• MAIN STREET EATS

    Main Street Eats: Ogenki Sushi

    Overall Rating 9/10

    4342 Main St, Vancouver, BC 
    604-875-9975
    Monday 11:00am – 9:30pm
    Tuesday 11:00am – 9:30pm
    Wednesday 11:00am – 9:30pm
    Thursday 11:00am – 9:30pm  
    Friday 11:00am – 10:00pm
    Saturday 11:30am – 10:00pm           
    Sunday 11:30am – 9:30pm
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    Sushi is the one thing our family can eat any day of the week and any time of the day. Lucky for us, we live in one of the best cities for quality sushi in the world. Ogenki Sushi lived up to the Vancouver sushi hype.
    Originally we were supposed to go to Shameful Tiki Room, but they were reserved well in advance and are not kid friendly so we will go another time when we can go without kids and make a reservation. The place looks very cool inside so we’re excited to go.
    Back to the sushi. Ogenki Sushi looks small from the street but it is two storefronts together to make it bigger. There are a total of maybe 10 tables in the whole restaurant but the kitchen was going the whole time we were there presumably for take out and delivery. They offer their own delivery for $3 (within 3km and $25 min purchase) and also use SkiptheDishes, Foodora and JustEat.
    We were sat in the corner with half bench half chair seating. Ogenki has a large menu like most sushi restaurants around town. They also have special lunch and dinner menus. (Scroll to the end of the menu in the link to see them.) These menus offer a great variety for an affordable price and is what we ordered when we went.
    We were quickly served tea and soon made our order. We ordered:
    Dinner Special – Spicy Tuna Roll, Chicken Teriyaki on Rice, Gyoza
    Assorted Tempura
    Custom Poke Bowl – Spicy Tuna, Edamame, Wasabi Peas, Cilantro, Pineapple, Avocado (+$1), Tomato, Cucumber, Corn, White Rice
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    Ogenki recently added a Poke menu that you can customize or order from their set poke selections. We made a custom one and ordered a large (three scoops of protein) for $14.95 ($13.95 plus $1 avocado).
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    The above photo is what our table looked like after getting our dinner order and before our poke bowl. All of this was very quick to come to our table as things usually are at sushi restaurants we find. There was nothing on this table that we would complain about. Even the salad, which we usually skip, was tasty. The gyozas were nice and crispy on the outside with well cooked pork filling on the inside and a nice sauce to add that little bit more. The tempura was crunchy on the outside with soft veggies on the inside as it should be. The chicken teriyaki on rice was just as we expected it to be, chicken with teriyaki sauce on white rice, pretty hard to screw that one up and they didn’t. The miso soup started our meal off nicely. The spicy tuna roll, a particular favourite of our family was excellent. Typically we prefer when the tuna itself it tossed in the spicy sauce, this tuna wasn’t but for whatever reason it didn’t bother us like it usually does. The tuna tasted fresh and the sauce had the right amount of kick to it to fire up your taste buds.
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    Once the poke bowl came we were pretty full and this bowl was huge! Determined to finish everything we went to work on it. It wasn’t hard to finish this beast because it was so delicious. If you look at what we put into it it was a pretty bis mishmash of ingredients but somehow they worked together beautifully. The corn and cucumber gave a good crunch, the pineapple gave a nice sweetness, the spicy sauce gave some kick and together with the rest of the ingredients everything came together to make an extremely tasty poke bowl that we would eat again right now if we could.
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    The prices were not bad at all either. Our whole meal, before tip and tax came to about $40. Considering how stuffed we were when we left we figured that was excellent value for what we got.
    The restaurant was excellent with the kids, too. They had many high chairs which they brought right away along with a booster seat for Nixon to sit on the bench with me. They brought Nixon his own little water and whenever that happens we know that the restaurant knows how to deal with kids well. The other guests in the restaurant were very welcoming to a family with kids joining their section and overall we felt very welcomed in the restaurant with the boys in tow.
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    The one negative would be the service. While the service was good, it was infrequent, we had to ask for more drink twice between them taking our order and them clearing our plates. We wished they had come back to check in on us.
    There are many more sushi and Japanese restaurants along the route in the coming months but Ogenki definitely set the bar high.

