Recently my hubby and I were in Burnaby Heights for a photo shoot, and we decided to stop off at a hidden gem sushi bar, which I was surprised to be still open after 9-10 years since I moved out of the area after university. Kilala Sushi Bar has been in its current location on Hastings, between Alpha and Beta, in Burnaby Heights for quite a few years, yet I was surprised when I noticed there weren’t too many blog reviews on Urbanspoon for this restaurant. Perhaps it’s because when you drive by it, you don’t notice it except the word “SUSHI” on the sign outside the restaurant. However, I really enjoyed it back then when I was a student, so I ventured into the restaurant, hoping it was the same restaurant as before – and it was!
This restaurant is owned by a Japanese couple (I’m assuming husband and wife team), super friendly and always managing the restaurant. I haven’t seen anyone else but the owners working and making the sushi. During lunch on a weekday it’s quite busy, however, just make sure that you’re not in a hurry, since there’s no additional chefs making the fresh sushi. During the weekends are the best time to go – since you really do want to enjoy the well-prepared sushi rolls.
We ordered the Kilala combo, which included a California roll and 4 pieces of nigiri – tuna, salmon, ebi and tamago (egg) – however I was able to swap the tuna for hokkigai for no additional charge. We also ordered a chopped scallop roll and half order of the Kilala House Roll (consisting of crab meat, avocado, tuna, salmon, salmon roe topped with smoked salmon). When sushi restaurants offer a full order or a half order of their house special rolls, you know they will be large in size.
As we were the only customers in the restaurant at 2pm on a Saturday, the restaurant was quiet and we received our meal quickly. Their wasabi is a bit spicy. Be forewarned, they put wasabi in between the sashimi and the rice for the nigiri pieces, so if you can’t stand spice, make sure to let them know not to include it or to put very little of it – otherwise you’ll feel it!
For $8.95, the Kilala combo is good for one person – I liked how the tamago is offered in quite a large piece – not your usual rectangular cut piece. I also appreciated that they allowed substitution for no charge, as I’m not a huge tuna fan. The chopped scallop roll and the california roll both melted in my mouth, and the house roll was quite the filler! I think next time I will splurge and get the saba or unagi battera (pressed sushi) instead, as I’ve read it’s well done at Kilala.
I mentioned to the owner, the wife, that I use to live around the corner and visited often – in which she responded she remember my face! It’s quite nice to have a friendly server who recognizes you. Or maybe she remembers that I’m the gal that keeps substituting the tuna out for something else in my combo!