Sushi Queen Izakaya
Following the recent surge of Izakaya offerings around the city, Sushi Queen has opened up a new branch at the corner of Elm and Bay that serves its extensive sushi-focused menu throughout the day but features a variety of small plates and grilled specialties from 4pm onwards.
While it has only been open for a few weeks, Sushi Queen Izakaya already seems to have their act together evidenced by the speed and efficiency of the service - especially considering the staggering variety of options on the menu. There are two pages dedicated to appetizers alone and volumes of mains and specialties. Lunch specials, which range from $7 to $12, include standards like sashimi, sushi, tempura and teriyaki served in bento boxes with soup and salad. (lunch service is from 11:30am to 3:00pm)
We're in the mood for variety and something new, so we start with the Gold Dragon Roll
($7.95 - top photo) which combines fried shrimp, cucumber, avocado, tobiko (flying fish roe) and mayo with a sizeable chunk of salmon on top. Everything is fresh and the flavours are delicately balanced with the salmon serving as the anchor.
The Mix BBQ set ($5.50) is a sumptuous medley of skewered scallops, chicken, shrimp and mushrooms with grilled Teriyaki sauce and flanked by grilled zucchini and peppers. This is quintessential Izakaya fare and the chicken, which is perfectly grilled outside yet moist and tasty on the inside, really makes this dish. The scallops offer a distinct sweetness while the large shrimps are grilled firm and suitably salty.
Yaki-Nasu ($3.95) is a large barbecued eggplant with shaved carrots, scallions and sauce and is a good vegetarian option. Grilled eggplant tastes amazing, especially when done right. Sushi Queen's version has that great smoky flavour without being too dry.
Black Cod ($4.50) is served grilled with crispy skin. Its taste is pure buttery goodness. We just wished the piece of cod was a bit bigger because it sure didn't last long.
Up next is the Croquette ($2.50) - deep fried mashed potato filled with corn, carrots and peas served on a bed of alfalfa sprouts. This is fried to a golden perfection while the center remains soft and fluffy. Our only complaint is that it's served very hot and almost burnt our mouths.
There's still space for dessert and we're given a cold tofu custard that tastes surprisingly like our favourite Portugese egg tart only this is creamier and not as sweet.
Sushi Queen offers a superb Izakaya experience where variety and good value is the key. The best thing about it? $28.00 before the tip for all that food and no long lines to wait through.
Monday to Friday 11:30 am to 11:00 pm
Saturday 12:00 pm to 11:00 pm
Sunday 12:00 pm to 10:30