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Posts tagged ‘Crowfoot’

Restaurant Review: Sushi Boat

Location: 806 Crowfoot Crescent NW
Website: http://www.sushiboat.co/

This is one of the sushi places that our family returns to time after time. Not only is the food reasonably priced, but it’s also good. They are constantly introducing new items to their menus to keep it fresh and up-to-date. Today for example, there were about 6 new dishes added to the menu, with about that many being discontinued. What I enjoy most about sushi boat is their boats (hence their name). Styled like a self-serve tapas bar, different coloured plates float past you showcasing a few of their popular plates. Of course if you don’t see what you like you can always order from one of the many waitresses hovering by waiting to help.

Normally we go for dinner, but today we decided to go for lunch, just my sister and I. The place opened precisely at 11:45 and there was a mad rush for the seats. In total we ordered “19” plates. Sushi rolls usually come in fours, while nigiri comes in twos. We had two plates of the spicy tuna, two plates of uni, four plates of creamy scallop, one plate of toro nigiri, one plate of tuna nigiri, one of seared salmon, one plate of Hawaiian Poke, two of unagi nigiri, one of salmon nigiri, one plate of gyoza, one of korokke, and two green tea ice creams to round out the meal.

The spicy tuna is the pretty much one of the only dishes in which I’m able to eat raw fish. Typically I go with salmon because it has a firmer texture and doesn’t feel like I’m eating raw mush, but the spicy mayo sauce atop the spicy tuna rolls makes it one of my favourites. Uni is an acquired taste. It has a very unique taste that is very clearly seafoody, but the fishiness is not the same as the taste of when seafood goes bad, rather it is a pure, crystalline taste, if that makes any sense. In addition to its pure taste it is rich and smooth, but not creamy. My sister originally hated it, but with time she came to love it. The four plates of creamy scallops was a bit of a mistake. We had intended to order four pieces (two orders) not four plates. However, this is my sister’s all time favourite, so I guess it wasn’t so bad. I tried this dish again today but can’t see why she would like it that much. The scallops don’t have much taste, but the crunch of the tobiko provides a nice contrast to the soft, slimy, mayo coated scallops. Toro is tuna belly and due to the fat marbling, it is one of the most delicious pieces. It is so tender and the melt in your mouth quality of this cut of fish has made it one of the staples when we go to this restaurant. Another staple is the seared salmon.It’s not bad, but it’s another of my sister’s favourites. She doesn’t even know why she likes it but she does. However, in recent times she has been disappointed because they used to sear the salmon and then top it with a thin line of mayo, but now they sear it with the mayo on top leaving it a messy, melty blob of unappealingness. The Hawaiian Poke is one of their new items, so we decided to give it a try. Upon lifting off the lid, we were greeted with the delightful aromatic scent of sesame oil. This was my first time I have had a poke and it was delicious. If you’ve read my other reviews, I don’t handle my raw fish well, but now I’m happy to say that I can add this to my repertoire of raw fish. Unagi….where do I start with this one. Best. Thing. Ever. It’s fresh water eel, grilled and coated in a sticky, sweet, teriyaki sauce. Usually we have unagi as a nigiri, but sometimes we have it in a roll or on top of rice, all of which are delicious. The salmon nigiri was also for my sister. Her advice when choosing a piece is to look for a piece with consistent marbling. Of course it’s important to also check the cut (was it shredded or nicely sliced) as well as the thickness. Obviously, a thicker cut is more expensive, but when you’re getting a piece of nigiri, they are all the same price (if they’re on the same coloured plate) and the chef who prepared it may have made it slightly thicker, so be on the look out for that. The gyoza and korokke were primarily for me and I would have grabbed the calamari if I wasn’t already as full as I was by this point in the meal. The gyoza had an excellently crisped exterior and had just the right amount of sweet and spicy sauce drizzled on it. This is my first time trying korokke. I’ve had it in a roll before, but I’ve never had a whole piece. It was served with BBQ sauce on the side to help cut through the greasiness of the fried potato, but I didn’t used all that much because it felt strange to have BBQ sauce with Japanese food. The tanginess of the BBQ sauce did help a little though, so I can understand why it was served alongside the korokke. Korokke is a borrowed word; it comes from the French word croquette. As always, we round out our meal with a dessert and I really love their green tea ice cream. It’s nothing like Sakana’s, but for the price we’re paying it’s good.

Sometimes the waitresses need to be flagged down, but otherwise they are pretty attentive and service is good. Based on price and taste I would certainly return and recommend this place to everyone and anyone (especially if you enjoy sushi). I would rate this place a 4/5.

