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Category: sushi Page 1 of 8

Seiza Japanese Cuisine

Looking for a grown up, night out on Main Street, my guest and I found ourselves at Seiza for some sushi and sake. The space has a modern vibe, befitting of a lounge, leading you to drink, and that we did.

Social distancing is cleverly enforced by the use of plastic bears painted to look like pop culture icons and concepts, including Pennywise from IT and Homer from the Simpsons. (I believe this is considered couture art.)I wanted a closer look, but sadly, where they sat you weren’t allowed to share their table. Though I did enjoy admiring them from afar. And in the spirit of cohesion, their smaller framed brethren hung on the wall as decor, as well.

Seiza’s menu is dense and chic, a hefty listing that spans pages and categories. Although with little descriptions and even less photos it is hard to order without asking a barrage of questions to your server first. Though with his help, we stuck to many of their house specialities, as a first time try.

Like the “Zombie brain”, named for its perceived look, this was a whole avocado split into quarters and stuffed with crab meat, then battered and deep fried, before getting a generous drizzle of spicy mayo. It was messy and mushy, yet satisfying in its crunchy meets squishy texture. (The name suddenly makes sense here.) As for taste it was delicious, great with beer, or after when you need to sober up from all the beer.

Speaking of beer, as we were in a Japanese restaurant, we decided to go for Japanese libations. A combination of hot sake and cold Sapporo to set the tone. The sake getting chased down by the refreshing, light beer on special for $1 off. Apparently this type of pairing is commonplace, but new to me, and I cherished the experience.

But back to the food: There was a sheet of specials to order off of. When I hear and read specials I think discounted food the restaurant wants you to try. However after being enticed, we learned that not all of them were on discount. An obvious point when we compared the regular menu with this abbreviated listing. Nonetheless we went for the uni cream udon at full price. I feel that ordering uni at any Japanese restaurant speaks to its caliber, in quality of ingredients used. And unfortunately the one normal looking piece of uni was hiding 2 grey and discoloured pieces, and this action spoke volumes. And at over $20 for this serving I expected better, considering the portion size was on the smaller size with 3.5 pieces of shrimp and 2 florets of broccoli. The flavour was at least there and the cream sauce tasty without actual uni flavour. I enjoyed the noodles the most. However the udon shouldn’t be my favourite part when it’s only the third word in the dish’s name: “uni cream udon”.

The rolls fared better in our opinion, however they were no different or standout from any crazily dressed and additionally topped rolls you can get anywhere. Due to my guest’s shellfish allergies and fish preferences we kept it salmon all the way, trying three different methods of salmon sushi preparation.

The first is the “Sexy salmon roll”, I am guessing for the way it looks, and then the way it makes you feel: no carbs in this so a slimmer you it insinuates. Here they used crab meat instead of rice. Although a clever no carb substitute, I found its sweetness overpowering, hiding the freshness of the salmon, which should have been the star of this offering.

The “Salmon oshizushi” gave you cooked salmon, which I don’t think was the intention. It was a lot more torched than I wanted, but at least I got the salmon flavour I was looking for here. This was the best out of the three, but I have had much better else where.

The “Ironman roll” hid everything under Japanese mayo and spicy washed tobiko. The menu listed Sockeye salmon, chicken, avocado, and tobiko as its ingredient make up. However I didn’t see or taste avocado, and the chicken was only filler. This sweet and tangy roll did pair well with our beers though.

And just for something to balance out all the punchy flavours, we got a regular Spicy yam tempura roll that wasn’t so spicy.

Overall this isn’t necessarily a destination or a stop if you are craving Japanese food or sushi. But decent as a pub, offering fusion fare with flare.

Seiza Japanese Cuisine
3068 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5T 3G5
(604) 428-5700

Kisso Sushi & Ramen, take out

With the announced mandatory closure of all restaurants for dine in services, take out is the only way to go. So when looking for a bite in Port Coquitlam we found ourselves at the newer restaurant, “Kisso”. Sadly, they were spending their grand opening avoiding people. However, with the nicer weather they still had guests coming in to try their sushi or ramen offerings. Grabbing a takeout menu from the door, and placing their order at the counter within, and waiting for it to be wrapped up to go.

Their list of offerings is pretty substantial. Several pages to flip through, and without photos it made the ordering process challenging for the indecisive. More complicated with descriptions of what topped the roll, what was outside of it, and what you could find inside.

