El’s Japanese Fusion – April 29, 2012

She said – As someone who is very new to the world of sushi, I intend to leave the bulk of this review to Zaidi. A sushi restaurant review from someone who still tries to cut rolls in half with chopsticks when she think no one’s looking is likely to offend true sushi lovers.

El’s is right next to Belmont Diner in Marda Loop (see first review) and was recommended to boy Ali by a coworker (he also seems to think I’ve told him about this place, but since I rarely go for sushi without him I don’t see how he thinks that’s possible. Long story short, our first time here).

It fits a few key criteria – small and hole in the wall-esque (maybe 7 tables inside), quiet (though it was 8pm on a sunday) and cheap (I have no reference point for this, but Zaidi assures me it was a good price for sushi).

We started with something called “Japanese” Tuna Tacos, which really just ended up being tuna sashimi covered in salsa with taco chips on the side. A weird taste sensation, but even to my unexperienced sushi palate the tuna tasted really fresh!

Behold! A culturally confused plate of food

Next we ordered four rolls (from left): crispy spicy tuna (tempura battered), blue dragon (eel, avocado, tobiko), mexican maki (salmon, tuna, hot sauce), and spicy salmon (self explanatory).

What’s Japanese for smorgasbord?

Everything was yummy! I’m not qualified to be any more critical than that. Although I will say that despite the spicy salmon’s tastiness, it was poorly rolled and fell apart as soon as I tried to pick it up. As a remedial chopstick user, this did not impress me.

And now, Zaidi’s turn. Though if a picture’s worth a thousand words…

Take deeeep breaths hunny

He said – Ahhh Sushi, my bestest and most flavourful friend. How I love sushi, and even more, love finding new sushi restaurants within the city that offer new and exciting rolls, and fresh fish.

I have to be honest, after we received our “Japanese Tacos” for the appetizer and they were tortilla chips, and sashimi with salsa on it…I became quite worried, and thought that this restaurant choice may have been a mistake. It didn’t help that the sashimi was a bit frozen on the inside.

But then we got to the rolls, which came out and were fresh, fairly big, varied and most of all very yummy. Annnnnd they were really cheap on top of that! For the price of rolls that at most places are the tiny, regular 6 piece bland ones, we got special rolls that contained a ton of tasty combinations, and were quite filling. The Mexican Maki especially was quite memorable.

The service was top notch, friendly and helpful, and the place itself was quite cute and felt like a homey family run business. I have a strong feeling that El’s Japanese Fusion will be high up on the sushi repeat list…in the future though, I will probably avoid any appetizer with quotations around the word “Japanese”.

Ranking:

Location: 4.5 out of 5 “I Feels” (marda loop!! a medium size walk, but a super short drive. we’d compare bike distance, but Zaidi doesn’t own a bike)

Service: 4 out of 5 “Yay Hurrays” (very friendly!)

Atmosphere: 3 out of 5 “Purple Shirts” (ahh the contradiction of looking for holes in the wall – adds to nicheness, but not much in the way of decor)

Nicheness: 4.5 out of 5 “Green Tights” (ahh the benefit of holes in the wall! – had the restaurant practically to ourselves… though maybe that’s cause we can’t seem to eat dinner at decent hours?)

Price: 4.5 out of 5 “Overstuffed Wallets” (Very good price! You’ll have to take Zaidi’s word for it though, not mine. The cheapest sushi rolls he’s found in Calgary)

Taste: 4 out of 5 “Jeepers” (sushi rolls were delish and even though the japanese tacos were weird, the salsa was really good!)

Overall: 24.5 out of 30 Could become a go to sushi joint when we’re in the mood for a quick raw fish fix.

Victory!

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