Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Ki at the Shangri-La
I have been to Ki in Toronto and was quite eager to try the Vancouver location at the ShangriLa. Having been open for only three weeks or so, I decided to go for lunch with a colleague just last week. It's owned by the same people who own Hy's and The Keg, so we weren't overly surprised to see a Hy's waitress serving us.
The first thing we ordered was the Beef Carparccio. Instead of slices of beef, we were presented with thinly sliced pan seared strips of beef, rolled around scallions and watercress. Served on a thin and long slice of cucumber, and topped with crispy shallots. The shiso vinaigrette is richly scented with shiso, so avoid it if you don't like the flavour of that. The meat had a nice texture and the presentation was really pretty. Do yourself a favour and eat the cucumber too, I did!
Next up was their Sashimi Salad. Slices of sashimi on a bed of lettuce. The dressing is a good mix of sweet and spicy. It won't blow your mind, but the heat is definitely there. They serve the dressing in little fried wonton skin cups as well as some fresh seaweed tossed with sesame seeds and oil. Great for a textural change from the sashimi.
We also got their Dynamite Roll as well as a Spicy Scallop Roll. The Dynamite Roll was as you would expect, with the usual Tempura Shrimp, mayo and julienned cucumber and some tobiko. It wasn't exceptional, it was just average, and not really worth the price. Afterall, it's a shrimp and some rice. so this wasn't bad, but I'd have to say that the Spicy Scallop was. I know my tolerance for heat is quite high, but the heat factor was completely absent here. We did tell the waitress, and to her credit, she did ask the sushi chef about it. He told us that the spicy mayo is very mild and gave us some on the side to enhance the roll. It did help and I also like the presence of asparagus in the roll for added flavour, but it's not spicy! We also got the Ki Spider Roll, made with soft shelled crab, made with mango and perilla leaves. I didn't take a picture of this one, but I remember it well. Perilla leaves are really strong, even more than shiso. As a result, the mango and crab were pretty much lost in the roll.
From their Kushiyaki menu, we got their Unagi skewer. In total, we got four pieces of Unagi, each wrapped in Pancetta, along with some onions and pickled daikon strips. For $12, I would say this was a good deal!
On each skewer, there were two pieces of unagi, perfectly wrapped. The pancetta was salty and crunchy with a great charred flavour and texture. The sweetness and the delicate texture of the unagi makes this a perfect bite.
All in all, the restaurant is good and definitely priced on the high side. If you avoid the rolls (ie. Lobster Tempura Roll for $20) and concentrate on the other items, you can have a great meal at a decent price. For example, their Ikura (my all-time favourite) is $12 for two pieces of nigiri...when other places charge ~$3/piece at the most. As you can see, this was not ordered. However, their Vegetable Tempura is $11, which is fair market value, I'd say.
Have you been, either to the Toronto or Vancouver location? They also opened one in Calgary...let me know your thoughts if you've been!