Saturday, 1 October 2016

Clubhouse Japanese Restaurant

We were craving Japanese food so we thought it was about time we tried the restaurants in our new hood.

First we stopped at Toko, because Google said it was a Japanese Restaurant and it was heavily advertising their Asahi. After we walked in, I noticed the decor seemed more Chinese than Japanese. Lo and behold we looked at the menu, and saw wonton, chow mein, and a bunch of Chinese dishes. We left.

Then we thought we should try the yakitori place down the road because we walked by it once. The host greeted us, asked us how many (2), and said wait a moment. He proceeds to walk around the restaurant and then grab two menus and set them on a table. Then he walks around the restaurant some more, serves a couple dishes, and tells us to wait 5 more minutes. It struck me as odd until B heard the host say something about happy hour ending soon to a couple patrons. So basically, he didn't want to seat us until 6pm, when regular dinner begins. Why didn't he just say so? Or just seat us and wait until 6pm to take our order? We left.

Finally we thought maybe we should try the Clubhouse since we drive by it all the time and it looks pretty cool from the outside. We walked in, and it strikes me as one of those restaurants on Restaurant Impossible that used to be good and then everyone just gave up trying to make it better.


We started with the Assorted Sashimi. We didn't expect it to be good, but we didn't think it could be this bad either. The knife cuts were noticeably sloppy, the tuna was still frozen, and the salmon had no taste at all. 


The Sweet Jane vegetable tempera roll was better than the sashimi but not that great. The rice was overcooked and soggy, the seaweed was tough, and he yam tempera was undercooked and had a bit of crunch to it still.


Next we had the Chicken Yaki Soba. It tastes like ketchup. B said he's had bad food and he keeps eating it, very rare does he not want to eat something and this was the dish.


The Squid okonomiyaki came smelling like it was burnt-and not because of the smoky fish flakes on top. It tasted a little burnt too, and soggy, and generally had very little texture. We found four squid rings in total. If the chef would only chop them up and divide it evenly throughout the pancake, it would have more texture and we wouldn't notice how little squid there is.

The only redeeming factor was that the owner came to pick up the dishes and saw that we didn't finish the okonomiyaki and asked if we didn't like it. We told her it was bad and she offered to refund us. We didn't want to be those customers who complain to get free stuff, because then our complaints won't be taken seriously. She thanked us for our feedback so we decided to tell her how bad EVERYTHING was. She seems to take it all seriously so I appreciated that. We probably won't return, but I appreciate the effort.

Clubhouse Japanese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, 23 September 2016

Yuji's from Japan

We decided to visit Yuji's because it was well reviewed and comments were that they were authentic Japanese.

We made reservations for 5pm on a Friday night and were told that there was a two hour seating limit because it was the weekend. When we arrived the restaurant was empty. So if it's ever busy when you want to visit, just go back at 5pm.


I loved the decor, it was like a little sushi hut on the side of the road.

Started with some sashimi and sushi omakase.


The sashimi omakase was $25 and for two to share. It came with: 2 Big eye tuna, 2 Yellowtail, 4 Sea bream, 2 Amberjack, and 2 Toro. They were all good, but really, really small. The big eye in particular was a lot creamier than when I had it at Sushi S. The Yellowtail was really strong and oily. The toro was less creamy than I expected.



Then we each had 1 order of the sushi omakase, which was also $25 each. From left to right: Big eye, Sea bream, Yellowtail, Flounder, Striped Jack, Young Yellow Tail, Scallop, and Spanish Mackeral.

The yellowtail, in my opinion, tasted a lot better and more balanced with some rice to tone down the fat and fishy taste. I barely tasted any fishiness. The flounder had a very interesting texture- I can't decide if I should say it's creamy or crunchy. But it tasted like butter. We liked the firm texture of the Striped Jack, but the taste wasn't anything special. The Spanish Mackeral was a lot milder than expected. It was served with a bit of ginger and onion on top and that was all we tasted.



The rice to fish ratio was on point and the temperature of both served correctly. But the size, price, and speed made us miss Seto in Richmond and kind of encourages us to maybe brave Richmond traffic and try more Japanese restaurants there.

Because we were still quite hungry after the sashimi and sushi, we ordered a couple more hot dishes.



We tried the spicy curry calamari, which is just fried calamari, lightly tossed in salt and curry. I could smell the curry as soon as it arrived. With no batter, it was more refreshing than calamari at other places. The texture was chewy and tender at the same time and the salt and curry flavour were very well balanced. Nothing overpowered the other. It was really good (and not spicy at all, despite what the dish is called).



We also had the grilled beef tongue- which caused the table next to us to cringe. But honestly, this was the best beef tongue I've ever had. The beef was sliced so thin and was very tender. The beef flavour was strong and though you can taste the salt and pepper, it did not overpower the meat at all. The only down side was that it was so such a small plate I felt like I didn't have enough.