We ended up choosing the “Tiger roll” for its name. “Sauce: Unami & honey ginger. In: 2 pieces prawn tempura, pineapple, and crab meat. Out: BBQ unagi, salmon, cooked ebi, green onions, and sesame.” Sadly it didn’t survive the travel. What ended up before us was a saucy pile of ingredients and rice that still tasted just as good. Enough salty and sweet flavouring to mask everything else, and has you still going back for another piece.

We also took advantage of their verbally advertised daily special of 2 rolls for $5.99. You can either have it two California rolls or two yam tempura rolls, or one of each. We did the later to be able to taste and compare their base rolls, with other sushi restaurants we have been to. The California roll was pretty standard creamy and sweet artificial crab meat, that could have used more avocado or maybe some cucumber for freshness. And the rice was a little hard.

There was a lot of yam in the tempura roll and nothing else. Here, it would have been nice to break all the starches apart with something fresh and crispy. Everything else was pretty much as you expected.

For something a tad more fancy we got the “softshell crab roll”. This was my favourite of the lot. This was not only visually interesting with the neon red fish roe accent, but stuffed full of tempura-ed crab, lettuce, and cucumber. A little dab of soy sauce and you are good to pop everything into your mouth.

Overall, there is something about not dining in that has you dropping your expectations. Food matters less and the setting more. And either way the latter will be casual, and the food you order more likely to match. This was definitely the case when it came to our sushi lunch today.

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I wouldn’t go out of my way for sushi I can find anywhere else, but I wouldn’t be apposed to trying their take on ramen if I am ever back in the area. I am glad we supported another local business trying to transition through this challenging time for the food and hospitality industry. Don’t deny your cravings.

Kisso Sushi & Ramen
1475 Prairie Ave B109, Port Coquitlam, BC V3B 1T3
(604) 461-0442

Ventura Room

My guest and I were attending a show at Queen Elizabeth Theatre, so decided to get in the mood with some food and drink at the neighbouring and new “Ventura Room”.

This was described as as a California-inspired bar, celebrating cocktails and live music. There was none of the latter this Sunday night at 5pm, when they first opened. But we would partake in the former, at least. To be honest I don’t know what “California-inspired” means, but the energy was laid-back, set to the tunes of hip hop and jazz.

There was plenty of space in the chic lounge. A wheel chair lift provided accessibility for the handicappable, a lengthy backlit bar spoke to the depth of their cocktail program, and there was plenty of seating to choose from: from high tops to booths. Set dark, you can just make out the golden geometric pattern that adhered to a mirrored backsplash, the tile trim that was set against a concrete wall, and a series of black and white photos that spoke to the history they wanted to put on display. The latter-most included suits and skirts toting cigarettes, attractive mug shots, and playboy bunnies in full costume. We would grab a seat under these, to set the tone.

The food menu was limited with the real focus being on wine and spirits. Small bites like pork jerky, nuts & olives, and wings. Along with a whole page dedicated to fusion sushi rolls. We would grab one of the latter, a trio of tacos, and a sushi-taco combo.

Our choice of their street tacos included baja fish, pulled pork, and a vegetarian cauliflower. We would get the “chipotle chicken” with lime crema, cilantro verde, feta, pickled red onion, and cilantro. They came in a trio, and our server was kind enough to offer us the option to pay for, and add on one more so we could have two each. We declined knowing we would order more tacos below. The “Chipotle chicken” was good, but nothing to write home about. It came to us cold, overflowing with filling for a messy meal. The squirt of lime helped to add zest when I was craving more seasoning and flavour.

I preferred the “ahi tuna tacos” a lot more. It had much more character and flavour thanks to the chili ginger seasoned tuna, yuzu aioli, avocado, daikon sprouts, and sushi rice. It was basically sushi deconstructed and re-housed into a batter and fried wonton-like shell. I liked the spicy kick and crispy crunch, but found each bite too creamy. So much so that you don’t get the taste of the tuna and the filling fell mushy.

We did try one of their sushi rolls. Given the bar setting and the rest of the menu, we played it safe with a fairly flavourful sounding fusion roll. The “crispy coconut shrimp roll” with panko shrimp, avocado, green onion, thai peanut sauce, and toasted sesame. I liked this the most out of all that we had. It was the definition of fusion sushi. Fresh with the scallions, hearty with the room temperature rice. I didn’t make out much of the shrimp or coconut, and found it very much so needed a dip in soy sauce for salt and flavour. Average at best.

