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Posts tagged ‘takoyaki’

Restaurant Review: Wami Ootoya

Location:  130, 3820 Brentwood Rd NW
Website:  http://wamiootoya.com/

On this cold miserable day, I had a rare day to myself and since Val had an appointment in the afternoon, and the restaurant we originally decided on didn’t open until 12, which would be cutting it close, we decided to come here.

We arrived when it just opened so there wasn’t exactly a line up or need for a reservation as the website suggested.  At first, we were seated at a table for two, but after seeing how much food we ordered, the waiter asked if we wanted to move to a larger table, which we did.

The dishes came out with surprising speed.  First was the wakame, which was pretty standard, followed by the beef tataki.  The tataki was also quite ordinary, but was covered with a lot of onion (2 varieties, both raw, one green, one white) and fried garlic.  Instead of a ponzu sauce, it had tataki sauce (whatever that is, it was milder than ponzu sauce and more like a soy sauce).  I don’t usually eat beef tataki, so I don’t have as seasoned of a palette when it comes to it, but in Val’s opinion, it’s better with ponzu.  She also made an observation that I agree with.  While I love onions, there’s such a thing as too much onion.  Shortly after, the takoyaki arrived.  There was an inconsistency in size and texture.  Val got some with a crunchy exterior and soft interior, while mine kinda just fell apart.  Next the Ika Geso Age came.  Like I’ve said in many reviews, squid/calamari/octopus is my favourite thing in the world.  So of course we had to get something squidy.  The tear shaped bowl was a perfect choice for presenting the dish.  The portion size was also pretty good because deep fried food can often be heavy and greasy.  The chili mayo was a little different from most of the chili mayos I’ve had in the past, there was more of a tangy note to it which definitely helped with the greasy heaviness.  The sashimi and tuna poke tower came at the same time.  Val was really impressed by the thick cut of the sashimi.  She described the tuna as being toro-esque, meaning it had a visible grain and had an almost melt in your mouth quality, but not quite as good as toro because well…toro is toro (toro=tuna belly).  The tuna poke tower was the biggest disappointment (although not the only one, it was the first of many to come).  First off, there was a serious lack of sauce.  Pokes usually have soy sauce and sesame oil and a blend of seasonings that are unique to different restaurants that make them appealing.  Rereading the menu, I realized that it was supposed to come with a wasabi dressing, but that apparently never happened.  This was honestly just a stack of avocados, tomatoes, ahi tuna (that was pretty hard to find), and a “brick” of imitation crab topped with an ebi sliced in half.  There was some kind of onion and tomato salsa served on the side with 6 triangle shaped wontons that reminded me more tortillas.  Overall, the tower was bland and boring and I wouldn’t order it again.  I didn’t know/notice this, but on the sign out front, if we ordered more than $50 worth of food, we would get a complimentary katsu don.  The curry, though not Japanese, was delicious.  The rice was cooked on the drier side, so that you could make out the separate grains when you ate it, which is the way I like it.  I could honestly eat a bowl of rice with just the curry sauce (which had coconut in it) with no need for the katsu.  Finally the rolls came last.  The Hip Hop Roll had spicy tuna, fried onion bits, spicy imitation crab, tobiko, cucumber, and mayo.  Whatever it was they added to make the tuna spicy left it tasting really weird.  I didn’t like the overall taste it left in my mouth.  The Sakura Blossom Roll looked really pretty with the mango, avocado, scallop, masago, salmon, topped with key lime thyme pepper aioli sauce, but taste was a completely different matter.  First off, I didn’t even see that there was scallop in there, which I don’t particularly like raw anyways. The key lime thyme pepper aioli…I don’t even have words to describe.  I’m sure it would be delicious on anything else other than sushi, but on sushi…no, just no.

At the end of the meal, they presented us with a complimentary dessert: coconut jello.  The wooden spoons were so cute!  But the choice to serve it in a shot glass was an interesting one.  It made it hard to get out of the glass to eat.  Coconut jello is coconut jello.  Regardless of which restaurant, it’s prepared from the same mixture, so it all tastes the same.

