Location: 130, 3820 Brentwood Rd NW
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.