Together with our bottle of hot Kome Dry Honjozo sake, our bill came out to $125. Although the food was good and we enjoyed everything, we thought the price for good sushi was better at Seto- maybe rent is cheaper in Richmond. Tim Kang lookalike sushi chef was also a lot quicker and seemed more skilled. We will likely return to Richmond before returning to Yuji's, but for those who don't want to travel across the bridge because they want to enjoy a bit of sake, I would recommend visiting Yuji's.

Yuji's from Japan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, 22 August 2016

Seto Japanese Restaurant

We went to Seto because Zomato said it was the closest thing to where we were with good reviews. It was almost all reserved by the time we got there (almost 6pm) unless we wanted to sit at the sushi bar, which was exactly what we wanted to do.

The three sushi chefs were all Japanese, which was a great first sign. Also, the youngest one in the middle reminded me of Tim Kang (love).


B and I ordered 7 nigiri each. Left row: 2 ika, Aji, kampachi, albacore toro, and Tako. Right row: Saba, 2 salmon toro, and 2 hamachi toro.

We ate them in this order so that will be how we describe it.

The ika was very well prepared and so creamy and crunchy at the same time. It was in no way tough to eat.

B said the Tako had a good, firm, and crunchy texture.

The Salmon toro was creamy. In my opinion, salmon usually had no taste, but this has a lot of flavour to it.

The Hamachi had fish taste but it was not fishy, if that makes sense.

The Kampachi had a subtle flavour and was very smooth.

The Albacore toro had a strong tuna taste and falls apart in your mouth.

B said the Saba was good and had the strong taste he wanted, but not fishy. It was very well balanced.

The Aji was subtle but good.

Generally the rice had a good balance of vinegar and the fish was fresh all around.


We also had a chopped scallop nigiri and ikura nigiri. The chopped scallop was very creamy, but the flavour of the scallop itself was not overpowered by the cream sauce. The ikura was as good as it gets here in Vancouver, so I still miss the ones I had in Sapporo.


(They served a good amount of wasabi and ginger separately)


We also ordered a hot sake to go with our meal. It was $28 for the bottle, and despite the really strong smell, it went down really smooth.


Instead of the Saba Battera, I thought we should have the Anago because I have had good experiences with eel and less good experiences with the Saba. Here, the eel was well proportioned to the rice and it had the perfect amount of sauce. The textures were on point and the temperature of the rice perfect.


Lastly, we can't not have the Saba Shioyaki if they have it, and good thing we did. Best one we've had yet in Vancouver (even better than Isami). It was oily and moist but the skin was still crisp. It was well prepared and served with a generous amount of daikon to help take some of the grease away.


Overall we had a great experience. The bill came out to around $110, after tip it was $130. It might be considered expensive but we thought it was well worth it, considering we also had a sake.

The chefs were really good. Especially Tim Kang (that's what I'll call him). He was putting out nigiris and rolls at the same pace as the chef we met in Sapporo and they were perfect. The older chef directly in front of me was blocked by the fridge door, so I didn't see how good he was. According to B, he was so impressed by the way he sliced the fish to get all the fish without the skin perfectly.

We will definitely recommend and return.

Seto Japanese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Kissa Tanto

Our friend suggested we should try this new place, which was nominated as the top restaurant on enroute.

The decor gave off a prohibition / speakeasy kind of vibe. It was pretty cool.

I had the Oasis on the Ginza to start while I waited for the rest of the party. It's basically a mojito served in a margarita glass, pretty tasty.


As an appetizer, B and I shared the King Fish Crudo. It is basically raw fish drizzled with oil and lemon, because that was all we could taste. I thought the king fish would have a stronger saltier taste, but the fish itself was rather bland and overpowered by the oil and lemon.


Then B and I shared the Tonkatsu because we were curious what Tonkatsu at a fancy restaurant would be like. We couldn't really taste the pork, just that there was something salty. We mostly tasted the squid. The black mustard was quite good though.


Overall the food was good, but it didn't blow me away. Usually if the food is good, I would be too busy trying to taste all aspects of it. Here, I was more concerned about the conversation at the table. Also, normally at any restaurant we would be full sharing an appetizer and an entre, especially if the entre said "sharing plate". Unfortunately we were still quite hungry when we left.

We won't recommend not return.

Kissa Tanto Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Sushi by Yuji

We've heard and read good things about Sushi by Yuji and decided we had to give it a try. We saw that usually they're quite busy, but we decided to risk it and go at 5pm, when it opens, without a reservation. The sign on the door said "Open" so we walked in and all the tables had a reserved sign except for this one table for 2. We were lucky, I suppose. As soon as we sat down, one of the servers flipped the open sign to "Open for Reservations only". Only able to seat about 18-20 at most, I don't think they necessarily need to take reservations and still do well.