The table settings were very cute.  The dish for the soy sauce was a little fish, the cast iron teapot (though very heavy) was very intricately designed, and the metal chopsticks (slightly modified from the flat Korean chopsticks) were very sleek.  And although I couldn’t see it, I really love open concept kitchens.  It gives me something to do while I’m waiting for my food, and also, allows me to see when my food is coming.

While my dad had a disgusting experience when he came to this restaurant, nothing in this visit indicated that to me.  I would definitely try their ramen the next time I come because in a short conversation Val had with our waiter, they make the ramen in house, so that would probably be their primary focus (and what they want to be known for as their specialty).  In addition that, they have a cafe upstairs serving bubble tea, snacks, etc.

Based on my experience today, I would rate it 4/5 and would come back.

open kitchen

Open Kitchen

tea pot

Cast Iron Teapot and Table settings

wakame

Wakame Salad

beef tataki

Beef Tataki

takoyaki

Takoyaki

ika geso age

Ika Geso Age

sashimi and tuna stack

Tuna and Salmon Sashimi; Tuna Poke Tower

katsu don

Wami Katsu Don

hip hop roll

Hip Hop Roll

sakura roll

Sakura Blossom “Roll”

coconut jello

Coconut Jello

 

 

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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.

sign

light

Light hanging at entrance

appies

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

miso-and-salad

Miso Soup and Salad

seaweed-soup-and-salad

Seaweed Soup and Salad

better-meat

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

 

cooking-meat

Cooking the Meat

Restaurant Review: Sushi Hiyori

Location: 1348 Hornby St

Day one, restaurant one. After being dropped off at the airport at 7:30 there was a lot of time to wait before our flight, so unsurprisingly, when we finally landed in Vancouver, everyone was starving. We looked up restaurants before we headed out, but decided that the best course of action was to go into the first appealing restaurant that we saw on our way to Granville Island. This was the restaurant we stumbled on.

As it was 2 in the afternoon, we decided to go with something light so that we could still have dinner at a reasonable time. We ordered the eight piece tuna and salmon sashimi, takoyaki, Energy Roll, and okonomiyaki. I didn’t have any sashimi, but my sister described it as being well chilled with no fishy taste for the tuna and that the slabs were sufficiently thick. The takoyaki is comparable to the one served at Sakana Grill. It too is served with a generous helping of fish flakes on top. However, I’d recommend these ones over the Sakana ones simply because it had a crunchier exterior, which I enjoyed immensely. The okonomiyaki batter is pretty much the same as the takoyaki except that it has onion and is flattened out into a pancake shape. This one was a bit of a disappointment as it was most unlike the picture that was printed in the menu. The menu promised a large pancake not unlike a Korean pancake in Korean BBQ. The first few bites were really enjoyable, but the sauce to pancake ratio was a bit off and there wasn’t enough sauce to go with all the pancake. The Energy Roll was essentially a dynamite roll with fried unagi on top, dressed with spicy mayo and unagi sauce. This roll is one of my favourites to date and this is the first time I’ve tried fried unagi (unagi in tempura batter and deep fried).

 Since it was so late, there were few patrons, but when we walked by around 7 pm, they were packed, which is always a good indication. Service was a bit lacking, but again, because of the late hour this was technically their lunch time. Having taken everything into consideration, I’d say that my experience here was pretty good and that I would recommend this place. I would give this restaurant a 3.75/5.

   

  

