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Posts tagged ‘Calamari’

Restaurant Review: Cactus Club Cafe

Location:  101 – 6070 200th Street, Langley BC
Website:  https://www.cactusclubcafe.com/

For the longest time I’ve wanted to return to this restaurant.  The first time I went was many years ago with my family, but the Raincoast Greens made such an impression on me that I’ve always wanted to return, especially since I had now developed a palate that could discern “good” from “bad.”

We had tried going back in Calgary when Julia visited for wedding dress shopping, but the restaurant was so full, we weren’t able to get a seat.  It was kind of the manager on duty to offer his business card, stating that the situation could have been handled better and would call us to invite us back.  However, as kind as the sentiment was, we never received a call back.  While I was disappointed, it did not diminish my desire to try this place out.

After much delay, we finally got to go!  As we were running some errands in the Langley/Fort Langley area, we decided to stop in at the Langley location for lunch.  We made it at about two, so it wasn’t quite happy hour, but no matter.  We were going to eat here regardless.

After a quick perusal of the menu and calculation regarding our course of action, we decided on an all appetizers lunch.  We ordered the Tuna Stack, Calamari, and Ravioli + Prawn Trio (we ended up adding one so we each got two).  I, again, was starving and the kitchen was pretty quick in getting our dishes out to us.  All three appetizers came out at the same time.

The Tuna Stack was essentially a tuna poke, using ocean wise™ albacore, citrus tamari vinaigrette, nori, sesame, avocado, micro cilantro, and wonton chips on the side.  One bite and I was in love.  Maybe it was because for the last little while we had been having fairly greasy food and this fresh, citrusy dish was a bright and welcome change to what we had we been having the last few days.  Everything was well seasoned, the flavours were balanced and complimented one another beautifully.  If I could, I would eat the entire thing on my own, despite not being able to handle raw fish all that well.

The calamari was the most disappointing of the three dishes.  With ingredients like peppers and jalapenos, I had not expected much because that was pretty much the norm.  Tzatziki sauce is pretty common as an accompaniment to calamari, but the chipotle aioli was something different.  Unfortunately not a good different.  Both sauces, with their creaminess, exacerbated the deep fried oiliness of the calamari.  Most of the calamari was well cooked, but there were a few that were overcooked, dry, and hard.   I had thought that the addition of dill would have been a saving grace, but the dill did not provide any additional flavour to the overall dish.

In contrast, the Ravioli + Prawn Trio was a masterpiece.  I have never been more impressed by a pasta as I have been by this.  The ravioli was a butternut squash and mascarpone ravioli, lightly accented by a truffle butter sauce, each ravioli topped with a single sautéed jumbo prawns exquisitely seasoned and sprinkled with pine nuts.  The dish we ordered was the appetizer size, but now I know, I would gladly order the entree size and guiltlessly consume the entire dish.  Even with the price being slightly over $25 for the entree size, I would still order it.  The richness was done just right so that it wasn’t heavy and did not leave me feeling bloated or sick.

All in all, this was great experience.  The wait staff were very attentive and ready to help whenever necessary.  They didn’t act like the staff at the Calgary location we had originally gone to (haughty and snobby).  I would 100% return to this restaurant.  This was one of the best dining experiences I’ve had the pleasure to partake in.  I’d give this restaurant a 4.5/5 and would definitely recommend this place to all those who wish to indulge.

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Cactus Club Exterior

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Cactus Club Interior (behind)

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Cactus Club Interior (in front)

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Tuna Stack (front), Calamari (top left), and Ravioli + Prawn Trio (top right)

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Restaurant Review: State and Main

Location:  129, 6455 Macleod Trail SW
Website:  https://www.stateandmain.ca/

Today was a ridiculously busy day.  In the future, I would never recommend trying to hit up three bridal shops in one day.  Before we even finished our first shop, some of us were starting to feel hungry, so by the end of the second shop we, or at least I wanted to cannibalize some of the bridal party.

We stopped at one restaurant before this one, but it couldn’t accommodate a group of seven at that time.  Since we were ravenous, we looked for the next best alternative and since we were going to be stopping at Chinook to see if we could find some wedding stuff we thought State and Main would be the best option.

