Food ordered [06/24/12]:
- Toro Seafood Bowl Set (fresh sashimi, ikura, tobiko, grated okura and mountain potato on original mixed sushi rice) $16
Food ordered [07/04/12]:
- Agedashi Ebiten Tofu (deep fried tofu and prawns in a soy broth with shrimp infused oil and dried baby shrimp) $6.40
- Chicken Karaage (famous Japanese "o-sho" style deep fried chicken served with sansho jio) $7.80
- Salmon Carpaccio
- Kakuni Bibimbap (stewed pork belly, sweet dried shrimp and scallions on rice served in a hot stone bowl) $8.80
- Torotoro Cha-Shu (pork roasted then slowly braised 'til tender served with Suika's secret spice blend) $6.80
- Matcha Brulee (frozen matcha creme brulee with fresh whipped cream and red bean sauce) $4.80
- Earl Grey Brulee $4.80
- Yukimi Daifuku (green tea and red bean gelato wrapped in sticky rice cake) $4.80
The first time I ate here for lunch with a small group of friends, the day that I landed in Vancouver. The restaurant was recommended to me by a Japanese friend who said the food was very authentic. While we were eating here, the same friend's family actually came to have lunch as well. Its certainly encouraging when you know that Japanese people are eating at a Japanese restaurant.
The restaurant was lively and had a fair number of diners for late afternoon. The servers and sushi chefs are friendly and all shout 'hello' at you in Japanese when you walk in. While definitely not as noisy as Guu, (your order isn't shouted across the restaurant as you make it), the staff still create a very charming atmosphere. The furnishings are simple and the tables and chairs are little more than utilitarian. Much more interestingly, there are several large pieces of artwork made from some kind of textile almost entirely covering one wall. On the opposite wall, Japanese cartoons are played from a projector. (There was a Miyazaki film playing while I ate lunch here although I couldn't name it.)
The lunch set was decently good although fairly expensively priced for what they serve you. The sashimi was incredibly fresh and absolutely divine after eating the sushi in London for six months. There were several other vegetable ingredients including, what my Japanese friend tells me, is a paste made from mountain potato. It had the consistency of toothpaste but with a grainier texture... I didn't enjoy it at all but perhaps its more of an acquired taste. Apparently its a very common Japanese ingredient. In all, I very much enjoyed the food but felt it was too expensive.
Seafood Bowl Set.
I said I wouldn't go back to this restaurant considering my lunch here but found myself in attendance again for a girl's night out dinner. Their dinner menu is entirely different from their lunch menu. The majority of their dishes were decent but not memorable. I remember thinking throughout the meal at every dish that I knew a restaurant that did that particular item better. The agedashi tofu was soft but the outside wasn't crispy. Try One More Sushi in UBC for great agedashi tofu. The chicken karaage was wonderfully crispy but lacked any distinctive flavour. Try Charcoal in Richmond for really good chicken karaage.
Agedashi Ebiten Tofu.
Now the desserts... As most know, dessert will always be my favourite part of the meal. The girls raved about Suika's Matcha Brulee but I honestly didn't see the appeal. I was expecting something similar to creme brulee, but it more closely resembled nian gao or Chinese New Year's cake in taste and texture. The earl grey creme brulee was very slightly sweet and didn't have a strong earl grey taste. The yukimi daifuku was essentially mochi and no better than the kind you can buy in a box.
Overall, I wouldn't come back to this restaurant. Although I've made some strong comments, the food was definitely decent. My expectations were perhaps a little higher than usual based on the good reputation of the restaurant and the higher than average price point but the food didn't really meet them.
Matcha Brulee, Earl Grey Brulee, and Yukimi Daifuku.