    Food 9.5/10 – sushi is best fresh and nothing on our plates felt like it wasn’t

    Service 7.5/10 – they took great care of the kids and were prompt with their service. Would like them to come check in on us more often

    Kid friendliness 9/10 – excellent service to the kids, had high chairs and booster seats

    Decor 7.5/10 – pretty typical for a sushi restaurant with light coloured wood everywhere

    Value 8.5/10 – no issue with any of the prices and the combos provide excellent value

     

    Never stop adventuring!
  • LIFE

    A Night Out To Celebrate: Georgian Court Hotel Review

    Right before Christmas we got to celebrate Sam’s 30th birthday. She wrote about what 30 feels like to her in this post. I had been planning this night for months and certain things I would need other people to come through on to make it happen. One of those “people” was Best Western. More specifically, the Georgian Court Hotel (GCH) in Vancouver. Unfortunately, they didn’t.

    I started planning this birthday back in October and was super excited because it would be a night that would never happen unless it was a truly special occasion, like a 30th birthday. I invited 2 other couples that we are very close with to come down and celebrate with us. I booked each couple a room at the Georgian Court Hotel and paid with points during Best Western’s 10,000 points promo. The GCH is marketed as a Best Western Premier hotel, their top category of hotels meant to be their version of luxury.

    I hold Diamond Select status with Best Western, their highest category of status which comes with a complimentary upgrade if availability allows, thank you gift or bonus points upon arrival amongst other things. Neither of those were offered to us unfortunately even though there was availability. I did end up getting the points well after the night though.

    I had emailed the hotel, called corporate and called the hotel ahead of time to remind them it was a special occasion and see if they could do anything special for us. When we arrived and checked in and I noticed none of the benefits for Diamond Select members were being offered to us I knew right away they had dropped the ball. Most places when you tell them it is a special occasion will leave chocolates, a fruit basket, bottle of wine or something. A card at minimum. As we opened the door to our room I eagerly looked to the bed to see what they had left us. Nothing. Nope, not even a card. I was really disappointed because I was hoping to surprise Sam with some gift right off the bat but unfortunately Best Western didn’t come through for me. Now if you feel like I’m being a snobby status-holder please understand I’m well aware that there is no obligation on the part of Best Western to do anything. I get that. That being said, most places usually do something. As you will read about in a future post, I took Sam downtown the following weekend just the two of us and that other hotel chain really knows luxury and how to serve their guests right. Best Western just isn’t in the same class of service.

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    The room itself was fine. It had been updated and modernized, that much was apparent. The bathroom was a decent size with a rather large shower that could easily fit two people. The shower was my favourite as it had good water pressure and one shower head and then a detachable shower head. I spent way too much time in there. In the room was also a desk and nice office chair and a chaise under the window. Our room looked right at BC Place which I think was the only nice “view” the hotel could offer because the backside faced an alley.

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    The robes were cheap and it was obvious. They were thin and scratchy which were not comfortable to wear down to the hot tub. There is no pool at this hotel but they do have both a steam room and a sauna.

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    One rather disturbing thing we found was that when cleaning the rooms at GCH, housekeeping definitely cuts corners. We moved one of the ottomans that was beside to the TV closer to the bed to play a game and behind it we found an old pen, tons of dust and garbage. Obviously it hasn’t been moved and cleaned behind in a while and that was somewhat disturbing.

     

    One nice gesture was that every room had a Nespresso machine and water that were complimentary. Unfortunately, one of our rooms had no coffee available. After calling down to the front desk to request some it took forever so that couple never got their coffee and just came to our room.

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    All in all, the hard product (the actual hotel itself) was fine. Nicely updated and mostly clean with an amazing shower. The soft product (service, food, etc) left lots to desired as it was way below par with empty coffee machines and nothing done for the special occasion.

    Would I come back? Not if I was paying for it. Our room that night would have cost $281. For that amount of money you can go somewhere way nicer and get much better service. Luckily I paid with points but even still I’m upset at what those points actually got us. My advice is to go elsewhere and get something that is actually luxury. Next week we will write about our actual luxury experience at another downtown Vancouver hotel.

    Never stop adventuring!

  • MAIN STREET EATS

    Main Street Eats: Haiyi Seafood Restaurant

    Overall Rating 4.5/5

    4818 Main St, Vancouver, BC 
    (604) 321-4448

    7 days a week 9:30am – 10:30pm

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    We’re back. We hope you all had a great holiday break and got to spend time with friends and family. We took the break to do just that which is why you haven’t see a Main Street Eats post from us in a while.

