By Molly Randhawa
VANCOUVER — It’s a chill afternoon following a steady lunch rush at Carp Sushi + Bento. Ska music is playing over the speakers as I walk over to the corner of the small restaurant to grab myself an iced tea from the dispenser. Upon entering, you get the vibe that you’re walking into a friend’s space where you’re immediately welcomed. With the abundance of sushi spots in the lower mainland, I could tell this would soon become a favourite.
The restaurant itself is decorated in Hiroshima Toyo Carp memorabilia, a baseball team in Japan’s Central League. You can sense the pride in Yuki Matsumura’s voice as he grabs the team’s magnet off the fridge and expresses his admiration for the sport and his hometown. Matsumura immigrated to Canada from Hiroshima in 2012 and was hired by Coast Restaurant, owned by Glowbal Group. After four years at Coast, Matsumura decided to become his own boss. He explains how Carp, which just celebrated its one-year anniversary last month, has taken off recently. With just Matsumura and his wife in the shop on most days, he stressed the importance of creating a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere while providing timely service and quality dishes.
Matsumura prepared me a new dish on the menu — the Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl, a traditional Hawaiian seafood dish that consists of marinated bite-sized pieces of tuna and avocado on rice. He paired this with the gomae-ae, which was seasoned with sesame seeds, peanut sauce and candied salmon, a personal favourite of mine. Delving straight into the poke bowl, I was pleasantly surprised by its citrusy yet light taste. It’s the perfect summer dish — refreshing, crunchy (because of the rice cracker flakes and sesame seeds) and, most importantly, it’s filling. By the end of the bowl, I was satisfied but I wasn’t about to stop eating. Next, I tried the Tuna Tataki Roll, the Sea Eel + Candied Salmon Roll, and the classic Spicy Salmon Roll. These were literally some of the best rolls I’ve had in a while. The Sea Eel + Candied Salmon is the perfect combination of flavours, a must try.
Carp is conveniently located down the street from the Biltmore Cabaret and behind Kingsgate Mall. It’s the perfect spot to check out before a show or on your lunch break.
Carp is located at 2516 Prince Edward St. and is open Monday – Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.BC, British Columbia, Carp Sushi + Bento, food and drink, sushi