As it is the holiday season, parking at the mall was scarce, but we were lucky enough to find somewhere relatively close.  Since we didn’t want to be turned away from another restaurant, we had called ahead to see if there was space and they reserved a table for us of their own accord, which I thought was really nice.  The others in our party weren’t so luck in finding a parking spot, but they eventually all made it.

We were the first of our party to arrive since we had the good fortune of finding a parking spot.  We started with an appetizer, calamari, of course.  I love calamaris that have all the “extras.”  State and Main choose to serve theirs with a medley of jalapenos, onions & bell pepper with a roasted red pepper aioli.  This is one of the better calamaris I have had, but that may be because my opinion is influenced by the fact that the jalapenos, onions, and bell peppers helped to balance the greasiness that is characteristic of fried foods.  Compared to Boston Pizza, which has pretty much the same medley, State and Main is a little more refined.

The majority of the party ordered tacos, three ordered the Long Beach Fish Tacos with the Ginger Cilantro Slaw, and I ordered the Gogi Tacos with Fries and a dill dip.  As per my food ADD/ADHD, I love trying multiple things so Julia and I planned to swap a taco so we’d have the chance to give more than one menu item a try.  The fish tacos consisted of lightly spiced mahi mahi topped with avocado, shredded lettuce, tomato, green onion, chopped cilantro, fresh lime, and a salsa.  After eating many fish tacos, I have learned that I do not like mahi mahi.  There’s something about the taste of the fish that is off putting for me.  Besides that, this taco was rather ordinary.  It’s like every other taco you have ever had in your life.  A taco is unique only in its toppings and seasoning and these are the basic.  There was nothing special about the Long Beach Fish Tacos, but the Gogi Taco on the other hand was phenomenal.  My protein of choice has never been pork.  I’m not saying that I won’t eat it or that it can’t be prepared deliciously (ref: crispy suckling pig), but if there’s the choice of beef or chicken or sometimes even fish, I would choose them over pork.  The problem is it is usually overcooked which makes it dry and tough to eat and some places there’s either a freezer burn taste or a very strong porky taste.  You may think, what the heck, of course it tastes porky, it’s pork, but it’s not what you think.  It’s a very distinct unsavoury flavour that reminds me all too much of raw meat.  But the Gogi Tacos were nothing like that.  The meat was succulent and flavourful.  The Gogi Tacos consist of Korean inspired pork topped with ginger cilantro slaw & sriracha mayo on the side.  The sriracha mayo isn’t totally necessary, but it’s still nice to have a little for dipping since it provides a little bit of heat.  The ginger cilantro slaw, though there was very little of it (I mean, you can only fit so much into a taco), it packed a punch.  It provided the refreshing bright notes that the Long Beach Fish Tacos lacked.  Now I don’t normally rave about fries, but I think these fries were worth raving about.  They are the perfect thickness, balancing the satisfying crunch of the exterior with the smooth softness of the interior.  Paired with the dill dip elevates it to the next level.  It’s creamy, but not heavy because the dill provides that touch of zinginess to prevent it from being just another fatty mayo dip.

The others ordered a Burrito Bowl, California Chicken Wrap, and an Eggs Benedict.  I’m not sure how they liked it, but based on the fact that they finished it all, it was good.  The Burrito Bowl looked pretty big and was probably really filling.

Since we wanted to get on with shopping and save some money on the bill, we didn’t have dessert, so next time I’ll definitely have to come back for that.  Unfortunately it wasn’t possible to split the appetizer between everyone, so I ended up having to pay for the entirety of it, making my bill seem ridiculously expensive, but I guess if I took it off, it would seem pretty reasonable for a lunch.

The hostess and our server seemed a bit distant.  At the end, she didn’t even come to pay out our bills, she had another waitress come by with the machine and collect for her.  She nearly missed one of us, until we pointed it out to her.

I would certainly return for the food, but I’m not sure about the service.  I’m willing to give them another chance since it could’ve just been an off day for her, but based on my experience that day I’d have to say my rating would be 3/5, but I would recommend this place for the food for sure.

