I had the chance to try out the Taste of Yaletown a few weeks ago (it's on until October 29!) at Minami , which has three menus, one for lunch and two for dinner.
The Minami Zen Platter, available at lunch, is only $25 and gives you a taste of their legendary dishes as well as some new tastes too. Starting off with the Signature Sushi, you get a nice assortment of Aburi nigiri, a roll as well as the oishi sushi all featuring their renown aburi-style of searing the fish.
The platter also includes Aburi Bincho, accompanied by a creamy gomae sauce with a touch of heat from the wasabi-masatake.
There is a light salad, the Minami Chopped Salad, with some baby greens, miso tofu, crisps and some chopped chicken. The umami-soy vinaigrette is a light dressing that complements the salad quite nicely.
The Ebi Fritter is light and crispy, with a bit of chili aioli and balanced with a soy-balsamic reduction.
Rounding out the plate is a bit of spiced couscous.
And the other item on the platter is the Kurobuta & Kobe Meatball, bathed in miso-chicken jus with a few fingerling potatoes.
And for dessert, you have a choice of ice cream for sorbet. All in all, this is a great deal for $25.
Their dinner offering is $45, although they do have a $35 option for vegetarians, which I will review next. The appetizer is the Minami Appetizer Trio, with a serving of the Aburi Sushi Sampler, a light Citrus Salad as well as a Brome Lake Duck Confit Drumette. The Aburi sushi is just tasty as you would expect, and the citrus salad is fresh and light. I loved the Aburi grapes! The Duck Drumette is crispy on the outside and moist on the inside, perfectly executed.
For the main course, they have a unique Surf and Turf. For the Surf, you get their Sakekasu-Saikyo Miso Baked Sablefish, which is melt in your mouth tender. The fish flakes off easily and it has a rich and sweet flavour. I could eat this everyday! Partnered with the sablefish is a serving of marinated Japanese eggplant, I had never had this before but it sure was tasty.
For the Turf, you are treated to Fraser Valley Pork done two ways. The first part of the duo is a Braised Pork Cheek, which is super tender. The second part is a complete textural change, with a Crispy Kakuni Pork Belly. The skin is crunchy, not just crispy. There is a bit of salsa on top, with a miso Asahi glaze. Both items rest on a bed of rapini and the greens definitely benefit from the juices of both the sablefish and the pork. It's one of the best Surf and Turf plate I've had.
To top this meal off, there is a Mixed Berry Sakekasu Bar. It's a miso pecan-walnut crumble, paired a vanilla-sakekasu & rhubarb-ume ice cream, and with a salted caramel sauce drizzled on top. It is as tasty as it is beautiful.
There is a lot of Sakekasu in this menu, and I didn't really know what it was. It turns out it is the lees which are leftover after all the liquid is removed from the fermented rice used to make sake, and is a key component of the umami taste.
The $35 Vegetarian Menu starts off with a Minami Garden Trio. There is the Minami Garden Plate with fresh veggies and a delicate quinoa and avocado roll wrapped in soy paper, and some spinach shira-ae, a crumbled tofu. There is also a Kaiso (seaweed) Salad, which is paired with some frisée and a soy vinaigrette. I loved the little lotus chips on top. And to finish off the trio is the Miso-Tofu Sansai Gyoza, pan-fried to perfection.
The entree is a serving of Crispy Tempeh, surrounded by a whole gamut of vegetables, such as a roasted mushroom medley, fingerling potatoes, cipollini onions, haricot verts. The dressing is made with maple-sherry vinegar and soy-balsamic reduction, topped with some Aburi corn and bell pepper salsa. The dessert is the same as the $45 menu above.
So whether you want to stop by just for lunch or a night out, I'd say any of the three menus are worth a try. I've already booked my table for the 24th; dinner before the Canucks versus Red Wings game! Note that not all menu items listed above are available throughout the year, some are just here for Taste of Yaletown 2015.
Note: I was hosted for this tasting by the nice folks at Taste of Yaletown.