As for drinks we had to get one of their share drinks, listed as “keys in the bowl” on the menu. There are only two options, both served in a gilded gold pineapple tumbler. We were immediately drawn to the “NSFW” (not suitable for work) for its name, but convinced to spend $3 more for the “Smokey the pear” given our server’s description of it. Hearing that it came with incense peaked our interest. But in reality, its scent doesn’t really add anything to the flavour of the drink, it simply gives it a certain mystique. As for the cocktail itself, it was smoky as the name promised, with a complex and juicy flavour thanks to absolut elyx, calvados, pear juice, lapsang, souchong tea, and lemon. But I wanted more smoke, and a stronger punch. Given that it was fairly easy to drink, I don’t know why it was recommended as a shared beverage. There was far too much ice, giving you the illusion of having more for less. And the pineapple is a fun novelty, but not one I haven’t experienced elsewhere.

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – No.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
I would come back out of ease, if looking for a destination before a show at Queen E. What we had today was not enough to have me declaring them a destination. I would describe what we had as “drunk food:” average in quality, but best when tipsy, and if you aren’t honing in on the nuances of it. Don’t deny your cravings.

695 Cambie St, Vancouver, BC V6B 0K9
(604) 620-5547

Green Leaf Café

I enjoyed my visit to the Broadway location so much, that when looking for a place for dinner in Burnaby, I was more than happy to visit their original location. It is a larger space with a larger menu. Although, with so much on their menu worth exploring, I had to take in their restaurant twice, before writing this review.

The Burnaby location is definitely the largest property of the two. A restaurant that greets you with its bar, well lit in the form of their logo. Available seating spills over on either ends. I can best describe the whole as a cabin, with wood planked walls, wooden floor boards, and worn wood tables and chairs that match. Wooden clocks hang on the wall, wooden ornaments hang from light fixtures, and wood crates are repurposed as shelves. The latter of which is used to showcase a collection of rustic antiques, glass bottles, and faux plants as decor. They even serve you the bill in a wooden water bucket.

The menu is pretty straightforward. A list of omelette rices, fritters, meat on grills, “big fresh greens”, “rice house”, stuff from their raw bar, fresh oshi, aburi oshi, pasta + udon, “gimbal” (Korean style rolls), and “social sharing” platters. Self explanatory, but I still could have used a lot more photos, if any. Considering they are a fusion restaurant, it would make the ordering process easier. You also might order more, when being able to see what you will be getting before hand.

They are well known for their omelette rice, and not coincidentally I tried all they had to offer under this category. The “Tornado omelette rice” is available in a sweet and savoury demiglace or in a creamy jalapeño sauce. We got the former, taking in to consideration our server’s recommendation. It is a marvel how they are able to whip eggs this smooth, then churn it like spun fabric. The result, a unique texture that is both chewy and airy. Comforting with the familiar gravy and tender rice.

Similar in taste, but with a varying texture in it eggs is the “House omelette rice”. This too is served in a sweet and savoury demiglace, but with fried garlic flakes, tomato, and chilli. The flavour is similar to a sweet pasta sauce with the inclusion of stewed tomatoes embedded into the rice. Overall good, but I would have liked all it with a sweet Japanese curry sauce instead. Here, the eggs are beaten in to sponge-like consistency, it ate like tofu in the way it melted. But the highlight of the dish, was the crispy garlic chips that added a crunch and some depth of flavour.

The “Soufflé mushroom risotto”, applied a different technique to preparing its eggs. Foamy and light, it was well described as a “Cloud egg omelette”. With jalapeño, it sits over a creamy mushroom risotto. The cloud separated like meringue. It created a nice break, something light and refreshing to balance out the richness of the earthy mushrooms. Together, this made for another comforting dish to curl up with.

In a completely different direction, we had the punchy “Spicy crunch prawn”, under the “tempura” section of the menu. Five pieces of battered and deep fried tiger prawns, coated heavily in a spicy mayo and tangy brown sauce. It all sits on a bed of greens that functions like a mixed green salad. It tasted like the filling of a sushi roll that I have had before, and I wanted it like that again, with its slower burn. With all this flavour, it needed a base to even things out. It needed rice.

“Green Leaf” is also known for their “oshi”, Osaka style pressed sushi. The obvious choice is their flame-kissed aburi oshi in salmon. And although I am sure I would have enjoyed it, I had to order the most interesting of my options, which was the “Basil ebi tiger prawn oshi”. Tiger prawn, basil pesto oshi sauce, black olive, and Parmesan cheese. Not surprising, it tasted like a pasta dish, minus the black olive slice that over powered, and felt out of place. The whole bite left me wanting wanting garlic bread and a red wine, thanks to the pesto and parm combo. Overall, fun for novelty, but not one I would order again. It is probably best along side other oshi, and used as a break in between bites.