State and Main

State and Main Interior

Calamari

Calamari

Fish tacos

Long Beach Fish Tacos with Ginger Cilantro Slaw

Gogi tacos

Gogi Tacos with Fries and Dill Dip

Restaurant Review: Vin Room

Location: 2310 4 St SW (Mission Location)
Website: http://www.vinroom.com

This was the second time I had been to Vin Room Mission. The first time was some time in the last year of my undergrad, but we came primarily for drinks rather than food. The menu had intrigued me since and I finally got the chance to try it out.

After an entire summer of promising to hang out and see each other, the plan to do so finally came to fruition. Being a tapas bar, I knew that portion sizes would be small and prices would be high. We started small and ordered five dishes: wild boar gnocchi, chicken meatballs, beef carpaccio, lobster nachos, and crab cakes. The wild boar gnocchi is not quite a tapas item, it was large enough to be considered a dish on its own if you wanted. The purpose of the gnocchi was primarily to fill us up (and gnocchi is very filling since it’s essentially fluffy pillows of carbs). This is one of the best gnocchi I’ve had to date for Brae, it’s one more dish I can add to the list of things he likes to eat. The biggest surprise were the chicken meatballs. On the menu, they didn’t seem like they’d be anything special, but the chili jam that came with it elevated it to a fine dining status. The biggest disappointment for me were the crab cakes. It was my most highly anticipated dish, but it fell flat on many levels. I understand that crab cakes are inherently “crumbly,” but I just expected it to hold together much better than it did. There was a lot less curry sauce than I expected and I was only able to detect hints of the curry because there was so little of it. Of course I don’t need the cakes to be swimming in it, but enough to drizzle over the cakes or provide more than a hint of flavour was along the lines of what I was looking for. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of tatakis or carpaccios (which are essentially the same thing, save for the seasonings -one being Japanese and the other Italian). Combined with the arugula and russet potato chip that it was meant to be paired with, the delicate flavour of that particular carpaccio got lost. The lobster nachos were exactly as I expected: chopped up lobster piled on top of tortilla chips with a whole bunch of plain chips below. I found the best way to eat them was to take one chip that had been loaded with lobster and divide it between two or three other plain chips. However, there was still so much extra that I started putting the ground wild boar from the gnocchi on them and this turned out to be a great idea. Not only was it delicious, but it made sure none of the boar went to waste.

We had tried to stick around until happy hour as the oysters would be offered at a discounted price. In an attempt to prolong our visit, we ordered a calamari. Calamari is typically my favourite and this one didn’t live up to its potential. While the dipping sauce and breading were well done, the calamari itself was a little problematic. The first bite was normal, but as you continued to chew, a sort of liquid started seeping out, leaving a rather unpleasant aftertaste in your mouth.

For a Friday night I found it to be quieter than I expected. Perhaps it was because we had an “early” dinner (the reservation was at 7pm, but regardless). I’m guessing that most of the patrons were seated on the patio to enjoy the last days of summer. As we found out later, their patio is dog friendly and two of the friends I went with had dogs so one of the waitresses gave them each a small doggy bag with treats to take home, inviting us to bring the dogs next time we visited. We were served by two waitresses and one of them seemed like she was a location owner or at the very least a manager as she was dressed differently from everyone else. According to Brae, the waitress that was the first to help us grew increasing irritable by the end of the night. I didn’t quite understand why she wanted us out of there so quickly. I mean there were plenty of empty tables and we were still kind of ordering food.

Despite those minor hiccups, I still thoroughly enjoyed my time here. Taking everything into consideration, I would rate this place a 3.5/4. I would return here, but probably not in the recent future as the price is expensive and the menu has not changed much since I was here the first time.

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Chicken Meatballs

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Crab Cakes

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Wild Boar Gnocchi

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Lobster Nachos

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Lobster Nachos

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Beef Carpaccio

Restaurant Review: Nick’s Steakhouse & Pizza

Location: 2430 Crowchild Trail NW
Website: http://nickssteakandpizza.com/

After a mixed feeling kind of day, we finally got to try out Nick’s.  Brae had been planning on bringing me here when we just first started dating. Tonight we finally got that chance.  The restaurant wasn’t dead, but it wasn’t super busy either, but it was a Tuesday, so I didn’t expect it to be too busy anyways.