Uni

Uni

Creamy Scallop

Creamy Scallop

Starting Top Right going clockwise: Hawaiian Poke, tuna, seared salmon, toro

Starting Top Right going clockwise: Hawaiian Poke, tuna, seared salmon, toro

Unagi

Unagi with a piece of salmon nigiri behind

Gyoza

Gyoza

Korokke

Korokke

Spicy Tuna

Spicy Tuna

Green Tea Ice Cream

Green Tea Ice Cream

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Restaurant Review: Chianti

Location: 300-20 Crowfoot Crescent NW
Website: http://www.chianticafe.ca/

To find  a restaurant review written on a place I go to with my parents is rare because I hardly ever take pictures, so keep that in mind if you read any of my future reviews and they are pictureless.

Chianti is one of my favourite Italian restaurants, the other being Green Olive. I love that their pasta is actually al dente not mush. But pasta texture isn’t everything, the flavour must be taken into consideration as well.

As usual, we started with an appetizer, calamari, which I’ve come to be quite the expert on. The batter on the calamari was quite crunchy and well seasoned, but after a few rings began to feel heavy due to the greasiness. I liked that they offered two types of sauces for dipping: tzatziki and marinara. It seems that several restaurants are now offering two dips with their calamari. Last week I was just at Milestones trying out their new menu and when we ordered the calamari they had a tartar and a marinara. Unfortunately, I hold an ambivalent stance in terms of the calamari at Milestones (though I’ve done my review on this restaurant, I must add this) because sometimes Milestones makes the mistake of not seasoning the batter for the calamari thinking that the dips would provide enough flavour or perhaps they’re concerned that in seasoning the calamari, it will be too salty. Whatever their reasoning is, I don’t know, but it leaves the calamari bland and rather difficult to eat. At Chianti’s I liked that the tzatziki sauce was a little on the thick side as there is nothing more annoying than wearing a garlic sauce on your clothes all night. One thing I would have preferred for the marinara is a bit of heat. A bit of heat or acidity would have helped to cut through the grease. It’s true that they gave us a wedge of lemon, but there was hardly enough lemon juice to taste a thing.

Italian isn’t something I get to go out for much as my sister dislikes it as much as I dislike sushi. It is tolerable, but not something she would choose to eat of her own free will. Whenever we go out, my mom always goes for something seafood-y, usually salmon. She ordered the Salmon Alla Peppi, which was  a piece of salmon, baked and topped with fresh strawberries, glazed with a honey and soy reduction and served with vegetables and potatoes. From what I glean from my mom, the dish had too much soy sauce in there and was way too salty, she said that Green Olive had the right balance was was much better in terms of taste. My dad ordered the combinazione della casa, which is something that he almost always gets either at Chianti’s or at Green Olive. I’ve had it at both and it’s pretty decent, especially when you want a variety of food. The combinazione della casa comes with baked cannelloni, spinach fettuccine alfredo, and veal parmigiana. It’s the best dish when you want to have both a cream sauce and tomato sauce (but not a rose sauce). My dad complained that his dish wasn’t really hot and pasta and veal should never be eaten warm or cold, especially since the cheese didn’t look like it had melted or at least if it did, it resolidified. I ordered the Caribbean Fettuccine, not for the fact there are mango chunks in it because I dislike cooked or warm mango, but for the curry cream sauce which is seriously the best! And I also love that they have fresh parmesan, not the powdered stuff.

The price was reasonable and affordable as Italian restaurants in this city always seems to overprice things (or at least the ones I’ve been to). I would definitely come back with friends for a good Italian night out. I would rate this place 4.5/5. Hopefully next time I go, I can take a few pictures.

UPDATE: I returned here today and got some pictures (YAY!) Unfortunately the restaurant is kind of dark, plus there was quite a lot of overcast so even with flash these pictures were dark and though I did my best to increase contrast and brighten the images, they still aren’t of the best quality. These two are what I usually order as I absolutely love their curry cream sauce and the combinazione della casa always gives me the choice of cream and tomato sauce on the same plate. One thing I forgot to mention last time is that I love their fresh parmesan so much that I never tell them to stop and they just look at me like “ok, that’s enough,” but really if I had it my own way, I’d eat the entire block of parmesan

Caribbean

Caribbean

Combo Casa

Combinazione della Casa

Restaurant Review: Sakana Grill

Locations: 116 2 Ave SW
10 Crowfoot Cir NW

Website: http://www.sakanagrill.ca/

I’ve been to both Sakana Grill locations, but usually the Crowfoot location is more convenient for me. Tonight was a special occasion as I had finished the last final exam of my undergrad. I can’t say that it will be the final exam of my entire university career as I plan on going to law school, but it’s still a good feeling. It feels odd that I’m graduating. It definitely doesn’t feel like it’s been four years.