Wasabi and garlic was served separately. I suppose we could have asked for more, but I did wish they gave us more to begin with given that we ordered 18 pieces of nigiri. That being said, the wasabi was very fresh, it still has flavour despite the burn.


First up was the chopped scallop and ikura gunkan. It was smart to serve it first, so the seaweed doesn't get soggy and tough. The scallop was really cold, but creamy and delicious regardless. The Ikura was sharp and oily, just the way I like it.


Next up, I had the Tuna and Ika, B had 2 Ikas and 2 Takos. The tuna just dissolved in my mouth. It was not fishy at all, but it was a little on the cold side.

The Ika was very creamy. It wasn't hard to chew because of how small it was.

The Tako was sliced very thin, which gives it a different texture. It wasn't crunchy or chewy, but soft.


You may recall from the post on Shima-Ya and my complaint about the portion of rice and how large it was. I really enjoy the small rice portion here at Sushi by Yuji. Much smaller and more manageable.


Next is the Saba. It was really good; it was fresh and clean. Despite the saltiness, the flavour still came through well.


I ordered the Toro, B had the Hamachi, I had the Engawa, and B had the two Hokki. I thought the Toro was less creamy than the tuna, which is odd because it's supposed to be more fatty. The engawa had a nice crunch to it but very bland otherwise.

B thought the Hamachi was really good and "It melted in (his) mouth in fresh flavour." The Hokki, however, was very chewy and he got sand in one of them. It had an unpleasant texture and was very gritty.


The last nigiri was the Aji. It was very lemony, and did not have the same fishy-salty flavour as the Saba. We didn't like it as much, but it was still good.


We also ordered the Grilled Kanpachi Kama. The sauce was sweet, but not disgustingly sweet. It was enjoyable. The topping / rub was also very well developed. It had better flavour than the one we had at Sushi S, and cooked better, being more moist. However, we still prefer the salty and heavier flavour of a Saba Shioyaki.


We also saw that they had a big selection of Sake, so we ordered a bottle to be served hot. It was very smooth, too smooth, too easy to drink. We tried to portion it and make sure we had enough to last the whole meal. For some reason, the bottle couldn't keep the sake hot enough. It's weird, because when we had it in Kyoto, our sake stayed hot despite being poured out into a cup.

Overall, we had a good experience. We would recommend it, but we're not sure if we'll return because we really like our grilled mackerel, and they didn't have it.

Sushi by Yuji Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Shima-Ya

Shima-Ya was highly recommended by one set of friends and not by another, so we decided to visit it ourselves.


Run by Japanese, I believe the restaurant only sits about 20 at full capacity. Needless to say, I saw the owner turn away a few customers and a few of them decided to order take out instead. While we were waiting, there were also many phone calls for take out.


As usual we started with a Tako Sashimi. I must say the chef is quite talented at running the place. Despite the volume of take out orders, he got our sashimi out quite quickly. The Tako was good. It had a good crunch to it, and was creamy without being slimy.


We noticed they have Battera sushi, so we decided to order the Saba since they don't have Shioyaki here and we wanted our saba fix.


Unfortunately, it did not blow me away. The ratio of rice to fish was not well balanced and so the flavour of the Saba was lost in the rice. I ended up halving the amount of rice in order to taste the Saba.


They had a few nigiri combos, so we ordered two deluxe combos, which comes with nine pieces of nigiri and a tuna roll. From left to right top: tuna, ika (squid), hamachi (yellow tail), saba (mackerel), salmon, and Hokkigai (clam). From left to right bottom: tamago (egg), ebi (shrimp), and ikura (salmon roe).

The fish was generally prepared well. The tuna was very creamy and the ika texture was one of the better prepared ones I've had in a while. The hamachi was kind of bland, but the Saba was as expected: oily, salty and fishy in a very good way. The salmon was solid, but the Hokkigai was quite tough. I wanted to like it because it was the first time I've seen it sliced into a pocket to hold the rice, but it was just too tough. The tamago was surprisingly pleasant- I'm usually not a fan. The shrimp was sweet and crunchy. As far as shrimp goes, it was quite good. The ikura, though pleasant (not fishy), was not salty enough. The tuna rolls were fine.

Overall we enjoyed the food put out in front of us. The food was worth the price. However, I was a bit disappointed in the ratio of rice to fish in both the Battera and the nigiri. For the nigiri, I basically just kept eating half the amount of rice. The amount of wasabi spread onto the nigiri was quite good though.

We don't think we will return simply because we had a really great experience at Isami, who also had much better prices.

Shima-Ya Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Sushi S

We decided to try out Sushi S because it had a 3.9 rating on Zomato and was on our way to Costco. The decor was simple and it was pretty busy for a neighbourhood restaurant (i.e. nothing else around). 