We were promptly seated in what I assumed to be the bar/lounge area and given just enough time to peruse the menu.  I had already looked at the menu before, but still didn’t exactly know what I wanted.  I know Brae wanted me to try the pizza since that was once of the things they were known for, but wanted to try their steaks, which is the other thing they specialize in (I mean, duh, look at their name).  After looking at the prices, I decided I’d stick to a pizza this time and come back another time to try some other items on their menu because a lot of it sounded really good.  Me being me wanted to order an appetizer and guess what, we ordered the calamari.  As most of you will know by now, this is my go to appetizer.

Like the kind of day I had been having, I had a mixed opinion about the calamari.  Having had so many varieties of calamari, I’d have to say that the batter could have been lighter.  At first, it isn’t so bad, but after about half or more of it, it starts to feel very greasy and heavy.  There are two solutions for that: sharing that with more people or make a lighter batter.  However, the tzatziki is one of the best I’ve ever had. It’s not the kind that has an overbearing amount of garlic, but just the right amount for me (I do love my garlic, but I know that sometimes the quantity that I like is often too much).  The pizzas followed shortly after we finished the calamari.

Brae got his favourite: Hawaiian and I tried the Sweet Chili Chicken. I was torn between the Sweet Chili Chicken and Chicken Carbonara, but Brae helped me choose.  I think that was a great choice because it satisfied all the tastes one craves for and chicken carbonara has the potential to be very heavy and rich.  The first thing that struck me was the stringy mozzarella cheese. Mozzarella is one of my favourite cheeses simply because of how well it melts and the slightly chewy texture it has after it’s been melted.  The pizza was simply blanketed in cheese.  Now, some may say that that is too much cheese, but for me, there’s no such thing.  In fact, when our waitress offered us some parmesan, I jumped at the chance to have more melty cheese on my pizza. While it was annoying that the pizza toppings kept slipping off the pizza while it was hot, it tasted so much better that way.  The crust itself tasted almost buttery.  It’s one of the better pizzas I’ve had, but the thickness of the crust and the doughiness are somewhat off-putting.

This is one of Brae’s favourite restaurants and I can see why.  I like this restaurant, it’s good for a casual night out and I would agree to come back here, especially since I would love to try some of the other items on their menu, but would I say this is the kind of restaurant I would choose if given a choice? No.  Restaurants like this aren’t usually in my wheelhouse, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy them when I do go.  It’s homey and the servers are friendly enough.  Besides, it’s one of Brae’s favourites so I can definitely see myself coming back here in the future for sure.  I would rate this place 3.75/5.

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Calamari

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Hawaiian Pizza (Brae’s)

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Sweet Chili Chicken (Mine)

Restaurant Review: Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ

Location: 100-638 6 Ave SW
Website: http://www.gyu-kaku.com/

I confess, I am not familiar with Japanese BBQ. When greeted with the phrase “Japanese cuisine,” the first item that jumps into my mind is sushi, not BBQ. For me, BBQ conjures up images of either Korean BBQ or a Southern style one (or the kind using the BBQ lol). I mean, when my sister and I were in Vancouver with friends we went to a Korean and Japanese BBQ and had some similar dishes. To be honest, after today’s experience I’m still confused as to the difference between the two. Sure the seasonings are different, but they largely use the same cuts of meat and they are prepared in much the same way.

To go out with my sister after classes again was a refreshing change from the mundane routine of school and work. It was a bit of a walk from the station and we were told that there would be a half hour wait since we didn’t have a reservation. I was starved, but we had come all this way and Valerie had spoken so highly of it, I decided to just push through the hunger pangs to try this place. As it turns out, the wait was only 4 minutes.