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
Good food, familiar and comforting flavours, and a menu with plenty more worth exploring. Where else can you get eggs like this? Don’t deny your cravings.

9604 Cameron St, Burnaby, BC V3J 1M2
(604) 444-9802

Green Leaf Sushi

Today I was at the “Green Leaf” located in Kits, based off of a recommendation. And seeing how many people were waiting to enter right when they open at 5pm, alongside with me, it seems like I made the right decision. Here, it was nice they had benches around their exterior to seat those waiting.

We grabbed a couple of seats by the window bar. The space is maximized with short, narrow tables, a necessity given how they all quickly filled 15minutes after they opened. And throughout our stay, the restaurant saw a continuous turn of people sitting, eating, and leaving. Not including all the take out and food delivery orders.

As for the decor, it is more about what materials they used and where, as apposed to a collection of artifacts or art. Tile floors, panelled walls, wood block features, and wooden table and chairs. What didn’t seem to fit was the type of music being played. I found the classic styling of Frank Sinatra a little too jazzy for this causal, fast food, sushi and Japanese shoppe.

When it came to the meal, I liked the option of having either hot or warm tea. I choose the ready to drink room temperature version.

As for the food we shared a collection of items that jumped out at us. The “Aburi tobiko roll” is filled with wild sockeye salmon, cucumber, crab meat, and tobiko; topped with oshi sauce and green sauce. It was a tasty roll, especially with the crunch from the toasted tobiko, and the warming heat from the jalapeño. I would order this one again.

But I would skip the “Kani-ume oshi sushi” the next time around. Real Dungeness crab, tiger prawn, ume oshi sauce, and crispy capers with ume dressing. You could taste the quality of the crab, but the amount of mayo used was overwhelming. It needed more tang to cut into it, and I didn’t find the salted plum or the capers complimentary or effective in this regard.

Our server mentioned having uni in today, so I took advantage, by adding $6 a piece to the “Uni meshi ishiyaki” rice bowl. I ordered two pieces and they gave me two smaller ones when the second piece didn’t measure up. I ended up enjoying them as is, to not take away from their creamy flavour.

As for the mushroom bowl base it was shiitake and shimeji with rice in a hot stone bowl, served with a seaweed sauce. It also comes with a side of miso soup. It was like a Japanese style risotto with the sweetness of the shiitake mushroom coming through. The green onion added freshness and any excess uni acted like a creamy fermented egg to help sauce up the rice.

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Based on the what we had, and all the creative menu items we considered, I would definitely like to return to try more. Don’t deny your cravings.

3416 W Broadway, Vancouver BC, V6R 2B3

Black Rice Izakaya, summer menu 2019

Summer is in full swing, it is hot, you are sweating, and “Black Rice” is here to help. They are offering up another creative menu for this summer season, a few heat reducing dishes, served with Rosé.

The Rosé was great with our meal, but we had some soju to get us there. “Kashidaru” is Japanese soju aged in a whiskey barrel, exclusive to “Black Rice”. It is from one of Japan’s oldest sake breweries and comes with an interesting story. Their President passed away and they discovered this batch in his personal barrel room. And without any records they had to do some sleuthing to discover its vintage. This soju was aged for minimum of 13-15 years old. And after “Black Rice’s” four cases are done, and the other 10 left are gone, there won’t be any more, ever. And for $11 for 2oz or $120 for a bottle, I can see that happening soon.

As promised the menu served up temperature appropriate dishes, like chilled soup and cold fish to cool you down. And I can attest that this it did just that. I came in to the restaurant from under the sweaty sun, and left cool inside and out.

The “Spicy cold sashimi soup” is a common dish in Korea, and a nice way to start our meal. Cold spicy broth, seabass sashimi with salad. The lovely white fish was a nice compliment to the zing of the hot spice. There were perfect together, without overpowering one another. It would have been nice to have a bowl of rice or a handful of noodles to enjoy the rest of the broth with though, after all the fish is gone.

“Miso ceviche” in a miso broth with truffle oil, onion, peppers, and seabass. Served with taro chips that make for good scoops. It didn’t taste much like miso, but I appreciated the twist with the use of yuzu citrus instead of lemon or lime. I also made out the strong flavour of shiso leaves, which I didn’t prefer. This was another refreshing summer offering, but you were left with so much ceviche, and not enough chips to eat them with; and especially not enough fish roe to top each bite with. Without the chip it was just soggy fish salad.

“Teishoku D” is their cold noodle box option. Plain soda noodles, 3 assorted tempura, 2 pieces inari sushi, a side of tempura crumb, agedashi tofu, assorted oshinko, and green salad. You dip the noodles into the sweet sauce and slurp as you like. With a variety of sides, this makes for a fulsome lunch box.

Their “Pad Thai Yaki Soba” was another creative fusion dish. You take the idea and flavours of a shrimp pad Thai, including the tamarind; but instead of flat rice noodles you use buckwheat soba noodles. And the result is an extra tasty dish that has a great heavy starch chew from the noodles, and an extra kick from the korean bbq sauce, gochujang. Delicious, but a little watery.

The “Ika feast” was one squid two ways. Squid tubes sous-vide in butter and finished on grill, and its tentacles battered and fried in tempura. We were given a choice between two presentations and we all agreed that although the grill was a nice visual, the one without it would be more practical when serving. The hay set on fire in the grill creates smoke and a distinct fragrance that could effect everything else you eat to follow it.

As for the squid, I preferred it grilled, especially with the creamy and tangy sauce you dip it into to. The fried version was more like Greek-style calamari, especially with the cooling tzaziki it was served with. The sauces were definitely the highlight and what gave everything its flavour.

The “Soy chicken karaage” was classic Korean style street food, double fried. Juicy dark meat karaage, battered, powdered, deep fried, and then glazed in their house soy sauce. It had a medium level of spice to it, with the ability to adjust it more or less to your taste. A great tapas option, best enjoyed with one of their many specialty beers.

And since we were already there, we had to try some of our and their customer favourites. Like the “Unagi” roll, which always makes for a great show. A prawn tempura and cucumber black rice roll topped with eel, and drizzled with a sweet brown sauce. It is torched table side for some extra caramelization.

Their “Lollipops” are a great way to enjoy sushi, gluten-free with no rice. Thinly slices of radish are wrapped around sockeye salmon, bell pepper, tamago, oshinko, cucumber, asparagus, avocado, and spinach. I liked the novelty of holding it by the stick, but would have liked to dunk it into something. Some sauce to flavour, before I took a bite that had it crumbling. As is it was bland, yet was too much like a salad roll to dip into soy and enjoy.

My favourite and the must have, anytime you are here is either of their “Aburi platters”. 6 piece aburi salmon hako, 8 piece black mentaiko roll, and 4 piece chef’s choice aburi nigiri. You are asked to allow them 20 mins to prepare it all, and I can tell you it is worth the wait.

Their “Aburi Hakozushi platter” was a complete set of their 4 signature aburi rolls. Aburi salmon, aburi saba, aburi negitoro, and aburi scallop. A great one for sharing. A collection of textures and flavours for any sushi lover who likes their raw fish a little cooked, and their sauces creamy and warm.


Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
“Black Rice” continues to be one of my go-to’s for creative Asian fusion. They are so very thoughtful in their food offerings. Trying new things and catering to the season and their explorative clientele. If they keep this up, I will most definitely be back time and time again. Don’t deny your cravings.


782 Cambie Street, Vancouver BC, V6B 2R5

Ton Ton Sushi

Today I was on the South Cambie restaurant strip, checking out a new sushi addition. There really isn’t anything any visual that has this place standing out, inside and out. My decision to visit was based on an invitation.

They have been open since January of this year, and there really hasn’t been much of a buzz surrounding their opening. Although the restaurant was steady with locals on a Tuesday. They were cleverly catering to the neighbourhood, offering approachable Japanese tapas and sushi with North American twists.

The menu was a novel, 10 pages of small plates, combos, and drinks. With so many possibilities to siphon through, having high resolution photos were helpful. In my case, I allowed my guest to do the ordering.

We started with their raw oysters, which unlike at other places, come dressed. At $1 each during happy hour we did a dozen. Twelve Fanny Bay oysters of various sizes, half dressed in soy, the other six in sweet Korean chilli. The flavours were good, but they fully hid the oyster, so I can’t actually review the quality of them.

Similarly, the quality of the fish used in the “Italian seasoned tuna tataki” was hidden behind the heavy handed Italian spices. This was an interesting interpretation, one not need repeating. It overpowered the fragrant tuna with the flavour of salt, tangy, and capers.

However, I finally got to appreciate the quality of their seafood with the “Ituna and ikura”. A lean fish with a creamy finish, topped with roe that popped in your mouth.

Similarly, there was nothing to hide behind with the sea urchin. Served as a two bite nigiri with seaweed. Serving smaller pieces, they combined three to create enough for one. Once again another quality product. Slightly sweet, completely creamy, melt in your mouth uni.

