Not sure if it’s just me but most of the places that I recently dined at in Burnaby are not rated well on Urbanspoon. I was running errands with my mom on the weekend and we ended up at Metrotown. We decided to stop in for a very late lunch. We noticed that the Japanese restaurant beside the Bay which had been under renovations was now open for business. It is now called Sekai Udon Bar.
As we approached from a distance, we saw a crowd of people standing outside the restaurant. We thought maybe it was full and there was a line up to get a seat. When we got to the entrance, we noticed it was not busy at all. The group at the door was simply trying to read the menu and shortly afterwards, they left without entering. We were quickly seated at a table in the front (and empty) part of the restaurant. Looking around the interior, although it looked cleaner and newer, the layout seemed pretty much the same as the previous restaurant.
We had a look at the various menus and we decided to try some items from the udon menu. After all, we’re in an udon bar. My mom ordered the Niku Udon and I picked the Tonkotsu Udon (with whole wheat udon). We also got a side order of tempura to share. We asked to order the Niku Udon as a “sauce noodle” (no soup) as the menu had suggested. However, after the server checked, apparently it isn’t an option. :(
Our udon came out soon after the order was placed. Perhaps that is one of the major benefits of going to a place that isn’t busy.
I tried a bite of the Niku Udon. Not sure what the ideal udon is supposed to taste like and this one seemed okay. I only tried one spoonful of the clear beef broth and tasted pretty good. There was sukiyaki beef as the menu said but liked the other toppings, it seemed quite sparse.
The whole wheat noodles in my Tonkotsu Udon was more chewy than what I was used. My udon broth was a pork and chicken bone soup. It was thick and flavourful but a bit too salty for my preference. I would have been better off ordering the beef broth in the Niku Udon. However, I did enjoy the two pieces of thick cha siu. And the tempura… I’ll summarize it as … for $3.50, that was a very sad order of tempura (2 small prawns, a yam and a zucchini).
While eating our udon, we speculated why it was so empty in the restaurant. Compared to the hustle, bustle and noise of the food court, the Sekai offers comfortable seating. We also noticed that the servers were quite attentive. However, the udon prices and the food are likely a major contributing factor to the emptiness. Even though we were there for a very late lunch, we would expect there to be more people in the restaurant. I also pointed out that with the food court is only an escalator ride away. There are so many options upstairs that the udon bar would have to be a spectacular experience for people to want to go there.