Sushi Explorations #2: YOKOZUNA (Riverbend Square)

It was a warm Fall evening and I was flying solo for dinner. Couldn’t think of a better way to spend the evening than continuing my search for good sushi in Edmonton.

I contemplated hitting up one of the places on my growing list of Edmonton sushi restaurants, but felt adventurous and decided to try my luck via Yelp and Urbanspoon apps, Yokozuna on 106 St came up as a place with 4 stars from 5 reviews (Yelp) and 89% out of 82 votes like it (Urbanspoon). All 3 locations of Yokozuna are owned by one owner, and they have a location in Riverbend, which is just 10 minutes away from us – *ding ding ding* Winner, winner, sushi dinner!

Yokozuna Riverbend Square

The 10 minutes drive turned into 20 as I tried to find the right plaza on Rabbit Hill (trials and tribulations of learning a new city). My first sight of the bright Yokozuna neon sign was met with relief and excitement.

Walking into the restaurant, first impression was that of a clean and fairly new shop. I was greeted with green tea and a 5-6 page menu. Yokozuna has quite a good offering of cooked items, spanning 2 pages. The overall sashimi and sushi selection was decent but outside of the typical rolls, temaki, and sashimi, Yokozuna only offered four “House Rolls” with more unique flavours. I was also disappointed not to see Uni on the menu.

My order for the evening:

  • Half-order Salmon & Toro Sashimi
  • Naruto Sushi
  • Chop Chop Roll
  • Mango Roll

Traditionally at Japanese restaurants, raw items are to be eaten first so I was glad that the half-order Salmon and Toro sashimi arrived to my table first. A half-order includes 3 pieces of each fish, averagely priced for the Alberta market at $14. The salmon sashimi was decently sized and firm, it looked and tasted like Atlantic salmon to me but there was no mention on the menu and the server didn’t seem to know. The toro slices were a bit thin and cut jaggedly underneath (not a good sign). They were covered in green onions, which makes me wonder, “What are you trying to hide in the flavour?” The fish didn’t taste too badly but it did have a fishy taste and yes the green onions did take away that fishiness.

Naruto Roll & Chop Chop Nigiri Sushi

The Chop chop nigiri ($5.50) tasted bland to me right off the hopper. After taking it apart, I realized the scallop mixture was actually quite tasty and fresh, but the underseasoned rice took away from the flavour.

The Naruto roll ($13.50) was made with cream cheese, unagi, and avocado, it was topped with thinly sliced smoked salmon. The combo of ingredients sounded great in concept but the ingredient to rice ratio was poorly balanced. I found there was too much rice and as already mentioned the rice was underseasoned, which also made this roll taste quite bland.

Mango Roll

The Mango roll ($12.95) came out next and looked quite beautiful, inside the roll was cream cheese, tempura prawn, and tobiki. The swirl of coral coloured salmon and yellow mangoes on the outside was a gorgeous sight. 

The one technical downfall is that the end pieces were only half stuffed with the ingredients, perhaps would be better served if the sushi chef had trimmed the parts of the end that was just rice and seaweed.

Again, I found the ratio of ingredients unbalanced. I can’t even believe I’m going to make this next statement, but there was too much cream cheese. Yes, I, someone who has been known to devour spoonfuls of cream cheese on its own thought there was too much cream cheese in the roll. If you look at the photo above, you’ll see the amount of cream cheese was slightly more than the size of the tempura prawn. Because the prawn flavour is quite delicate, that amount of cream cheese (and under-seasoned rice) really over shadowed all other flavours. By my second piece, cream cheese and rice was all I tasted.

Bottom line, the house-created sushi rolls sounded great in concept. The ingredients all seem to be chosen and paired well but the execution of the rolls was its downfall – poorly cooked rice and poor balance of ingredients.

The bill for my dinner came to $57 after tax and tip. I did order two types of “House Rolls”, which are higher-priced items but considering the quality of the rolls wasn’t up-to-par, this dinner feels a bit too expensive.

Here’s how the evening at Yokozuna tallied up:

RATINGS:

1. Variety – 3 / 5

2. Quality & Freshness – 2.5 / 5

3. Rice – 1 / 5

4. Price – 2.5 / 5

5. Overall Service & Experience – 3 / 5

TOTAL: 12 / 25

In the end, even though I was hungry, I wrapped up half my dinner for D, my not-so-sushi-picky boyfriend. I decided the sushi wasn’t worth calories and went for frozen yogurt instead. 

I’d be curious to hear if the quality is better at other Yokozuna locations, especially as the 106 St location received pretty good reviews. If you have been to other Yokozuna locations, please drop me a comment and let me know if it’s worth checking out.

Yokozuna (Riverbend Sq) Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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Categories: EDMONTON EATERIES, SUSHI EXPLORATION (YEG)

7 Comments on “Sushi Explorations #2: YOKOZUNA (Riverbend Square)”

  1. December 4, 2011 at 8:20 pm #

    Good review! I like the fact that you’re not afraid to dine alone. Good role models for women : )

    • December 5, 2011 at 8:59 am #

      Thanks for checking out the post! I learned in my early 20s that between moving alone to a new city and traveling 3 weeks every month for work, I better get comfortable being alone. But having said that, although I have no issues eating alone in restaurants… I still feel a little strange watching a movie in the theatre alone.

  2. January 20, 2012 at 9:22 am #

    I just stumbled upon your blog and love it!! Just turned out that I ate Yokozuna on 106 St and my expectations were not meet. Here is my own rating:

    1. Variety – 2 / 5
    2. Quality & Freshness – 2 / 5
    3. Rice – 1 / 5
    4. Price – 2 / 5
    5. Overall Service & Experience – 2 / 5

    • January 20, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

      Hi Pragati,

      Thanks so much for stopping by and checking out my blog. Seems like we had very similar experiences at Yokozuna. Where do you go for sushi in Edmonton? I’ve tried Wasabi, Mikado (South), Kyoto, Furusato, Yokozuna, Ichiban… right now Wasabi wins for traditional quality but Ichiban overall for variety, quality, overall experience.

  3. Sunita Merry
    January 31, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

    Carmen- the BEST and in our opinion, ONLY place for sushi in Edmonton is MATSUYA ! Its not technically in Edmonton, its in Sherwood Park, but whatever- It is Amazing!!! Worth the drive out to Sherwood Park. It is the freshest sushi you can get here and its the closes we have had to BC Sushi. Try the Volcano and Oiler rolls- delicious! Like you, we tried Wasabi and Yokozuna and many others when we first moved here b/c people we knew recommended them but we were always disappointed with the high priced and very poor quality sushi- always too much cream cheese or mayo and not fresh. But after going to Matsuya, we have been happy to finally have a regular sushi place! You will love it

    • February 7, 2012 at 12:45 am #

      Hey Sunita – it was so nice to see you last week. I will have to check out Matsuya. Thanks so much for the rec.

  4. sajida
    March 11, 2012 at 10:48 am #

    Im going to check out Matsuya too!! Thanks Sunita for the recomendation. We have lived here almost 3 years (from Vancouver) and have yet to find something we REALLY like!

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