    This week we went to Haiyi Seafood Restaurant. As you can see from the picture it is located in a very tiny strip mall, if you can even call it that, and it takes up one half of it.

    Haiyi Seafood Restaurant is a dim sum restaurant. For those who don’t know what that means it means that they have a very large menu of dishes that are meant to be shared. This is why you get a large menu and tick off the items your table wants. When the food comes to your table it is placed on a big lazy Susan and you take what you wish from whatever dish is in front of you. You then spin the lazy Susan clockwise to the next dish and so on. This was our first time in a traditional dim sum restaurant. I remember growing up and seeing them in Richmond Centre and always wanting to go in but that was never my family’s style, we were Chinese take out white folk.

    My cousin and her boyfriend joined us for this venture and it was a great time. We were the only white people in the restaurant but, as we’ve experienced all along this journey, that didn’t affect our service or how we were treated, nor did we expect it to. The gentleman who served us was amazing. So great with the kids, constantly trying to get Nixon to laugh, which he finally did before we left and it was a cute moment for both of them.

    Their menu is extensive with precisely 264 items. We forgot to take a picture, we are going back to get a picture and will update the post for you. So, picking items to eat was difficult indeed. In the end, we decided on the following:

    Steamed Shrimp Dumplings

    House Special Fried Vermicelli

    Sweet & Sour Pork

    Spicy Green Beans

    BBQ Pork Sticky Buns

    Spicy Fried Halibut

    Shrimp Spring Rolls

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    Everything was delicious. There is nothing that we ordered that I wouldn’t order again. The shrimp dumplings were exactly what you would expect and he dumpling was perfectly cooked as was the shrimp. They were a good size too, definitely not one-bite dumplings. The house special fried vermicelli was also excellent. Definitely on the spicy side which we weren’t expecting from the description but as you know by now, we love spicy so that was not a pleasant surprise, for some of you it may not be. The sweet & sour pork is the one thing we can order that we will always be familiar with and it’s hard to screw up so it’s really a safety order for us, it was delicious. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a bad sweet & sour pork. Spicy green beans have to be one of my all time favourite hot veggie dishes so it wasn’t up for discussion, we were getting them; as with everything else, delicious. Not too spicy but a perfect balance of spiciness and saltiness. BBQ pork sticky buns are a traditional dim sum menu item so we had to get them. They were sticky alright. None of us could get a whole bun out of the steamer basket in one piece so we just picked at it in parts. The bun doesn’t have a ton of taste but the filling is what you’re after and the BBQ pork was so yummy. Not too sweet but it did have some sweetness that was nicely balances by the BBQ flavour which brought the savoury side. The spicy fried halibut was a big question mark for us. We had no idea what to expect and it came in little two-bite sized pieces. This is where the one negative of the menu came in, there were bones in them. On my first bite I bit into something hard, I figured it was a bone and this was an unpleasant surprise. I’m not sure if this is traditional but it was annoying having to be hesitant with every bite no knowing when you might chomp down on a bone. The halibut itself was nice and flaky and the spicy crust on the outside made it a great bite. The shrimp spring rolls were as expected, a nice crunchy, flaky outside with well cooked shrimp inside and a nice sauce to accompany it.

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    The food was excellent, other than the bones in the halibut we have no complaints. The portion size was very generous also.

    The service was excellent and the servers were back to top up waters and make sure we were doing alright but they didn’t come back so much that it got annoying. I’m sure we’ve all been to a restaurant where the server comes back so much that you just want to tell him or her “we’re good, you don’t need to come back every 5 minutes. If we need something we will let you know.” That didn’t happen here.

    The value we received here was average, we wouldn’t say it was great but it was right in the middle. The food was good which can justify the slightly above-average prices but we still felt the prices were a couple dollars higher per dish than they should have been. That being said, price would not deter us from returning to Haiyi as everything was excellent.

    Food 4.5/5 – no bones in the halibut and this is a 5/5

    Service 5/5 – perfect, it doesn’t get any better than this

    Kid friendliness – high chair, no kids menu but the kids ate what we ate

    Decor 4.5/5 – very elegant with white draped chairs and big glass lazy Susans

    Value 4/5 – portions were generous and the food was good but a couple dollar high per dish

    Never stop adventuring!