An incredible restaurant. It is unfortunate that the Dine Here listing currently describes it as "a neighborhood sushi joint", which would be like describing Fuel as "a typical west coast eatery" or something.
Having made a 3 week trip through Japan recently, Dan is definitely the restaurant in Vancouver that comes closest to the most enjoyable meals we had in Japan. What makes this kind of Japanese food great is the emphasis on bringing out the character of the ingredients.
According to their website, their goal is to serve up "simple dishes derived from traditional japanese recipes." I would say that they hit it pretty spot on. Every dish is creative, well thought out, and inspired. This is Kyoto style culinary magic.
There is a lot to explore on the menu, and the specials menu is usually 10 or so appealing items. My personal favorite item on the menu is the ika mentai Isobe age, which is an exquisite combination of squid, cod roe, green beans and shiso in a tempura coated roll. The mix of flavors and textures is out of this world. Other favorites are the miso grilled eggplant (very savory) and the tuna chili sashimi (very light and refreshing). They do a great job with the grilled items, which are nicely washed down with the R&B ales.
The service is friendly. It always seems to be the same small staff, including the owner Ken cooking with a younger chef in the open kitchen, and Ken's wife and another woman serving. We have always had prompt, attentive and friendly service.
The ambiance is low key and relaxing. There is a bar in front of the open kitchen, so if you want to chat with the cooks, go for that.