We were promptly seated, presented menus, and asked for our drink order. After a quick perusal of the menu on the advice of Val and the waitress we decided on two appetizers and two lunch specials. The appetizers we ordered were the fried calamari and takoyaki. We both decided on the three BBQ item lunch special and ordered Harami Miso Skirt Steak, Beef Tongue, Kalbi Short Rib Sweet Soy, Bistro Hanger Steak Miso, Filet Mignon, and Spicy Pork. The lunch special came with rice, soup and salad. Val opted to have the seaweed soup and I, the Miso. The seaweed soup was a nice surprise since I had expected the flowy, hair like seaweed that I’m used to for Chinese seaweed soup. They used the same seaweed as in the Miso and the broth was slightly saltier. The salad was dressed with a tangier, more acidic salad dressing that I’m used to having at Japanese restaurants. It reminded me more of the salads that we got at Korean restaurants. I would’ve have liked to have more salad and I probably should’ve saved some to eat with the meal since the acid would’ve helped cut through the richness of the meat.

The appetizers arrived shortly after the soup and salad. The first piece of takoyaki I dug into had a good octopus to batter ratio. Unfortunately, that cannot be said of the subsequent pieces I had. Flavour wise, the interior was standard, but I felt as though there could have been a little more sauce to give the outside a little more of that characteristic takoyaki flavour. Of course there is a difference between a slight drizzle (or more than that) and dousing it in sauce; a good balance must be found. The calamari I found to be ordinary. Nothing sets it apart from other calamari I’ve had. It certain isn’t one of the best, but it isn’t the worst either.

Besides some of the meat having already been seasoned, each table is set with three sauces: ponzu, spicy, and sweet soy. Although the ponzu sauce isn’t bad, it just isn’t my favourite of the three due to its unique tanginess. My favourite of the three is the spicy one, which wasn’t even spicy, but it was very flavourful. I found that I often didn’t need to dip my meat into the sauces, but when I did it made the meat saltier and had me reaching for my white rice.

Overall, I had no complaints. The food was really good and I would definitely go back. One thing I will say is that while it doesn’t look like all that much, the meal was very filling.

Based on my experience today, I’d give this place a 4.0/5. Our server as well as another one who appeared to be in training were great in helping us out today.

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Light hanging at entrance

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Appetizers: Fried Calamari (back), Takoyaki (front)

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Miso Soup and Salad

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Seaweed Soup and Salad

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Meat (in no particular order): Harami Miso Skirt Steak, Beef Tongue, Kalbi Short Rib Sweet Soy, Bistro Hanger Steak Miso, Filet Mignon, and Spicy Pork

 

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Cooking the Meat

Restaurant Review: Open Sesame

Location: 6920 Macleod Trail South
Website: http://www.open-sesame.ca/

Open Sesame, like Smuggler’s Inn and Tango Bistro, are part of the Smuggler’s Group of restaurants ( the last one is Bolero and all four of these restaurants are clustered together in one building). Open Sesame is their Pan-Asian cuisine which is best known for their do it yourself stir-fries. As described on their website’s menu, customers “[c]hoose [their] own selections from our fresh Asian Market brimming 
with crisp vegetables, spices and condiments. Season with [Open Sesame’s] authentic 
sauces created from scratch for every taste. [After the completion of the compilation, customers] [t]ake [their] selection to [the] 
Wok Chef.” The market features only sauces and vegetables, the orders for the carbs and protein are placed with the waitress and marked down on cards which will be placed with the veggies for stir-frying.

We started with drinks and I’d have to say, Open Sesame has one of the best strawberry lemonades I’ve ever had. The addition of mint is brilliant and adds a fresh bite to the drink that would otherwise be sweet with nothing else to offer.

We started with an appetizer, the Pu pu platter. A name that kept making people at our table laugh. The platter consisted of teriyaki riblings, calamari, satay, crisp spiced naan, crab wontons, pickled vegetables, chili mango dip, and raita. When the platter first came out, I thought that it was a decent sized appetizer, however, it proved not to be enough when it came down to sharing it between five people. Overall, despite it not being enough for all five of us, it was at the same time, enough for all five of us. What I mean by that is that there was enough for everyone to sample each of the items, but not enough for us to have any more if we like a particular element. Of the six items on the platter, the riblings were my least favourite. There was very little meat, which is understandable because they were riblings, but also I don’t love teriyaki sauce on my ribs or wings (a little in stir-fry would be good). The raita was reminiscent of tzatziki sauce and in essence it was.

