One blustery windy downtown day, Gray and I decided to try a fast-food Japanese place. No, I don’t mean Umi Sushi. I mean Banzai, and as I’ve found out… well, you’ll see.
Banzai is a pretty chill location. Located on the edge of downtown, Banzai looks like a cross between a sit-down restaurant and a fast food chain. You order up at the register and if you stay they’ll bring the food to you. We got there on a weekday about half an hour before the lunch hour and ordered. I had a coupon from the SUTP books to use, so we ended up ordering two entrees and receiving one free.
The food came quickly enough, and just in time, too; the place started getting real busy right after Gray and I started eating. Gray had ordered a chicken udon bowl (7.95) and it looked and tasted pretty swell. The chicken was juicy and the meat plenty.
I ordered a tempura udon (7.95), and for those of you wondering whether the tempura was soggy or not: it wasn’t! The tempura came on the side and it was quite a lot for a bowl the same price as Gray’s chicken udon. Not to brag, but five pieces of tempura and a full bowl of udon sure feels extravagant at this price. (For comparison’s sake, Sakana’s tempura udon is $10.50 at lunch and the tempura is about the same). Even without the tempura I would’ve been pretty happy: naruto and caramelized onion garnish always makes for some tasty eats. The broth in particular was well done. I’m pretty sensitive to over-salted soups and normally don’t drink it with my noodles but this broth was so tasty I wanted to drink all of it. ‘Twasn’t too salty and the broth complemented the noodles well. The tempura wasn’t too heavily battered and the amount was enough to make me feel satisfied, which is better than stuffed.
Our free entree (from the coupon) was a special roll, called the BC roll. At 6.95, the 8 pieces of salmon, roe, tobiko and garlic chips was more than enough and a great deal. The fish tasted fresh and the garlic chips gave the mostly-soft roll a welcome crunch. Om nom.
526 – 4 Avenue SW
Calgary, AB T2P1V5
Pros: Fair pricing, speedy service and tasty food can all be found here. I’d pay full price for this place. Don’t expect gourmet food but you’ll get a good, solid and satisfying meal.
Cons: Busy times mean longer waits and this place definitely gets into a bit of a slog during the rush hour. Best to come early if you want to savour a meal without having to stand too long in line.
All in all, Banzai was a delightful discovery and I’m going to go back this summer before school starts again. Heh heh heh.