Dream Sushi Haiku
Hunger on Main street
The short devils shout and yell
I run with sushi
I am hard pressed to think of a time that I was more relieved to order takeout than during my visit to Dream Sushi. It’s not that the restaurant was unsightly, or that the staff was uninviting. Neither did it have anything to do with an ugly bathroom, or a televised event taking place during my visit. It had to do with copious amounts of children.
As I waited for the chefs to prepare the order for Melanie and myself I did a brief headcount, which was difficult given the amount of screaming going on. At 12 toddlers to 19 adults, the ratio of caretakers to children was teetering on the edge of what I consider to be a social hazard. With tiny bodies racing about and incessant hollering in my ears I waited inside the restaurant while Melanie stayed outside, keeping company with a dog she found. The waiting area was too small to be of practical use, so I stood awkwardly in the middle of the room, which was densely packed with tables and chairs. Looking around in an effort to take a mental breather from the moment, I noticed more ties to children. Every wall was plastered with crummy doodles of rolls and cringe worthy poems about sushi, further bombarding my mind with the idea that I was standing in a daycare centre that moonlighted as a sushi restaurant. Outside of this, the décor was appropriate, and made the best use of the limited space available.
The woman working the till seemed stressed (and I don’t blame her), but did her best as she passed my order on to me. More than anything else I was relieved to finally be able to sever my ties to a room filled with parents who did not make a priority of keeping their children in line while out to dinner. With children screaming, climbing over booths, and causing a general mess of things, I was surprised at the lack of attention any of the adults in the room gave. It was as if they were nonchalantly one-upping each other to see who could care the least about what their kids were doing. Finally free of our commitment, we took our sushi on a little drive, romanced it with careful unpacking, and laid it out on the table.
Normally outside of our sushi ordering patterns, we felt inclined to get a little trashy and have a California roll tossed in the fryer. I tend to see this sort of thing as a novelty, and do not especially enjoy how it takes the normally cool flavours of the mayo and avocado and warms them up. It is, however, exactly how one would expect it to be, so do not interpret the above as a complaint. Still, I would recommend the regular variety of California roll in its place, or one of the “real crab” versions they serve for a little extra pocket change if you’re looking to avoid the imitation meat. Also worth mentioning is that it was nice to have most of the rolls packed separately, as this one was particularly hot and did not pass along its warmth to the other rolls.
The dynamite roll was tightly packed with two prawn tails and avocado, with a dusting of black sesame seeds on top. Freshly prepared, the tempura batter was of appropriate crispiness and gave the sort of textural feedback you expect from something deep fried. While not a standout roll, it did the trick and properly represented the key ingredients a dynamite roll is known for.
Negitoro rolls are remarkably simple, but usually tend to hold in a lot of flavour in spite of the basic components. Dream Sushi’s version of the roll is no different, with the green onion accenting the natural flavours of the fresh tuna in a nearly piercing fashion. Always part of my sushi experience, the negitoro roll at Dream Sushi is something I will surely accent a future dining experience with again.
Spicy salmon rolls tend to come in many varieties at the discretion of the chef. Many times it is nothing more than salmon maki with spicy sauce rolled in, and while that can be satisfying, I’ve come to expect a bit more from spicy variations of rolls as of late. The roll I obtained during this visit satisfied this craving, as the fish was lightly whipped with a creamy spicy sauce, and then topped with more.
A tofu roll, by its very nature, isn’t something I would expect to be flavourful. The pieces I ate fell in line with this expectation, and while I doubt I would order it again, I can see why it still holds a place on the menu. With large pieces of tofu, it was clean and tight, and it presented a break from the stronger flavours of the spicy salmon and deep fried California rolls.
If I was not restricted to a $10 budget, I would have been interested in trying some of their more unique rolls, but they come in at close to $9 per. None the less, while not especially filling, the rolls we did have from Dream Sushi came across well, resulting in an establishment I can see myself returning to in the future. Here’s hoping it’s quieter next time.
Quality rolls and kind service meet you in a charming but cramped setting. You may want to consider takeout if you like space.
Dream Sushi, 4401 Main Street, Vancouver
Tofu roll, deep fried California roll, spicy salmon roll, negitoro roll, and a dynamite roll
$18.55 split two ways = $9.28 before tax.