The “Sushi pizza” was another fusion offering, a concept that had been done, but this the “Ton Ton” way. Just looking at it you can’t tell it was meant to be presented as a pizza. The very thick slabs of tuna and salmon covered the crispy and chewy brown rice patty base. And there was much more of it, where for pizza the crust typically is the platform. The flavour was good with the creamy and spicy dressing, but I wanted the pizza easier to eat. The fish chopped up into cubes, and slices you can hold and take nibbles from.

The crispy wings were a spicy pub-style wings. Tasty enough, but really not what I would recommend ordering from a sushi place, given all the fresh seafood they have to offer.


Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
They offer quality for those looking for raw and fresh fish. And familiar flavours for those who need some fusion to edge them in. Not a destination, but a good option if you are in the area. And with everything at reasonable prices, I can see why the neighbourhood came out for dinner tonight. Don’t deny your cravings.


4018 Cambie Street, Vancouver BC, V5Y 2H5

Fairmont Pacific Rim Lobby Lounge, Omakase

This one has been a long time coming. My friend is a big fan of sushi and when she saw the Omakase menu from Fairmont Pacific Rim’s Lobby Lounge, she immediately reached out for us to dine with her. Unfortunately it is only available for lunch during the weekdays, with limited quantities available. This meant we all had to book a day off to enjoy this fresh seafood feast. So we three gathered together on a Thursday between 11-4pm.

In my opinion, this is one of the nicest hotel lobby bars in the city. Past the comfortable lounge with live music and glass fireplace is a bright space. All white with clean tables and stools, in front of a small sushi bar. We were given a spacious table in front of the three sushi chefs, who would be crafting our assembly to come. It was set with a couple of books and a couple of artificial potted plants.

Once again this feast is by reservation only, there isn’t even a listed menu, it is what ever is on hand on the day, and at the whim of our chef. Previously there was a 4 person minimum requirement to your party, but they have since been more flexible on this rule. It is $50 per person, served all together family style, but with the ability to divide servings evenly.

To start with, I decided to indulge in a cocktail flight. A limited edition trio that pays tribute to the four vintage and couture Versace dresses and jumpsuit that they currently have on display in the lobby. At $45 you are paying $15 for 3 smaller drinks, made with premium ingredients. The cost also included the lovely flight sheet with each cocktail’s descriptions and sketches of the fashions they took inspiration from.

The “Bombshell” was a light and fizzy glass on the sweeter side, but with pops of punchy liquor. It was finished off brilliantly with a tart cherry at the bottom. The cocktail was as bold in flavour and full of complexity as the pop art details of the jumpsuit it drew from. This was a fashion silk print of Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe and James Dean.

Like the ruffled silhouette, the “High noon” too took its inspiration from the “Great American Cowboy”. Smokey, full bodied, and easy to sip with rich notes of sarsaparilla and all spice. It promises to keep you warm throughout the dark winter nights.

The “Pop art cosmo” takes inspiration from the 60’s, just like its dress pairing. Pop art graphics and bold colours. This twist on a cosmo includes cranberry and a hibiscus vodka. It is accented with mezcal and black raspberry liquor, giving you a deep and more alcohol forward beverage with tart pops.

As for our Omakase feast we started with their sablefish miso soup with pork belly, tofu, seaweed, and green onion. This was certainly the most luxurious miso soup I have ever enjoyed. With plenty of ingredients it ate more like a stew than soup. It was sweet and smokey, along with the regular salty and fishy flavour of miso. Although, I could have used a touch less oily grease per spoonful. Nonetheless I drank the bowl clean.

Next we each had two raw oysters in shell each. Typically they go for $5 per, and I can see why. These were some of the plumpest oysters I have ever had. Tasty and fresh. My guest said, “they were on steroids!” Served with tiny bottles of tabasco and the typical tomato and lemon vinaigrette, plus plenty of fresh horseradish to ladle on.

The following dishes were all presented on a long serving board, propped up on two wooden blocks. Everyone was given a taste of the following, grouped together before us. Four appetizers, four nigiri, and six various specialty sushi pieces. The following is the order in which we enjoyed them, doing so from lightest to heaviest.

The seaweed salad was a hearty mix with two clams in shell, two pieces of juicy shrimp, and a chunk of light sable fish.

The tuna tataki and spinach gomae was served room temperature. The pieces of tuna were tender and lightly seasoned, but I would have liked more sauce or some on the side to dip into. I passed on the mound of spinach, not enjoying the texture of wilted greens. Though my guests were more than happy to gobble up my share, so it must have been good.

