Boyle McCauley News

Since 1979 • April-May 2024 • Circulation 5000


Fresh Sushi From a Pizza Place?

Beef tataki. Alan Schietzsch
Located in: Royal Pizza Hys Centre
Address: #102, 11010 – 101 Street
Phone: 780-800-9975
Hours: Tues.-Sat.: 11 a.m.–3 p.m., 5–8 p.m.
Sundays: 11a.m.–7:30 p.m.
Monday: Closed

My tummy’s starting to ask for food, and sure enough, I pull out my smartphone and scroll around the map to see what local restaurant I might not have visited lately. What’s this? There’s sushi nearby, from a place I haven’t even heard of? And I thought I knew local food.

I look again at the location on the map…is that in the Hys Centre? I stroll over to 101 Street. Yes, there’s Royal Pizza right there, but on looking closer there’s a little sign for on the same door! I poke my head in. It looks like a pizza place, mostly doing take-out, which is no surprise during the pandemic. So I ask, “Is there sushi here?”

The bright and friendly server behind the counter comes out to answer my questions. While it is a restaurant with tables for dining in, it turns out they’re mostly making food ordered via those online delivery services like DoorDash and UberEats. Chefs running “almost secret” restaurants like this call these places “ghost kitchens.” During the pandemic these kitchens have flourished as people couldn’t dine out as usual.

Are ghost kitchens as good as they are numerous? You bet! This one space is two different ghost kitchens – and – sharing the same large commercial kitchen with their friends who run Royal Pizza. Each of the three has separate menus you can find online or pick up in person. I was already there, so sat down to look at the menu.

The fare is billed as “creative high quality food.” That translates to a wide menu with various combinations of maki rolls, smaller hoso maki, separate nigiri sushi pieces, side orders like tempura, miso soup, and edamame beans, as well as a few more unique items.

The beef tataki appetizer was a hit, and I was amazed at the presentation, which was more beautiful to look at than the menu photos promised. How often does that ever happen? The beef slices were cooked to a perfect rare, cut consistently thin, accompanied by kabayaki dipping sauce and artfully twirled vegetable garnishes straight out of a glossy gourmet magazine. This wasn’t just “take-out quality” food: it was top quality, fresh, and better-looking than many fancy expensive places.

I asked for recommendations on maki rolls, and tried the “super crunch roll,” which genuinely was creative as promised. Using smoked salmon from Fin’s seafood, the chef had combined crispy yam for texture and a sriracha aioli to offset the smoke with a tangy counterpoint. It was modern, fresh, and fun, and certainly not your now boring old-school sushi. The next selection, the “lobster sensation roll” was just as attractive and tasty, with mango and scallion rounding out the flavours and lightening the rich lobster and crabmeat.

Everything I tried was beautifully arranged and garnished, with unexpectedly modern and elegant styling as well as fresh and varied flavours.

If you’re in the area or just want to order something conveniently, is a hidden secret that’s worth knowing about, and I hope they’re a part of the McCauley food scene for the long term.

Alan lives in McCauley. He is the Chair of the paper’s Board of Directors.

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