For our mains, three of the five ordered the stir-fry, which made sense, since this is what they are known for. My cousin added the Asian pancake wraps/mu shu wraps, grilled naan, and lettuce wraps to his meal and the maid of honour added the grilled naan to hers. I didn’t have a chance to try out their stir-fry combos, but as everyone cleaned their bowls, I’d say everyone enjoyed them thoroughly. My sister and I, ironically, ordered the same thing: the Hibachi Steak. The temperature was perfect on the steak and well seasoned. The seasoning took into account how salty the dipping sauce was, but at times it still seemed a little too salty for my liking. In regards to the portion size, I’d say that it was pretty good. I was unable to finish it since I had had the appetizer and was saving some space for dessert, but what I had packed up was enough to make a meal for the next day.

What meal is complete without dessert? Of course we went all out on it. I ordered the black and white brownie, while my sister had the ginger creme brulee, and my cousin and his fiancee shared a mango and coconut snowball (the lump of frozenness). I found the brownie to be a bit dry (some parts could almost be passed off as cookie like in its consistency) and the ice cream generic (would’ve been nice if it had been a vanilla bean ice cream). The ginger creme brulee was very strong on the ginger. I mean, there was no question that there was ginger in it and that it was good, but I just don’t think that it’s really for me.

Based on this experience, I would give this place a 4/5 and would most certainly return. Next time I would want to give the stir-fry a try since that is, after all, their specialty.

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Restaurant Interior

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Restaurant Interior

drinks

Aladdin’s Passion and Strawberry Lemonade

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Pu Pu Platter

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Asian Market

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Asian Market

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Asian Market

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Asian Market Sauces

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Beverly and Diana’s veggies for stir-fry

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Beverly stir-fry

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Diana’s Stir-fry

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David’s Stir-fry

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Extra sides: Asian Pancakes/Mu shu wrappers, grilled naan, lettuce wraps

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Hibachi Steak

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Black and White Brownie

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Ginger Creme Brulee

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Mango and Coconut Snowball

 

Restaurant Review: Goro+Gun

Location: 225 7 Ave SW (Scotia Centre in the Core)
Website: http://goroandgun.ca/

These last few weeks have been hell for me. Though I’ve taken some time off of work, it’s far from relaxing. These two months off are meant for me to study for the LSAT. I promised myself this would be the last time I take this damn test. It’s becoming incredibly stressful to continually have to endure the four hour exam and besides all that, it’s costing me a fortune just to try and get in. Today I took a much need break and went shopping downtown at The Core with my sister. I’ve passed Goro+Gun several times on my visits there and was initially informed of it’s existence by my cousin, Yulin.

Today we finally had a chance to stop in and give this place a try. The entrance was not exactly as I expected. There wasn’t really a podium/counter where the host or hostess could stand and the doors opened up into what looked like the middle of the restaurant. My sister and I approached cautiously and were immediately greeted. As it was nearly three in the afternoon, the place was pretty empty and we were promptly seated and served. My sister, Valerie remarked that the place had the feel of a tapas bar. With the open kitchen and a lot of bar seating, it certainly seemed that way.

We started with drinks: the elderflower power and yuzu soda. Both brought me back to Mexico when we had the alcohol free margaritas. In short, way too sweet. The other thing was that I expected the yuzu soda to be less…washed out in colour. It looked almost exactly the same as the Elderflower Power and tasted almost the same. I expected that the blood orange would have brought a vibrant redish orange to the drink, but that wasn’t what happened. We quickly worked through the menu, deciding to go with a calamari, a tuna poke, the Paitan Ramen, the chef’s selection of sashimi, a rainbow roll, and the special yuzu scallop.

The calamari were so perfectly fried that at first I was shocked. Most of the restaurants I’ve been to in the past have vastly over-fried the calamari so that it’s hard and rubbery. This was not the case for these calamaris. They were soft and succulent, leaving me wanting more. It served with a yuzu and spicy mayo sauce, which tasted a little different than most spicy mayo sauces I’ve had. One obvious reason was that there was yuzu in the sauce giving it a unique taste, but the other was that the mayo was actually spicy. The only complain was that it was a bit on the salty side, but other than that, best calamari I’ve had to date. The second appetizer we ordered, the tuna poke, is equally fantastic. Though, also on the salty side, they had large chunks of tender tuna and smooth, creamy avocado on a bed of fresh greens, dressed with a sweet sesame dressing and served with fried wonton crisps. I feel that my ability to handle raw fish has grown substantially. I remember a time when the idea of putting a raw piece of fish into my mouth made my stomach turn. But now, I can appreciate it as well as the skillful seasoning of the chef.