I have to admit that I was initially a little disappointed that it was Korean-run because I had googled "Authentic Japanese" when I was looking for something to eat that night. But we gave them the benefit of the doubt because some other Korean-run sushi places have been good (i.e. Bella Sushi in Kits).


I started with a Seared Maguro (right) and a Seared Toro (left). I liked the addition of vinegar because it gave it a fresh taste; however, it was a little too much vinegar. It would be better if the vinegar was lightly brushed on the dish or just sprinkled on instead of pooling at the bottom of the plate. I did like the addition of the shredded daikon on top though, which gave it a bit of texture.


B had the Seared Hamachi (left) and Seared Sake (right). He agreed that there was a little bit too much vinegar, but it didn't overpower the smokiness of the sear for him like it did for me.


Of course, B had to order the Tako Sashimi. It was good, but a little soft in the middle and not as dry as we had hoped. It could be a little crunchier, but we are not mad or turned off by it.


Then we each ordered 6 more nigiri each. I only ended up with 5 (top row) because the server told me there was Kanpachi when there really wasn't any left. From left to right, I had the Toro, Big eye, Hamachi, Hotate, and Ikura. The Toro was decent, and not too fishy. The Big Eye didn't have much flavour, but the texture was quite interesting. The Hamachi was a little fisher than expected; it tasted quite metallic. The Hotate was very creamy and had a good balance of wasabi between the rice and the scallop. The Ikura was also a little fishier than expected and not as salty as I had hoped (to help contrast the fishiness).

B had the Unagi, Saba, Hokkigai, Ika, Big eye, and Hamachi (bottom row). The Unagi was okay, it had a mild smoke flavour that it could use more of and good texture. The Saba was oily, salty, and fish in a good way. The Hokkigai was fine and nothing out of the ordinary. The Ika had good texture. He agreed the Big Eye had interesting texture. The Hamachi didn't have a lot of flavour for him.


Because the server didn't tell me they ran out of the Kanpachi, they gave us two Seared Tunas on the house. It had more smoky flavour than the other ones I tried and the combination of the sauces really brought out the smoky taste.


We thought we would try out the Kanpachi Kama since it's "limited", but were kind of disappointed. The texture is like chicken, which was good, but it wasn't grilled properly and was kind of soggy.


As the Kanpachi was lacking in the saltiness and oiliness that I craved in a Saba Shioyaki, we decided to order one. Unfortunately, as you can see from the picture, it lacked the proper grill of a Saba Shioyaki. It looks and tastes more like it was toasted. The meat was tough and not flaky like it normally is. It also didn't have the saltiness I craved either. It was rather disappointing as I've had awesome grilled mackerel at Andamiro and in Seoul. I thought, even if you can't make an authentic Saba Shioyaki, Korean grilled mackerel is still tasty.

Up to the Saba Shioyaki, we were okay with the restaurant. Everything was decent enough and service was good. But we just can't look past the failed Saba. We will likely not return. That being said, if you're in the neighbourhood and craving sushi, it's worth visiting. It could be a good "go to" for people in the neighbourhood.

Sushi S Japanese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, 11 July 2016

Maruyama

So my favorite go-to sushi restaurant, Kimura, closed down and another sushi restaurant opened in its place: Maruyama. Apparently the chef used to work at Blue Water in Yaletown.

Decor is about the same, the benches were changed, bar table was changed, and the seating painted white. Other than that, everything was pretty much the same.


We started with the shisoleaf tempura, which was really just fried tempura batter because the leaf was so thin and light. It was a little too much and made me feel nauseous. It was also served with a cold sauce, which kind of helped cut the richness of the batter.


Of course I couldn't resist ordering the Grilled Saba. Which was pretty good. It didn't really feel as rich and oil-forward as the one from Isami at first, but after eating more (along with the shisoleaf) it was a bit nauseating.


We all ordered the $25 Omakase, which comes with 7 pieces of nigiri. Then we added two orders of 2 Blue Fin O-Toro nigiris. It came with a flounder, two types of toro and several other random fish I have forgotten the names of. The second one in the second row (I think it might be Yellow Tail) was very crunchy, but I also had the taste of something like eating butter.

I thought the normal Toro was actually creamier than the O-Toro, even though it was half the price. I thought the O-Toro was quite fishy and didn't leave a good taste in my mouth. If I had to order again, I would probably skip the O-Toro.


Overall the fish was properly prepared. The rice was a good small size. I enjoyed the fact that the cheaper Omakase didn't include Tamago, which I dislike, a lot. I like the fact that they even had a cheaper version of Omakase, which you don't normally get anywhere.

I will likely return with B despite the price tag. But I'm not sure how often I would visit as it is quite expensive. It's worth at least trying once.

Maruyama  Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato