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Akira Sushi

Apparently this is a long standing sushi shop on the West End. And they are known as being one of the firsts to introduce purple rice on their menu; for an even healthier sushi option. I knew nothing of them, so thought it was time to change that.

Walking into the smaller restaurant, you couldn’t tell there was so much history here. The decor is fun with traditional Japanese art and characters shown animated. And there are a handful of narrow two person tables staggered to maximize the space.

At the time of this visits, we were here to their just released summer menu, made available early spring.

Starting with drinks, they had two new mocktails that were sweet and fruity for spring. The Blueberry Mojito Mocktail was blueberry, lime juicy, simple syrup, and sparkling water. We made the mistake of not stirring up. What we liked earlier on became too sweet as we progressed down the glass.

The Passion Fruit Green Tea Mojito was a little better. What would be extra sugars were tempered by the natural bitterness of tea. Passion fruit, lime juice, simple syrup, and green tea. I just wish that this came with a larger straw, so that the pulp did not get stuck mid sip.

As for food, we started with their Albacore tuna mango salsa and were told it usually comes with an uni shooter, but they were out today. As a fan and fiend of uni, I did find this disappointing. I rather not know what I could be having, just let me enjoy what I can have. As for what was actually before us, this was basically a fresh tuna salad to help open up the appetite. I liked the mix of vegetable and fruit toppings, but did not find that they helped to give the plate any personality. I would skip this one.

Instead, I recommend their aburi, we tried two different types, ordered a la carte. The Engawa aburi. This is meat from the “tail fin muscles of a flounder, a flatfish that dwells on the ocean floor.” (As per Wikipedia). It tasted a lot more refined before I Googled what it was. The meat was tender, an extraordinary, melty, and gristly mouthfeel; but without the gagging. This was well tempered by its thorough char. This was a unique one that I would recommend.

The Beef aburi was thoroughly cooked then topped with what they listed as “JP momiji oil” on the menu. Peppery and chewy, a little on the tough side it ate like a mouth full of meat on rice. I would have preferred another fresh fish or seafood option instead.

Next, between the two of us we shared their Kaiseti Bento. A wonderful presentation of tiny morsels on a tray. This was not only tasty, but a fun discovery activity. Not listed on the menu, it is a rotation of items available and today that was 2 kinds of sashimi, Squid nori maki bi mayo, Deep fried macht, Lime soba, Salmon oshi sushi, Goma-e, Chawan mushi, Moniji negituro maki, Fried pumpkin cake, Almond milk pudding, and Fruit.

The hamachi and salmon in the sashimi were so fresh and light, you could taste the quality of this.

The savoury soy mochi had a fun texture and taste, especially as I am more partial to savoury than sweet.

The slice of squid was so delicate and pretty. This was edible art with a creamy milky finish.

We would have liked to have had the cut maki rolls as is. Topped with the spicy tomato paste, it overpowered with onion. This ate like cooked food and I was not able to make out what fish was at the roll’s core.

The deep fried shrimp was different. Not Ebi mayo as I was expecting, based on its appearance; but a crispy bbq grill shrimp instead. Probably robatayaki.

The pumpkin croquette helped to bridge savoury and sweet, with its crispy shell and creamy mashed potato centre.

Chawarimushi is basically egg pudding in a light broth, except their version ate more like a meal with chunks of crab meat, mushroom, and vegetables at the bottom that you can stir up and fold into the egg.

Similar in silken texture was the coconut milk pudding. Made from real milk with a subtle almond essence to it.

Lastly, we shared their Gromoku Somen cold noodles, cleverly served in an ice bowl. This is dipping noodles when you want ramen on a hot day, but none of its heat. Half the flavour and none of its steam; this is a great eat light, feel good noodle option for summer.

And who could say no to fluffy battered, deep fried, sweet bananas with mango syrup and real mango chunks for dessert?

In short, I can see why they continue to be a long standing institution in the neighbourhood.

Akira Sushi
1069 Denman St, Vancouver, BC V6G 2M7
(604) 806-6321

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