Blue Star Japanese Bistro, formerly known as Kishu Star has been kind of a hang-out place for our Iaido group after practice on Tuesday evenings. It's not Japanese owned or run, so don't expect a boisterous "Irashai!" when you come in, but the service is friendly and the food is good and inexpensive.
The miso soup that came with my combo. It was pretty good, not too watered down, lots of tofu and negi that sank to the bottom. Temperature was perfect (sometimes you get some restaurants that make it boiling hot and impossible to drink for a long time).
Vegetable Box $9.95.
Various vegetarian rolls. This was not a combo, just individually ordered.
$11.95 Box E
For $12.85, I got the Seafood Bento Box. It may not look like a lot to someone who's really hungry, but I was quite full by the time I was done.
My friend ordered a spider roll(deep-fried soft-shelled crab), a couple of peices of unagi and tamago, which he said was really good.
The ebi sunomono was chock-full of shrimp. Compared to some all-you-can-eat places like Aji-Taro's Ebi Sunomono
The assorted sashimi was pretty fresh. Freshness has never been an issue at this place, and the assortment in my Seafood box was decent.
Grilled bacon-wrapped prawns, good drinking food.
I was pretty happy with my Seafood Bento. Even the rolls were decent, not too much rice loaded on the outside. But I don't often get a bento when we go to Kishu/Blue Star. After practice, our usual order to go with a couple of cold ones is Shoft-Shelled Crab, Ebi Gyoza, Beef Yakisoba, Edamame, an assortment of pickles, maybe a few cones and Assorted Sushi Combo D, which comes with tuna, salmon, squid (one of my sensei's favourites), ebi, tamago, red snapper and salmon and california roll. It's almost last call by the time we get there after practice, but the staff are still very friendly and are never in a rush to get us out, even though they've long turned off the "open" sign. Great customer service.
Ok, so Blue Star isn't authentic Japanese, big deal. Some people love to moan about this, going on and on about it and always insisting on having the "real deal". But the real deal isn't always in your best interest if your income is average like mine. The more I hear about places like Tojo's, the more it pisses me off. $24 for a BC Roll???? WTF????? That's just robbery. If millionaire movie stars want to blow all their dough at places like this, or yuppie try-hards want to be seen in some place trendy and fancy, that's their business. Places like Octopus Garden and Yuji's are already pushing my willingess to part with my money.
Since I live in Vancouver, I have come to terms with the fact that I will never have sushi (or ramen for that matter) as good as I've experienced in Japan (see Edokko Sushi for example), but overall, it's not too bad here in Vancouver. As my buddy and restaurant owner once told me, most restaurants get all their fish stock from the same supplier. Only a few will special order from out of town, and there's where your premium comes from - shipping.
Places like Blue Star, or Sushi King, or even Samurai Sushi aren't all that bad. Since they all get their supplies from the same place, it all boils down to a few things: How long they keep their stock in inventory, how they store food, and do they cut the fish to order, or pre-cut and leave everything in the fridge? Stay away from all-you-can-eat places because they precut everything and their willingness to overstock and leave stuff out for long periods of time is well known.
If I want to kick it up a notch and go a little more authentic without blowing a hole in your wallet, then check out places like Aoki or Oyasato. Anything more costly than that, and I'd rather for my next trip to Japan. Blue Star does not have all-you-can eat on their menu, and thank God for that. One of my favourite restaurants went on the all-you-can-eat band wagon (Aji Taro) and it's pretty much been downhill for them since then.