I was so excited to finally have the chance to eat here! Takeya is brought to you by the same owners of Steveston restaurant, Ichiro. It’s mainly for “to go” but there are about ten or so tables available for “for here”. I’ve actually never been to Ichiro. At the end of our meal, my mom (capable of striking a conversation with any stranger on the streets, how she birthed an introvert like me is beyond me) asked the server where their fish is from. She replied that most are local but some are flown in from Japan. She also let us know that most of their chefs are Japanese. Of course, Toshi Sushi‘s fish are all imported so my mom took this as an opportunity to sing Toshi’s praises. My mom’s cute.
Takeya is located on No. 1 at Francis, directly across Hugh Boyd high school, in the Seafair Shopping Centre in west Richmond. It’s a little bit out of the way for us in central Richmond but it’s not too bad of a drive. One day it’ll be known as “Downtown Richmond”. Can’t wait for the Asian Invasion to fully saturate the city. Just kidding. Sort of.
Based on the location and the ambiance of the restaurant, I’m guessing it’s probably cheaper than Ichiro. The menu is extremely extensive and bounded in a lovely faux-leather cover. It’s complete with photographs for each item and that made my mom really happy. No matter how many times we go out for Japanese, she still can’t seem to remember the difference between certain rolls. Takeya serves a great variety of Japanese items, ranging from cooked items to sashimi and sushi. By the way, did you notice my mom on her iPad again? She’s still hooked on Candy Crush and she finally beat level 29.
The restaurant is very small but I think its business operations target take out customers. There were at least a dozen in the time that we spent here. There’s not much to see here, in terms of decorations.
I had read a couple of food blogs that recommended this combo so I knew I had to try it. This is the Takeya Nigiri ($11.95), Lightly grilled salmon toro, tuna toro, saba. Amaebi, unagi and salmon roll 3 pcs, tuna roll 3 pcs. This is a fairly good deal because you’re getting one maki roll which otherwise would cost you at least two dollars and five nigiri sushis, at about less than two dollars each! I would say it’s pretty good value for your money, although I’m sure there must be places where you can get even more bang for your buck.
The Unagi Nigiri was not my favourite because I personally don’t like unagi. However, I did try a little piece and it was actually really good! I’m not sure if I’d be able to stomach to whole piece but I loved the sauce and the unagi itself was very tender and buttery.
The Amaebi Nigiri was my first time having amaebi! It must be an acquired taste because I didn’t really like it. It was slimy and had a strangely sweet aftertaste that I didn’t care too much for. My mom really liked it though!
The Saba Nigiri was the best on the entire plate! It was absolutely amazing. It may have been the best saba I’ve ever had. Saba, too, is an acquired taste, but it’s one I really enjoy. It’s very fishy yet the texture is soft and creamy. The Tuna Toro Nigiri was lightly grilled and it was so fatty and smooth. The creamy taste was shadowed by the grilled taste though. However, I still found it really good. The Salmon Toro Nigiri was also good but only average in comparison to the saba or even the tuna toro. I didn’t like the heavy charring taste the grilling brought it.
The Tuna Roll and Salmon Roll were both good. There was one piece on the left that was overfilled with rice but other than that, these rolls were delicately made. It was also obvious that the salmon they use is wild, as it was evident in the firmness and leanness of the meat.
We also ordered a more carb-heavy combo, Ebi Kakiage Udon ($9.25), Deep fried chopped vegetable and shrimp with noodle soup.
The udon is meatless but came with a very generous helping of seaweed and green onions. It was good. There was nothing wrong with it.
The deep fried chopped vegetable and shrimp was a pancake shape and it was very tasty. I didn’t expect it to be a pancake! It was also served in a very cute bamboo basket. I thought it gave the dish character. My only complaint is that the carrot was not thoroughly cooked so there was a stark contrast between it and the rest of the tempura vegetables.
And just in case that all wasn’t enough food, we ordered Saba Shio Yaki ($3.75), Grilled mackerel. I love saba, can you tell? Either raw or cooked, I find it absolutely delicious. Takeya’s saba shio yaki was a good sized piece but it wasn’t the best I’ve ever had. The best I’ve tried was at Seto Sushi. Their lunch set is only $10- you should check ‘em out. However, this piece didn’t have the tender, moist, juicy melt-in-your-mouth taste that saba can have when done right. It was also slightly more charred than I would have liked, as you can see from the photo.
Overall, we enjoyed our dinner here very much. It’s a great and convenient place for good Japanese food, whether you’re in the mood for cooked items or sushi and sashimi. There is no ramen or izakya though. Another complaint I have is that they close so damn early! They close at 8 every night, except Friday, when they close at 8:30. Oh boy, there are some days of the week when it’s 8 and I haven’t even thought about dinner yet! Nonetheless, early dinners are good for your health and clearly, these Japanese folk know it! Takeya has become one of our favourites in just one visit. My mom and I can’t wait to return!
Thanks for eating with me!