The wild salmon was fragrant, a flavour only dampen by the amount of onion you could taste on it. A flavour that came from the gathering of onion sliced at the bottom of the cup, and not from actually eating any.

Next we enjoyed the nigiri that all came pre-seasoned with soy and wasabi. The Sardine nigiri was salty with no soy needed. It was a tangy and overwhelming on flavour.

By comparison the Shrimp nigiri was very light, fragrant with a hint of sweetness.

The Wild salmon was tasty, with more salmon flavour than the appetizer version above.

And the Tuna belly was luscious and certainly my favourite of the four.

Next we enjoyed some specialty rolls. Like their house roll: the “Lobby lounge roll”. An asparagus, avocado, cucumber, and shisho roll topped with salmon and hamachi. This was on overly herbaceous roll thanks to the herb.

I preferred the California roll made with real crab meat. The real shredded crab with creamy mayo made all the difference.

The Sesame albacore roll was made with plenty of sesame oil. It was fragrant and so nice that I wanted another taste.

Whereas the Wayu roll was disappointing. It was like a bite of meat and rice with vegetable. Whereas I would have liked the meat by itself, as an appetizer. It felt wasted to hide the grilled char of the meat behind rice and cucumber.

The Salmon motoyaki was my favourite of the six rolls. The gooey cheese sauce flavoured it well, adding a mouthwatering creaminess to the bite.

And the Lobster roll was good, but it tasted much like the California roll crab, but saltier. I wanted a more buttery flavour from this and from lobster in general.

And we saved the best for last. A serving of creamy uni made into a salad with ikura, shisho, and seaweed. My guest immediately declared, “This is what good uni tastes like”. It didn’t have a strong seafood taste, it was mild and melted in your mouth. Rich, buttery, and good.

And as a nice treat the restaurant surprised our birthday girl with a celebratory dessert platter to share. An assembly of chocolate, chocolate covered fruit, and macarons on a bed of cocoa nibs.

The Chocolate covered Strawberry with edible gold paint was delicious. I definitely recommend ordering yourself a plate for your next occasion.

The Yuzu macaron was citrus fresh, a little orange and a little lemon in a crisp shell with smooth cream.

The Cherry blossom chocolate was a beautiful dark chocolate enrobing a tart cherry centre.


Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
The omakase menu is definitely worth checking out during lunch time. But as a whole Lobby Lounge is one of my favourite places to grab a beautiful cocktail at, with live music in an opulent setting. Don’t deny your cravings.


Fairmont Pacific Rim
1038 Canada Place, Vancouver BC, V6C OB9

Minami, revisit while on the Keto Diet

It has been a while since I visited “Minami”. I enjoy the food, but don’t always feel like I am getting the most out of my meals with them. Considering the money I spend, and the smaller portion sizes I receive. Although always delicious and fresh, I often leave wanting more for cheaper, else where.

But today I was dining with @MaryinVancity, who has started and is adhering to a ketogenic diet. The “Keto diet” is a low-carb, high-fat diet, in which she has already seen some success in. “It involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat. This reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis”, (according to Wikipedia). So today, Japanese cuisine offered a menu with many dishes she could enjoy or easily modify to be without carbs.

But before we get into it, for my first visit to “Minami” and my thoughts on the vibe and the decor, visit the link below.


Mary was able to enjoy the kale salad and salmon sashimi, still meeting her diet’s requirements.

Instead of the traditional spinach version, “Minami” offers the Yaletown crowd a familiar kale twist. Though the “Kale goma-ae” is seasoned in sesame soy, just as the spinach would have been. The leaves of the kale offers a nice crisp texture that holds up. I typically avoid the regular version for its wilted greens, so being able to chew through the firm kale now was nice. This was easy to eat and tasty in its sauces.

The “Salmon sashimi” was beautifully plated and incredibly fresh. No complaints.

We also shared the “Aburi beef carpaccio”. AAA sterling silver short rib, 63 degree sous vide egg, shaved grana padano, wasabi creme fraiche, caper crisps, organic baby greens, and a wasabi chimichurri ponzu. We were advised to break the yolk and mix the lot together. The outcome, thin cuts of meat made gummy by the saucy egg. This was a nice contrast to the fresh sprigs of green and the firm and salty shards of cheese. An amazing plate for $22.

Thanks to Mary, I learned about the keto diet, what you can and can’t eat, and how so many have found success in losing weight with it. However I don’t think I could give up carbs, they are the foundation of what I like about eating. Like sushi with its chewy rice so I had to order myself some below.

