Today we were back at Riz, which is still one of my favourite spots to recommend for their unique take on traditional Japanese sashimi and sushi.
Not authentic, but quality imported seafood prepared their signature style for a more approachable raw fish experience. Ideal for those squeamish on the idea of uncooked meats, and more appetizing for the greater part of the population. This is done with slightly warmer than room temperature rice paired with slightly torched sashimi.
They have recently been operating out of a ghost kitchen in existing restaurant space Bao Down by the Olympic Village, for take out or delivery only. And now they are finally prepared to offer dine in options with a more flushed out menu. And today we were getting a taste of that.
The only way to know Riz is here is by following their sandwich board sign. Here, you can order a smorgasbord of food including their sushi, Bao Down’s signature Chinese style white bun sandos, and YouTube sensation burgers and fries from Beast Burger.
But we were here to indulge only in Riz’s sushi and rice bowls, and as they are best eaten fresh. And we would clean all our plates, not leaving a single grain of rice behind, literally. A sign of appreciate and true tell of how much we enjoyed the meal below.
You always start off with their miso soup to warm up your belly. With seaweed, tofu, green onion, and dried mushroom chunks this is one of the more richer miso soups out there.
And whereas everyone knows the popular California crab roll and Dynamite prawn roll, available at most sushi restaurants; Riz has given both a facelift to make it all their own. Both rolls are like a remix. When you grow tired of the original song, a producer (or in this case master sushi chef) samples and adds their own twist to it. They essentially make it something new, while still giving you everything you still love about it at its core. Both were very well done.
Curry Dynamite features curry seasoned prawn tempura, cucumber, and mint mayo. Once again take what you know the base of the roll to be, and Riz has elevated it with a subtle nuance, indicative of their signature style. Fragrant yet mild, a whisper of flavour to not overwhelm, but have you continuously going back for the next piece, and another one after that.
Just don’t come in expecting what you know these rolls to be. As the Yuzu Crab tastes nothing like the Japanese mayo heavy California rolls of everywhere else. At Riz they use real blue crab, where you can make out the quality. The roll also includes the familiar cucumber and avocado pairing, but is then made unique with a refreshing yuzu tobiko. There is no hiding the distinct fresh citrus flavour in this. It is prominent, without out shining the crab.
If you can only order one item from Riz’s new dine in menu, let it be their Kaisen Don. This the chef’s choice of assorted sashimi, that varies day by day based on what is fresh in the kitchen. With 15 pieces of quality raw fish and seafood at $38, this is a great deal.
On today’s docket we had Hotate – scallop, Shima aji – horse mackerel, Kanpachi – amber jack, Akami – the lean part of bluefin tuna, Chu toro – the middle belly of bluefin tuna, Botan Ebi – spot prawn, and Ikura – chum salmon roe.
This is such a stunning presentation. Seeing it before you, there is no doubt as to the quality and the value you are getting. Everything was tender and at a temperature that spoke to it being fresh from the ocean and not from the freezer.
The scallop was most memorable for its texture. I have never had scallop so perfect. The mackerel was not too salty, as it can be. Just a hint to differentiate the fish. The spot prawn was my first of the season, fragrant and light as it is known to be, but not as sweet as I have had it. The tuna belly was lush compared the other slices of lean and clean white crush. A very well put together bowl that satisfies any sashimi craving.
Looking for a smaller serving of sashimi, try their new Nigiri Set for $24. A more modest 5 pieces of fish over rice. Once again at the chef’s discretion, all of great quality.
Today we had repeats of the same fish and seafood over rice as nigiri here that made an appearance in the bowl above as well, so I won’t repeat notes on each again. Just know it was a wonderful assortment and a good testament of the skill of our chef. I just wished it was served in the order that we should eat it in, or that a note of such was made to us when it arrived at the table.
Shima aji, Kanpachi, Hotate, Botan ebi, and Chu toro. The scallop was so large that it felt like 2 pieces over rice. The Fatty tuna belly had a hint of shiso mint accompanying it. And the spot prawn here was sweet and delicate.
In short, I have never had a bad meal at Riz and can confidently recommend them. Not traditional sushi and sashimi, but something all its own.
115 W 2nd Ave, Vancouver, BC V5Y 1B8