Tanpopo – mediocre sushi, mediocre service, but a larger than average selection.
Add: 1122 Denman (near Pendrell), Vancouver
Mediocre sushi at affordable prices! What more could you want? The real point of going to Tanpopo seems to be the all you can eat ($24). The food may be uninspired but at least the menu is comprehensive. Sashimi, sushi, cones, maki, salads, starters, tempura, gyoza, robata, udon…and so forth. Everything at Tanpopo is super standard the only things that deviate from the japanese-canadian norm is the fact that they serve wild salmon sashimi in bite sized pieces. The one really impressive thing at Tanpopo is the option of the late night AYCE – which costs a mere $8 for a restricted menu. Eight dollars for AYCE?! Now, that is an excellent deal, even if the food is pedestrian. Tanpopo is a good place to take people who are unsure of japanese foods (e.g. my grandma, your kids, Mr. Burns) because there is such a big selection. Someone scared of raw fish can happily munch away on gyoza, spinach salad, tempura veggies, chicken katsue, tonkatsue, teriyaki beef, skewers of chicken, noodle soups,and so forth – never having to fear that they will accidentally end up eating something that is raw or from hauled in from the depths of the mysterious ocean. But as well all know, a restaurant that will cater to everyone’s tastes tends to serve dishes that end up being blandly agreeable.
As per usual I went around the table asking all my companions what they thought of the food, here are their assorted comments:
KS- It was okay, not good, but okay.
CS- We should have gone for burgers instead.
CM- It’s better than I thought it would be.
MS- A good place to take your kids. — I agree with this statement wholeheartedly since Tanpopo is totally relaxed casual and children’s AYCE prices are usually determined by age. So, it’ll cost like $4 for your 5 year-old to eat as much sashimi as they can cram into their little mouths.
My overall comment for Tanpopo is basically this:
This is actually my ‘No, thank you’ face.
And, in a more general sense, since every AYCE place is almost exactly the same — this is what happens to my mouth if you ask if I want to go for all you can eat:
This is my ‘Maybe, but probably not’ face.
I know, you’re all saying “But Lynn, AYCE is such a good deal! You can just eat and eat and eat as much as you want!” Like this is some sort of amazing bargain? I think not.
What is it with the All You Can Eat rage these days? It seems like that all people want when it’s time to go out. Is it really that good? Not exactly — top quality places don’t ever offer AYCE only mediocre places that use too much rice and not enough fish. Is there no other way to get full? No, especially since AYCE usually cost somewhere between $20 and 25$. It’s just a good way to get over-full and contribute to N. America’s overweight issue. Why do we feel the need to stuff our guts at every opportunity? Perhaps we are planning an arduous journey – like a trek across the mountains in the 1800’s… or maybe we’re all one step away from being homeless and we don’t know when our next meal is coming….or maybe we just have the mindset of overfed spoiled Westerners. Whatever the case, I am always weary of the AYCE rage that’s taken all my friends by storm. I can also eat as much rice as I want at home for mere pennies a bowl. But you don’t see me doing this all the time.
Okay, enough of that. Back to the fact that I was sorta reviewing Tanpopo.
Tanpopo: not bad, not good. Not anything. You might as well be eating out of a tv tray if it wasn’t for the saving grace of the wild salmon sashimi. Tanpopo is pretty darn affordable – but there’s a reason for that. Corners appear to be cut everywhere – service, decor, food quality, etc. But it’s still popular – it seems as though someone will ask me to go there every other week. People I respect are constantly telling me that Tanpopo is good, and there are only so many arguments one can get into over the alleged greatness (or lack thereof) of a restaurant. I do submissively get dragged back to Tanpopo once in a while despite my love of face-making.
Reservations: aren’t really necessary unless it’s a weekend night.
Open: 11.30am – 12.30am daily
Bonus: The patio is big and good times in the summer sun.
I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I
Camera Obscura – My maudlin career
Starts out strong, but sorta slips into a quiet forgetful nothingness.
Stars – Sad robots
Just like AYCE — hard to find EPs are never as good as you’ve built them up to be in your head. Though, thread cut with a carving knife is a lovely song.