Posts with tag "japanese food"

Minami Restaurant

Since its grand opening back in June, I’ve been to Minami Restaurant in Yaletown a few times now. It’s the sister restaurant of Miku in Coal Harbour and, much like its older sister, Minami is developing a fine reputation of being one of the better Japanese restaurants in the city. From the ingredients to the wait staff, owner of Minami, Mr. Seigo Nakamura’s philosophy of top notch quality carries throughout.

I’m going to cheat and make this a food photo post so you can have a taste of what this Japanese fine dining has to offer. By now, I must have tried half the items on this menu (and was busy eating to take pictures of all my food ;)

I always love the view of an open kitchen as it’s like watching a well rehearsed show and appreciating the artists at work

If you work or live in Yaletown, it’s a satisfying choice for lunch. You can sample the restaurant’s famed aburi sushi with the lunch aburi set…

Or chow down on the Minami Tuna Burger and Market Green Salad. The perk is you get a local discount off of your bill!

For dinner, step away from the usual appetizer and try their hamachi gyozas (warning… it’ll challenge your tastebuds as it is on the ‘fishy’ side – aside from the literal sense)

And if you can handle the heat, share the Spicy Kaisen Soba Pepperoncino

Of course, you gotta order a sushi or two…sorry to disappoint but you’re not going to find your typical California Roll on this menu

To pair with all this food, try one Minami’s original or classic cocktails from the list created by one Vancouver’s best bartenders, Shaun Layton

Minami is a much needed addition to the Yaletown scene. I warmly welcome you.

Minami Restaurant
1118 Mainland St
Minami on Urbanspoon

Ki Modern Japanese and Bar

Dining at Ki Modern Japanese and Bar restaurant on rare sunny day, oddly clouded my tastebuds that night. Well another way put it is that we were so enamoured with our setting that it seemed to enhance the flavour of the food.

Ki is a sophisticated chic Japanese restaurant located on the same block as the Shangri-La Hotel.  The restaurant started in Toronto and looks like it’s trying to grow its empire. For sure, it picked a prime well suited location in Vancouver. In the heart of financial district and coal harbour, the upstairs location gives you prime viewing spot of the surrounding well to-do buildings and shops. There is a restaurant and patio side or the lounge side and I highly recommend the patio.

The menu consists of items you might find at a izakaya: skewers, cooked dishes, sashimis, and sushi dishes. We started off with a simple assorted Seaweed Salad with sesame-ponzu dressing.

We were pleasantly surprise at the generous serving and variety of seaweed in the salad. It was fresh, crisp, tangy, and palette cleansing.

Of course we needed to try the fresh sushi on the menu

We picked the Ki Spidersoft which is shell crab, mango, perilla leaves, chives; Spicy Salmon Atlantic a roll of salmon, asparagus, endive, spicy raspberry sauce, ao noriko; and sushi pieces of Aji, Magura, Yellow Tail.  I like the spice and texture of the Spidersoft, the freshness and crush of the Spicy Salmon, and the quality of the pieces.

To continue the nibbling and sharing, we also picked out a couple of the skewers.  First came the surprisingly delicious Pancetta Wrapped Unagi

The Pancetta Wrapped Unagi is stuffed with grilled onion and pickled daikon, served with chilli ponzu sauce.  I loved how the different flavours came together: the saltiness from the pancetta with the sweetnees of the unagi and balanced out with the tang from the ponzu sauce.

Then the interesting marinated Swordfish

The marinated Swordfish was served with shishito peppers and a charred tomato ginger salsa.  I enjoyed the taste of something being grilled and charred but unfortunately I didn’t like how tough the swordfish came out.

Lastly, we ordered assorted seafood tempura.

There were pieces of prawn, halibut (I think), squid, and scallop.  These are all quality seafood but I thought it was a waste that such quality seafood was all battered and deep fried.  I think especially eating the tempura scallop turned me off and thought I rather have the scallop just simply grilled.  The tempura was nicely done with a light batter but I don’t think I’d order this type of tempura again.

We were giddy over the food the whole time.  But if we took the food out of the context of dining in an outdoor cabana under the sun, the dishes were good but not great.  Also another lesson learned is to not pick the cheapest bottle of sake from the menu…the sake we picked did not pair well with our food at all.

Overall the service was very attentive and the menu was decent but pricier than what you find at Guu or Zakkushi.  The winning point about this restaurant is the truly cool hidden gem of a patio.  A perfect spot to sneak to bask under our rare summer sun if you’re willing to spend the extra cash.

Ki Japanese Modern Bar
310 – 1121 Alberni Street
Ki Modern Japanese & Bar on Urbanspoon

Kai Sushi Bar

It was a very cool sweet night of sushi, champagne and hockey. As decadent as that sounds, it was pretty low key and fun. I was in the company of wine and food experts Weston of Beau Charles Wine & Food and Derrick of Blasted Church Vineyards. And if you’re in a group (excluding myself) of connoisseurs, one should expect a Canucks’ night that’s a bit better than just burgers and beer.

Wes suggested to order in some sushi from the new Japanese restaurant, Kai Sushi Bar. It’s a small Japanese restaurant around Oak and West 15th, and is already popular with the locals. They’re fairly business and social media saavy because when you step into the restaurant there’s even a sign that encourages you to mention them on Urbanspoon.

We ordered various sushi rolls and sashimi pieces such as red eye tuna, salmon, hamachi, saba, and special BC rolls. West also made some delicious and deceptively simple butternut squash miso soup.

The sushi pieces were big portions like what you might find at Samurai Sushi. But I did like the quality and freshness of the sashimi that we ordered.  Their menu of Japanese food is carefully selected of premium items ranging from hot dishes to rolls and scones.

When we brought back our takeout, just for kicks, Wes seared some of the sashimi a la Aburi Style (searing with Japanese Charcoal) which was absolutely fun to watch.

Now to add class to our sushi in styrofoam dinner, we helped ourselves to champagne and sparkling wine. With wine scholars like Wes and Derrick, the quality of champagne was unquestionable….well I was disappointed that a Moet wasn’t served (kidding!)

Below is the list of drinks we had (notes from Weston):
Jose Dhondt Blanc de Blancs – Brut – NV [Non-Vintage] – From Oger, Champagne
Gaston Chiquet – Brut – 2000 – 1er Cru – From Dizy Champagne [Disgorged 08/10/2007 ] Oyster Bay Sparkling
Blasted Church – OMG – Bubbly [Derrick Said it was first batch so it is Traditional Method]

The other highlight of the night was witnessing Derrick ‘sabre’ a champagne bottle with a wine glass…now that’s a party trick to try to master

Kai Sushi Bar
3093 Oak Street
Kai Sushi Bar on Urbanspoon