Tuesday, December 06, 2011
It's been a few months since my visit to Kimura for omakase, and knowing their menu changes frequently, I decided a revisit was in the making. A friend from YYC had heard great things about it all the way from cow-town, so I figured, why not?
Very weird eating a salad with chopsticks! The fish were a nice touch, but the parmesan was weird. I wasn't quite sure what to put all these flavours together. I found the dressing a little too oily, and a bit undersalted. But onward after eating the obligatory greens.
This is the cold plate and I regret I didn't write down everything on this platter. There was jellyfish, taro, Japanese squash, fish liver, and oysters. Some of the other things I didn't like and I ended up taking a small bite of everything just to "try". This differs from my past experience, where I inhaled absolutely everything!
Fresh oysters on the shell with a mignonette sauce...these were fresh and tasty! I liked that they weren't big like Fanny Bay oysters...these were like Kusshi...unfortunately, our server never told us what they were. Notice how two are dressed and one isn't? I'm sure it's because the undressed one is different, but I would have liked to know what was what, and why chef did that. Ah well, must sit at the sushi bar next time!
Salmon Carpaccio was amazing. Slices of salmon topped with vinegar for tang and a bit of sesame oil for flavour and richness. (not a smidgeon of wasabi in sight!). Eat this quick because the tangy vinaigrette could easily overcook the fish if you wait too long. This was a portion for one...so yes, very generous.
Then we got the yakitori dish. On the top was the Nasumaki, which is eggplant wrapped in chicken. I've never had eggplant this way, but it works! We also got some chicken bites as well as some pork. These were all good, and to be honest, I was craving cooked food after the salad, salmon and oysters! I think I would have like a bit more char on the skewers, but with the ventilation in the restaurant, it's probably best they didn't!
The next dish that came was a complete surprise...Ox Tail Braised with some really sad looking grilled potatoes and broccoli. The ox tail was huge, and very tender but the flavour profile was very mild. It could have used some more salt, spice or maybe some smokiness. I love ox tail and enjoyed this dish despite the slight blandness of the dish.
Another hot dish! Yay - perfect for winter! A hot bowl of Tofu Soup (not miso-based) with pork meatballs, yam noodles and shitake mushrooms. The broth was slightly oily and again, mild in flavour, but the pork meatballs were really good. I think the addition of a few more noodles would have benefitted the soup.
To finish off the dinner, we were presented with four pieces of nigiri...Ebi, Eel, Tuna and Salmon. Finally, wasabi arrives. I found it weird that the sushi came after the ox tail and the soup...but nevermind that. The sushi was good, and it was presented much nicer than the last time I had this. The knife cuts were more refined, and as with before, the rice to fish ratio was perfect.
To sum up, if you want to revisit Kimura fora repeat of your previous experience, you will be disappointed. However, if you approach each visit with a brand new outlook, you will be pleasantly delighted. So yes, I will revisit, without any expectation that I will enjoy the best dish of my last meal. That was my problem this time; I was hoping for a repeat performance of the highlights from my last meal, and that served to cloud the whole experience. Learn from me!
Saturday, December 03, 2011
One weekend this part winter, I went to Dinesty for the very first time. I was really looking forward to having some Sticky Rice Roll (Salty, of course), but they were sold out. So let that be a lesson to you...go early!
This is one of my favourite go-to dishes at Shanghainese dim sum places. It's simply Marinated Beef wrapped in a fried pancake. Yeah, meat rolled up in a pancake...it's like a fajita, but what gives it the Asian touch is the addition of green onions with hoisin sauce to make the beef and pancake lighter than you would expect.
We also got their Noodles topped with Home-made Meat Sauce. I don't think there was enough of the meat sauce, but that might just be a personal preference. I do like the shredded cucumber and egg on top...adds great texture to the noodles buried underneath. While I liked this dish, I found the addition of the cool cucumber and the room temperature egg hastened the cooling of this noodle bowl, and I like my food hot!
These are the Xiao Long Baos, filled with just the right amount of soup, and served piping hot. I like the slight chewiness of the skin, which were thin enough to balance the meatiness inside. I think these are one of the best in Vancouver, well, Richmond. There were four of us and we ordered two of these. Yes, they are that good.
Stewed pork in brown sauce...with a bit of Bok Choy. The brown sauce isn't spice, but rather a thick gooey sauce that slightly sweet and does a great job of permeating throughout the pork. Shred this up a bit and add a bit of the vegetable. Then, grab the steamed buns that accompany it and make yourself a sweet chinese sandwich!
These buns are so good...at a glance, these reminded me of madeleines! Soft and doughy, these are great for absorbing the sauce from the pork. Their sponginess is what I really cherish. You might find the pork a little bit fatty (I did) but the buns make up for it. Trust me.