Maruyama opened last year in East Vancouver by Chef Yoshiyo Maruyama who previously worked at Blue Water Cafe as the raw bar chef.
The restaurant was is small but the simple black and wooden decor makes the space look very elegant. There are only 4 seats at the sushi bar if you want to watch the chef in action. It would be best to make reservations ahead of time to secure a spot.
Maruyama is famous for their omakase tasting menu which features one of the more affordable prices in Vancouver. You can also order a-la-carte and their fish is supposed to be shipped from Japan daily.
They also have homemade udon, tempura and various appetizers. The restaurant is fully licensed for liquor so they have some good options of sake, beer, and wine.
We decided to go with the $40 tasting menu as you get to try a bit of everything. This five course menu is pretty good value, as it includes 5 pieces of nigiri. This starts off with a Spinach Goma-ae Salad, with peanut sauce and freshly roasted black sesame. One of my favourite appetizers at Japanese restaurants.
Next up was the 5-Piece Nigiri set which was what we really came for. The omakase set will change daily depending on what type of fish is fresh. That night, our omakase included: Bin Toro (albacore tuna belly), Warasa (wild yellowtail), Houbou (red gurnard), Hirame (flounder), and Isaki (threeline grunt). I had not heard of many of these fish, but they all tasted fresh and there were none that I disliked. My favourite was the toro as it was very fatty and the flounder which had a buttery texture and melted in my mouth. Interesting that the chef features mostly white fish in his omakase though as it would have been nice to have a mix. When you place your order, you will be asked whether you want wasabi or not in your sushi.
Next up were their homemade udons. You can choose between hot or cold. Half of our table got the cold and the other half hot. The Cold Udon comes with a separate sesame base sauce with you can then pour onto the noodles. The noodles come with green onion, cucumber, seaweed, egg, and assorted mushrooms. I really liked their handmade noodles as they had a nice chew. They sort of remind me of the ones at Kinome.
The Hot Udon comes with assorted mushrooms, wakame, tempura bits and a dashi broth. Both the cold and hot udon are special in their own way and I would highly suggest to try both.
Jumbo Prawn Tempura
A perfect pair with your udon is the Jumbo Prawn Tempura which comes with a small zucchini tempura as well. The prawn was large and bouncy but I did think that the batter could be a little thinner.
Matcha Ice Cream
To end your meal, the tasting menu finishes with a Matcha Ice Cream with a side of sweet red bean paste.
Overall, we thought that the Maruyama $40 omakase menu was a pretty good deal given we were all full and got the chance to try a variety of their dishes. However, if you are looking to only eat nigiri sushi, then you can try their nigiri-only omakase which goes for $35, $60, or $75 depending on the number of pieces you get and how premium the fish is. They also have some pretty good lunch deals, so I will definitely be back again.
– $40 omakase tasting menu is pretty good value
– Handmade noodles were solid
– If you order a-la-carte, the prices can be pretty steep
Price Range: $40 (omakase tasting menu)
1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent
Food: 4 Service: 4 Ambiance: 4 Parking: 3.5 Overall: 4