I met my best friend, Julia (http://wallsandstalls.wordpress.com/) when I was in first year in an introductory English class, special topics: gaming and ideology, so fittingly, I have ended it with her for dinner this evening. My sister has also been a really important person in my life, so she came along too.

I’m not usually one for sushi, but I felt that it was something I wanted to have to celebrate this epic achievement. I remember the first time I got a job, I spent my entire paycheque treating my family here.

Normally when I go with my family we get the sushi boats because they are the best deals considering the amount my father and sister consume, but today we went primarily with appetizers and a couple of rolls. My sister suggested that we try the takoyaki because they were particularly good. I think that they weren’t any different from other restaurants that serve the dish except that at Sakana there are fish flakes…which just make me think of fish food and ironically, I’m not a huge fan of fish. Tonight’s special were squid legs. I have a personal weakness for squid/calamari so we decided to give it a try. I was in love. There wasn’t a ridiculous amount of batter on the squid and there was a sweet-spicy sauce that was drizzled on top making it absolutely delectable! Of course this dish is squid, so keep in mine my bias. The Red & Black Ninja Roll is a must have at Sakana. It has salmon, unagi (freshwater eel) over shrimp tempura, tobiko (flying fish roe), mayo, finished with sesame seeds and unagi sauce. This roll is the only one I’m willing to eat raw salmon on. The second roll we ordered for the evening was the Ocean Mountain Roll, Julia’s pick. Now, the other ironic thing is that I hate wasabi. It’s not that wasabi is spicy, well okay, it is if you eat a spoonful, but really, who does that if they’re not being dared to. But anyways, wasabi has this really weird plant-y taste that I can’t get used to. So, the Ocean Mountain Roll has salmon, avocado and ebi (sweet shrimp) over tempura yam, cucumber and mayo, finished with sweet wasabi and sweet spicy sauces and tobiko.  Now I didn’t even know there was such thing as sweet wasabi so I was willing to try it. Sweet wasabi was true to its name. It was definitely not spicy and a spoonful of that stuff wouldn’t kill me, but the plant-y taste. Oh that disgusting plant-y taste killed me. Of course, my sister had to get her salmon and tuna sashimi because what is Japanese food without a couple slabs of raw fish. I won’t touch the stuff and I can’t tell the difference in textures of the meats, but then again I don’t care to put slimy raw stuff into my mouth. Another staple when going for sushi is tempura, especially if raw stuff doesn’t sit too well in your stomach. Of course, tempura, as I learned in my art history class did not originate from Japan, but was the result of contact with Portuguese traders during the Momoyama period (1573-1615).

For the first time, we also had dessert at Sakana. Okay, like we’ve all probably ordered a green tea ice cream, but tonight we ordered like a coconut surprise and a lava cake. Now I strongly suspect those aren’t made in the restaurant, but still yummy. I don’t care. . The lava cake, as my sister so expertly pointed out came with two scoops of ice cream. If I had known that we would have ordered not another ice cream dessert. The coconut surprise is like this giant egg shaped ice cream that had mango ice cream of the “yolk.” I got brain freeze. It was nice. I was tired and needed it anyways.

I would recommend the Crowfoot location over the downtown location because of lighting and atmosphere. It’s way more comfortable at the Crowfoot location than the darkly lit and kinda old looking downtown location. That being said, due to the dark and older appearance of the downtown location, it is a little bit more private for large parties.

For a Tuesday night, Sakana was pretty full. Every table had patrons. A good sign. I think.

All in all I would recommend this place for sushi, but I wouldn’t really suggest going with the yakisobas, they really aren’t that authentic. If you’re a big eater, get a boat. It will save you a lot of money.

Taking into consideration the price and quality of food, I would give this restaurant a 4/5

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Complimentary sushi that I have no idea what’s in it, but I just ate it anyways*

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Squid Legs

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Tuna and Salmon Sashimi

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Left: Red & Black Ninja Roll
Right: Ocean Mountain Roll

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Takoyaki

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Regular Assorted Tempura

Green Tea and Lychee Slush

Green Tea and Lychee Slush*

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Coconut Surprise

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Lava Cake with two scoops of vanilla ice cream

*Starred images: photo credit goes to Julia

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