Posts with tag "sashimi"

Ki Isu Japanese Restaurant

Ki Isu Japanese Restaurant is a small place on the edge of Yaletown.  The menu is moderately priced and the food is a mix of traditional, fusion, Western style and creative.

What I mean by creative is that the there are ‘house specials’ in which the chef tries to put his mark on sushi and Japanese food. At most places, the chef’s take on sushi ends up to be pieces of forced experiments of ‘local ingredients’ and then name it after a Vancouver street or area. I’ve been to the restaurant a couple of times and I can say the specialties are a notch above these. Also notably there are healthier West Coast style options like sushi made with brown rice.

We immediately order our usual must have: Ebi Mayo

The large deep fried prawns were crunchy and bouncy with each bite. I was glad that the it wasn’t overly battered and greasy but a tad heavy handed with the spicy mayo.

It was a hot day and we wanted something fresh which led us to the Mango and Salmon Steak Roll.

It’s a roll wrapped in thinly sliced mango and filled with cucumber and salmon then topped with a sprinkle of tobiko. The salmon was surprisingly still moist and the mango did help lighten the roll in general. I’m beginning to think they love their mayo as this sushi would have been fine with out the drizzle of the mayo sauce.

This one roll already started to carb us out but there was another roll that we needed to tackle.

Ki Isu’s version of the Rainbow Roll was topped with with thinly sliced salmon, ebi, and avocado with generous amounts of tobiko on top. I find these types of rolls as just one big cacophony of ingredients and you couldn’t make out what’s what. It’s definitely a massive sushi roll that can be a meal on its own.

If you want sushi within walking distance of Yaletown, this is the place to check out. I appreciate the mix of different types of sushi found at this little spot. If you do go, for sure check out the Seasonal Specials and their varied lunch options.

Ki-Isu Japanese Restaurant
1275 Pacific Blvd
Ki-Isu Japanese Restaurant 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

Sushi Garden

I’ve always been a huge advocate of quality delicate sushi thus you’ll rarely find me at an AYCS (all you can stuff) or ‘quantity over quality’ sushi restaurants. Sushi Garden fits the latter but for its price and portions one can’t really critique about its quality.

It was a reunion dinner with an old Air Canada coworker friend and we so happen to work in the same area in Burnaby. So one day after work, she came by to pick me up and we headed to Sushi Garden for a quick dinner. This popular Burnaby sushi restaurant first opened near Metrotown where it was a well liked ‘hidden gem’. The hidden gem grew, expanded, and became a Japanese food factory..churning out food and turning over tables as fast as possible.  And that’s why I’ve stopped going to its Metrotown location.

When we arrived, we waited for about 15 minutes before we got a table. My friend mentioned that this place seems to be perpetually busy.

To start, we ordered the spicy tuna sashimi which was completely covered in a spicy sweet sauce

We then chose two sushi rolls

First was the ‘kitschy’ Island roll which was cooked tuna, fish flake topped with kiwi sauce. I’m guessing the tuna came out of the can and entirely not sure why they decided to add the very sweet kiwi sauce. I also picked my regular go to spicy chopped scallop roll. Once again there was way too much spicy sauce in it to the point I couldn’t tell if scallop was in the roll.

Lately I’ve been having a thing for udon so I suggested to try the Mentaiko Udon

It’s udon noodle stir fried in cod roe sauce. I actually liked this comforting dish: the udon was cooked well in a nice light sauce topped with green onion and nori.

At this point, we’ve had a lot of carbs so we barely touched the tako yaki

We had a piece or 2 each but all we tasted was mostly the dough and not much octopus.

For variety and cheap bites, and you don’t mind the aloof service, then places like Sushi Garden would be a choice. I rather go to a small little spot with smiling chefs who are focused in preparing sushi as a delicacy.

Sushi Garden
4269 Lougheed Highway
Burnaby, BC V5C
Sushi Garden (Lougheed) on Urbanspoon