We had just finished with our appetizers when the rainbow roll arrived. It certainly was rainbow. The roll consisted avocado and cucumber topped with tuna, salmon, prawn, scallop, and ikura served atop two sauces: a spicy mayo and a garlic aioli. I didn’t have a chance to have much of the spicy mayo, but it was essentially the same as the one served with the calamari except no yuzu. The garlic aioli was surprisingly good with the roll, the slight saltiness was perfect so that I didn’t have to use any soy sauce. As we worked on that, the sashimi came. Now, I can handle raw in small quantities. I still can’t handle eating a slab of sashimi so this one was all for Val. When we were ordering, the waitress informed us that the Chef’s Selection would have two more pieces of sashimi than if we ordered any of the other types of sashimi on the menu. Unfortunately, it was short one piece. Though this is not a huge deal, considering the price, I’d really have wanted that piece, although it wasn’t like we could say, hey, we’re missing a piece because by the time we realized it, it was at the point where she could have just said, you ate it and no one could prove anything. We let it go, but it’s something I’m going to soon forget. After that was the Paitan Ramen. Apparently, Goro+Gun is known for its ramen, so this was a must for us. I don’t particularly like miso based soups simply because they have a tendency to be very salty. And while tonkotsu broths have a richer pork flavour that is creamier in consistency, sometimes the porkiness can be a bit overwhelming for me. So today we decided to go with a chicken broth based ramen. The Ramen had pork belly, bamboo shoots, boiled bean sprouts, and heaps of green onions and seaweed. The broth was phenomenal especially since they don’t use any MSG in any of their food. The noodles, when I first had them were slightly chewy, just the way I like them. The only sad thing was that there was very little of much else. The heap of bean sprouts was so small I could have eaten them in one bite and there were only about four slices of bamboo shoots, but the worst was that they only gave two small slices of pork belly. I get that pork belly can be expensive, but come on. For a dish of comparable size and price, Anju gave us four large slices of pork belly. I was unimpressed to say the least. The last dish was the special yuzu scallops. The menu doesn’t ever indicate how many pieces are in a roll or how many pieces of sashimi per order, which I wish it had. At first, we thought that the price was for one piece and we were completely appalled. It turns out that it was for two pieces. I mean, that’s not much better, but I’d have to admit, it was pretty good. It’s similar to the creamy scallop dish that most sushi restaurants have, but it’s funny how a touch of citrus can elevate the dish.

In the end, we decided to round out the meal with a dessert, something we hadn’t tried before: a green tea white chocolate brownie. It was unlike any dessert I had ever had. The “brownie” looked more like slices of cake topped with chilled and sweetened red beans, a berry compote and spun sugar. I’ve never had spun sugar in my life; it something I’ve only ever seen on TV. It’s even more beautiful up close. Eating it was like eating needles, but in a good way. The green tea was very light and the chocolate undetectable. I preferred the compote to the red bean, but the red bean was still pretty good.

Though expensive, the meal was pretty good. It seems as though there is a touch of yuzu in everything and at this time I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing. In most of the dishes we ordered, it was undetectable. Even in the drink I could barely taste anything but the overbearing sweetness of the other ingredients in the drink. All things considered, I would definitely recommend this restaurant for their ramen and appetizers. Next time I’d like to try out their bentos and teppenyaki. That’s another thing for another day though. Based on today’s experience, I’d rate them 4.25/5.

Panorama of Restaurant Interior

Panorama of Restaurant Interior

Calamari

Calamari

Tuna Poke

Tuna Poke

Rainbow Roll

Rainbow Roll

Chef's Selection of Sashimi

Chef’s Selection of Sashimi

Special Yuzu Scallop Sushi

Special Yuzu Scallop Sushi

Paitan Ramen

Paitan Ramen

Green Tea White Chocolate Brownie

Green Tea White Chocolate Brownie

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