gracecheung604 | write on time: Octopus Garden..or Tako Garden

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Octopus Garden..or Tako Garden

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Met up with some friends who just moved into Kits and tried out Octopus Garden for the very first time. I cannot believe I haven't been here before...the quaintest little bistro, staffed with Japanese waitresses and chefs...truly authentic.
Ahhh...in case you didn't know what an octopus looks like, this ceramic version greets you at the door.
And if you forget after you walk in, this tiny guy sits at the table and lets you rest your chopsticks on it.
Since there were four of us and three of us like red windes, despite the sushi/sashimi that we are here for, a bottle of Red Bank. Love how they wrap the bottle up with a cloth...I do this at home!
This is the Tuna and Salmon Sashimi. I like that it's not presented as just slabs of fish like most places. Instead, it's layered out like a flower. And another nice touch? The wasabi is pressed into the shape of a leaf, and it's sitting on top of a leaf!
Uni and ikura nigiri sushi. I have never been a fan of uni, even though my BFF can inhale a whole fresh one by herself. But, I admit, it's been a while.
Okay, the challenge is on, if she eats an ikura, I'll eat an uni. I don't really want to share the ikura at all, but if she is willingt to eat it, I guess I will have to. So, the verdict? It's not nearly as "iron-y" as I remembered..I think I like it. And she actually enjoyed the way the little "balls" popped in her mouth. She found it a bit salty, but hey, that's the way it's supposed to be.  
Next on the docket, battera saba. I've had a similar dish before at Hapa Izakaya (it's their aburi saba). The difference is that the Aburi didn't come as a roll, it was simply the grilled fish. The roll arrives and is grilled tableside. As you can see, the roll is square, and it's due to the mackerel being pressed onto the rice. If you look closely, you can see bits of green inside the roll. Once you bite into the roll, you can see that the rice is flavoured with specks of shiso, so good! Definitely worth a try.
So, I normally get BBQ salmon neck, but that's not available here. I guess I'll got for the BBQ Salmon Belly. This was the most expensive dish of the night at $15, and the least flavourful. It wasn't quite grilled enough and the skin wasn't nearly crispy enough. Boo! The only disappointment of the evening. We still managed to finish it all though...as it was the only "hot" dish of the night.
So, the last thing we had was something much more traditional...the spicy scallop roll for $8.
The outstanding thing about this dish is that the green you see there isn't cucumber, and not avocado, thank god...it's Sugar snap peas! First time I've ever had this in a roll, and it's amazing! A must try for $8.
I have to say...so good on its own...I didn't even use wasabi!
Boy, the really hammer in the octopus theme here, eh? Nevertheless, truly one of the more authentic Japanese restaurant in the city. It's a small spot, so be sure to call for reservations! Octopus' Garden on Urbanspoon

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