Restaurant Review: Globefish

Location: 6455 Macleod Tr SW Website: http://globefish.ca/ The first time I visited this restaurant was with my family. We had heard rave reviews about this place and as my sister was a sushi fanatic, it seemed natural to pay this place a visit. When we first arrived, we had a hard time finding a parking spot so my dad dropped us off to get a seat while he parked. The restaurant interior was fairly small and there was already a line up out the door. This was a good sign, it meant that it was popular and we could expect the very best. We waited for over half an hour outside in the heat with the disgusting smell of sewage wafting up at us. After a very long wait, we got in thinking we had escaped the smell, but alas, that was not true. They decided to keep the doors open, making the smell unbearable as we ate and I had no appetite for food. And it wasn’t as though we could eat quickly and leave to escape for service was incredibly slow. However, in this situation I can understand, as the restaurant was packed with a line out the door; it’s easy for the kitchen to quickly become overwhelmed. My dad has always emphasized giving restaurants a second chance. Today was their second chance. As we walked over from the mall to the restaurant in the rain the familiar smell of sewage rose up to greet us. We arrived a little early (five minutes or less) so the restaurant wasn’t open yet. We waited outside, being one of the first to enter. From the moment I walked in, I did not feel welcome. The hostess who seated us pretty much didn’t even say a word and just led us to our table and left. Our waitress was not any better. We were barely even settled when she came over and asked what we wanted to drink. We hesitated momentarily earning us an irritated look.  She returned quickly with our drinks and asked if we were ready to order. Having just come from my ophthalmologist appointment, my pupils were still so dilated that I couldn’t read and had to ask my sister to read off the menu to me. We asked for a couple of minutes to agree on the last few rolls and she walked away irritatedly. When we were finally ready to order, she was nowhere in sight. We ordered takoyaki and a mentai calamari to start, a prawn tempura, a tuna and salmon sashimi, and three rolls: the Power of Love, Tokyo Sky Tree, and Men in Black. Of course we had to get a calamari, it’s me we’re talking about. This calamari, as expected, had a Japanese spin to it. It was strips of battered and seasoned squid served on a bed of mixed greens and three slices of red bell peppers, drizzled with what appeared to be togarashi mayo. The first few bites were delicious and the balance between the oily heaviness that often comes with deep fried foods with the tartness of the mayo were spot on. However, as the ratio of mayo to calamari was a bit off, the calamari began to get heavier and thus harder and harder to eat. On top of that, it appears that someone was a bit heavy handed with the Japanese spices which I’m pretty sure had salt, so I had quite a time drinking the whole pot of tea trying to maintain the balance of sodium to water within my body. The takoyaki here is a bit better than I’ve had at most places. It isn’t swimming in sauce and it has more octopus in it. The prawn tempura was just sad. It was very clear that these were from frozen. They were tiny and stick like (like a little too rigid). I didn’t have any of the tuna and salmon sashimi, so I can’t comment much on that, but according to my sister they were up to par. The first of the three rolls, the Power of Love, wasn’t all that special. It was essentially a California roll topped with Unagi and Red & Green Tobiko. The second, the Tokyo Sky Tree, just looked so bizarre. The roll was stacked in three columns and topped with a tendril that looked like a piece of whole wheat deep fried Vietnamese vermicelli (inedible) and shredded green onion. Inside the rolls themselves were salmon, mango and the outside had avocado. The strangest part was that there were Cajun spices sprinkled on it and the menu stated “spicy mayo” but it was hot sauce and mayo drizzled on the plate. I liked the bit of sweetness from the mango in the roll, but other than that I don’t have too much to say other than I didn’t like it. The last roll, the Men in Black roll is a roll specific to the Chinook location. Unlike the other rolls, this one is made with black rice. I can’t remember exactly everything that went in there, but I do know there was cucumber, salmon, avocado, and tobiko. There may or may not have been Unagi. It was drizzled with a sweet sauce. It wasn’t like the Unagi sauce that I was used to though it tasted similar. This has to be my favourite roll. The addition of the cucumbers gave it a fresh taste in contrast to the heaviness of the calamari and takoyaki.

Based on the food and service, I most likely will not be returning here. When I go for sushi I prefer it to be a little more on the traditional side. I don’t ever want to find cream cheese on my sushi at any point in time. The presentation was a bit lacking and the wait time for service and food was a bit long for my tastes. For those reasons and those listed above, I’d give this place a 2/5.

Takoyaki

Takoyaki

Mentai Calamari

Mentai Calamari

Prawn Tempura

Prawn Tempura

Tuna and Salmon Sashimi

Tuna and Salmon Sashimi

Men in Black

Men in Black

Power of Love

Power of Love

Tokyo Sky Tree

Tokyo Sky Tree

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