Working on the assumption that dinner wouldn’t be more than $30 I rounded out my meal with the “Champagne roll”. A sushi roll Mary could only try one of, as the rice that coated the sushi roll is a carb. A Hokkaido scallop, sockeye salmon and cucumber roll, coated in golden tobiko. The latter gives it its name in colour and the fact that eating these tiny fish eggs gives this roll a popping sensation. Pops like those from a bottle of champagne with its fizzy bubbles, and they lingered well after. I continue to find bits of tobiko in my teeth and on my tongue, and continue to bit down and pop them all in relish. The roll was prepared and served sans soy, flavoured intentionally for a salty and sweet combination. It was a lighter roll, allowing you to make out the natural flavour of the shellfish and fresh fish. Tasty but at $18 a little much for every day dining.


Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
This continues to be a Yaletown hot spot. A great place for small plates and light banter. I advise visiting with a group, to be able to try everything and afford it. Don’t deny your cravings.


1118 Mainland Street, Vancouver BC, V6B 2T9
Minami Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Riz Sushi

Today I was invited to “Riz” to check out their newest menu item, a build your own Chirashi bowl, and just as they received their latest shipment of fresh fish flown in from Japan.

“Riz” is better known for their contributions to the catering scene, offering their fresh made poke bowls and sushi rolls to local fine food grocery stores and hospitality services. But you can also get their goods right from the source, at their humble store front located in East Vancouver. There, they are also known for their savvy mural. A memento from previous owners, redone in the image of the new owner’s love of hip hop. A Japanese garden with 90’s and 00’s rappers painted in, a nod to the restaurant’s excellent playlist offering you classic and new beats.

Before we sat down to eat, I was treated to the unboxing of the fish. I witnessed the opening of the styrofoam shipping box and the reveal of several whole fish kept frozen on ice. Definitely a first for me, and it spoke well to the quality of the seafood to come.

We got our stomachs warmed up, literally with their “Aburi salmon bowl”. A great way to enjoy the great flavour of poke, but a little warmed up for the colder weather. It was warm yet cool, crunchy and crispy, yet chewy. A whole slew of ingredients gathered together for a bombardment of flavour and textures that kept you interested bite after bite. Seaweed, cucumber, edamame, crab meat, tobiko, tempura, and plenty of salmon. All coated in a spicy mayo aioli and their feature sauce. To date this is my favourite version of poke. It pops with a really good fish and vegetable to rice ratio. I didn’t have to ration bits of salmon with spoonfuls of rice.

We followed that up with the feature. Today we had our Chirashi bowl curated for us, but typically it is a choose your own adventure. You pay per piece and only for that which you want. The first I have ever heard of. It is nice to not have to eat the filler fish or egg pieces first, and only then slowly work your way to what you actually want from a sashimi rice bowl. Here you want everything you get because you specifically asked for it.

Our bowl included Sockeye salmon, tuna, octopus, shima aji, madai, hokkaido scallop, local hamachi, Japanese hamachi, and blue fin tuna belly (otoro). We were advised to start with the less fattier cuts of fish and work our way to the richer morsels of tuna, hamachi, and otoro. You could tell the difference between the hamachi imported from Japan, versus what was sourced more locally for less. Just like how you can tell it was the otoro you were biting into, with its buttery finish and satisfying after taste.

And now you can get your very own “Riz” customizable Chirashi bowl today. I would advise just getting the blue fin tuna and making it the best bowl ever. Although be aware, the availability of your favourite fish will be on rotation, with different catches being imported weekly.

But despite the catch of the day, at “Riz” you are guaranteed quality, they pride themselves on bringing downtown Vancouver quality raw seafood to the East Side, and into their comfortable setting. Fast food that doesn’t cut corners, offered at prices close to cost. The bowl we had would be considered a super deluxe bowl, priced at around $20-$30. Whereas at other restaurants offering similar quality of fish you would be charged $30-50 for 6 pieces.

We followed our feast of deluxe sashimi with a handsome nigiri platter featuring Hokkaido scallops, local spot prawn, and shima aji and madai from Japan. The imported fish was gentle, perfectly nestled on a bed of sushi rice. And as a fun contrast the crustaceans were sauced up for a sweet and salty finish.


Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Quality fish on par with any that you’d find in Vancouver, but conveniently in East Vancouver, for those who don’t want to travel downtown. Great fish based entrees like poke, sushi, and now chirashi available at reasonable prices, fast and easy in an unpretentious setting. Don’t deny your cravings.


2887 East Broadway, Vancouver BC

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