8109 101 Street NW, Edmonton
When Maki Maki first opened back in 2009, they weren’t getting the greatest of reviews, so I was a bit reluctant to try it, but I eventually decided to try it for myself with my friend, Christina. They won the Golden Fork awards two years consecutively in 2013 and again in 2014 for best sushi, so I think they may have improved since their opening but then in the last few years, it seems to be reverting back. The one thing, however, that I can say about Maki Maki is that if you really want sushi at 9-10 PM at night (which I have been guilty of on occasion), there really isn’t anywhere else to go. (Except maybe Izakaya Tomo! If you’re willing to make the drive).
Anyways, when you first walk into Maki Maki, there’s a lounge to your left and the restaurant to your right. You can book private functions at the lounge, but it’s been relatively empty every time I go, so I’ve always gone over to the restaurant side. It’s right off Whyte ave to the south, and right beside an A&Ws The inside of the restaurant is relatively nice for an Asian restaurant. It looks recently renovated, and the furniture/booths are still in good condition.
I’m not so sure if this is a type of ‘fusion’ restaurant by definition, because they just serve both types of cuisines, instead of elements from cuisines in one dish. The problem with that is that their menu is enormous to contain both types of cuisines. I typically stick with their sushi and Japanese food because I tend to be hard on Vietnamese cuisine, but I decided that I’d try it out that day (along with some rolls of course).
One of the rolls I always get is the caterpillar roll. It’s an unagi roll with avocado wrapped around it. This one occasion I had it, it was a little bit light on unagi and a bit heavy on rice. It still tasted good, but I just wish there was a little bit more unagi. I would have to say that it was really nicely plated this time and the flower was a nice touch.They always use pieces of octopus for the eyes of the caterpillar too.
The other roll we got was the spicy scallop roll. It didn’t really taste like anything. I couldn’t really taste the scallop, and what I could taste wasn’t very flavourful. I would recommend trying their other rolls like the spider roll (crispy soft shell crab with cucumbers and amago), volcano roll (shrimp tempura topped with unagi), or their dragon roll (crab meat, avocado, cucumber, and unagi). Be warned though, these rolls are better but they are much more expensive! Honestly, I think their prices have increased over the years. If you want specialty rolls, I recommend you check out Ichiban. They have really good rolls for at least half the price. Maki Maki is a bit overpriced.
Now for the Vietnamese food…
This is one of the more popular and common dishes at a Vietnamese restaurant. Grilled pork, spring roll, egg, and shredded pork (Com suon nuong cha gio trung bi). It’s usually served over broken rice, which gives the rice a different texture but they served it with full grain rice. Usually when I go to a Vietnamese restaurant, this is my dish of choice… I just think I had way too much pho growing up so now I usually just opt for rice options. Usually the pork chop is marinated and seasoned with lemongrass, salt, pepper, fish sauce, and garlic. The portions here are relatively the same as other places. It was seasoned nicely and had good flavours. It was a little bit sweet and went well with the rice. Their spring rolls taste like regular Vietnamese spring rolls. Nothing too spectacular, but usually you don’t get 4 spring rolls with a dish like this so it was nice and made me pretty full.
This is their “Bun 3 Mau” which literally means 3-colour noodles. The number usually means how many different kinds of meat there is. This is another popular item at Vietnamese restaurants. I’ve seen some places go up to “Bun 7 mau” that serve noodles with 7 different kinds of meats! The three here are grilled pork, grilled prawns and spring rolls. This is one of the more popular items that my friends usually get. Pretty safe if you’re not that adventurous with food. The one here was okay. Nothing too amazing. I still prefer the rice option.
The prices of their Japanese food is a little bit on the expensive considering what you get. Their Vietnamese food is okay, and their prices for that are a little bit more reasonable. I guess it’s kind of nice being able to order both Vietnamese food and Japanese food at the same place, but I think they might be better if they specialized a bit more. Anyways, I think that if it’s earlier in the day and I have other options, I’d rather go to Ichiban or Japonais bistro, or actually anywhere else, but when it’s 11 pm at night on the weekend, and there’s really nowhere else to go, it’s an okay alternative.