Hana special roll was a definite hit with everyone at our table. Draped in avocado and smoked salmon and stuffed with fresh prawn- it definitely felt special and like it was made with a lotta love.
Kate and Bree LOVED the quality of their meal and the comparative affordability. I think they were even a bit sad at the end of the meal knowing that it would be a while until they would have reasonable, affordable access to such a sushi feast again.
I've definitely had cheaper sushi in Vancouver and on the North Shore before- but I found these prices reasonable especially considering the quality of food and great service. It was a great meal with great friends and it was the best sushi I've had in a loooong time.
Hachi Hana
(604) 990-0081
North Vancouver
1426 Lonsdale Ave
Hachi Hana on Urbanspoon

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