From what I can gather, Sushi Loku in East Vancouver looks like it’s Korean run. In addition to an assortment of sushi and other Japanese dishes, the menu also features kimchi yaki udon and BBQ galbi. There’s also a Hawaiian poke bowl. Or maybe they’re just trying to be more creative. You can substitute seaweed for rice paper (for $1 extra) and choose between a couple of “Loku sushirrittos” (sushi burritos). Several menu items are marked as either vegan friendly or available as gluten-free. Maybe it’s about that East Van hipster vibe.
Given this more “creative” approach, we decided to venture a little off our staple sushi path to sample some of the more unique offerings from Sushi Loku.
Killer Tuna Tacos: $9.50
Crunch taco shell, tuna, avocado salsa (4 pieces)
I promise. There were four of them on that a plate, but a certain someone at the table couldn’t wait for the camera to eat first. Addie was interested too. In any case, these “tuna tacos” were really more like tostadas or taco bowls than “tacos.”
The appeal here was immediately reminiscent of the Awesome Roll at Sushiholic, offering a very satisfying crunch to go along with the moist fish. While it may be a little unwieldy to eat and you can expect to make a bit of a mess, the “killer” tuna taco is a winner in my books.
Tai Tataki $10.95
Seared red snapper with ponzu sauce and shredded daikon
When you go to most Japanese restaurants, at least around Vancouver, the tataki options are typically limited to tuna or beef. When we saw the Tai Tataki on special for $1 off, we figured it’d be a nice change of pace. Even though the fish was a little overcooked, the ponzu and shredded daikon made for several scrumptious bites. There were about seven or eight pieces in all. The acidity from the ponzu was thankfully not overpowering at all.
Crazy Boy Roll: $5.95
Spicy deep fried roll with avocado, crab meat, masago, spicy mayo, teriyaki
We asked for no spicy mayo on this one so Addie could try it too. The presentation is not at all what we expected either, as you can see in the photo above. Just by the simple virtue of cutting the roll lengthwise, each bite is almost more like a crisp shell taco or one of those fancy hors d’oeuvres served on an endive.
I would have preferred a bit more crunch from the tempura batter though.
Aburi Oshisushi Scallop: $13.50
Scallop, parmesan cheese on top, prawn tempura inside, miso mayo (6 pieces)
I still remember the first time I had aburi sushi at Miku restaurant and how much I enjoyed the smokiness. At the time, almost no one else was torching their sushi. Times have changed. Now you can find aburi at a number of places around town, like Sushi UOmo in North Burnaby.
Where Sushi Loku steps it up a notch or two is by combining the torching method of aburi with the pressed sushi technique of oshisushi. In addition to scallop, as shown, you can opt for salmon, negi toro, beef, ebi (shrimp), spicy tuna, avocado or saba (mackerel), each with slightly different toppings. This scallop version also comes with a prawn tempura running down the middle.
Overall, I liked it. You can definitely taste the torch and I’m a big fan of scallop. The water content in the pressed sushi was a bit much for me, resulting in an almost “gummy” texture. I’ll stick to regular aburi sushi next time.
Dragon Roll: $9.95
Tamago, avocado, cucumber, unagi, green onion, masago, unagi sauce
Just about all sushi joints in Vancouver now offer an assortment of “signature” rolls and Sushi Loku is no exception. The base for the Dragon Roll, as it the case with so many “fancy” rolls, is practically identical to a California roll. They just stuff in some tamago (egg) instead of imitation crab, and top it with unagi (eel) and masago (fish roe).
Realistically, we in Vancouver get to enjoy an embarrassment of riches when it comes to sushi. Most places are reasonably affordable (and way cheaper than some other cities) and offer good quality. While Kimu on Boundary Road and Sushimoto at Holdom are still our go-to places much of time, thanks largely to proximity, I do recommend Sushi Loku if you happen to be in the Fraser and Broadway kind of area.
Our total bill came to just under $60 including taxes and gratuity. Sushi Loku is located at 592 East Broadway near Fraser Street in East Vancouver.