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quitthebandVancouverSince December 1, 20083 Reviews
Average Rating
3.5 (3.3)
  • Food4 (4)
  • Service3 (3)
  • Value4 (4)
  • Ambiance2 (2)


Displaying 1 - 3 of 3 Reviews Found
Shiro3096 Cambie Street, Vancouver
Decent sushi
Submitted Monday, March 16, 2009 - 6:09pm [Dine in]

Decent sushi-centric Japanese restaurant. Japanese staff, both front and back of house.

The atmosphere and decor was a little bit tattered. Not great, but not terrible enough to ruin the meal. There are 2 TVs. I always felt that TVs in a restaurant bring everything down a notch. Keep the TVs in sports bars please.
The bathroom was pretty gross. There's a bucket right in the middle of the room (to collect water from a leak in the ceiling I suppose - although it wasn't leaking when I was in there- weird).
Also, its a pretty small space with a lot of seats crammed in there. Keep in mind that getting a seat at the sushi bar is alot better than getting a table right in front of the door (especially when its busy and people are lining up inside and outside. Peering over your shoulder eyeing your food).

Service was good as it was prompt and attentive. Efficiency is the name of the game here so you're not be schmoozed by the waitstaff - which is a predominantly good thing.

Food was good. Not mindblowing, but decent value for the money.
Tuna sashimi was delicious, melt-in-your-mouth. The salmon sashimi appeared to be wild salmon as it was a deeper red color.

Ordering tempura is a great litmus test to gauge the authenticity of a Japanese restaurant. Alot of 'fake' Japanese restaurants run by Chinese and Korean people make tempura which is really cake-y and/or intensely yellow in color.
I was slightly disappointed with the tempura at Shiro given that it is an authentic Japanese joint. The batter was slightly 'wet' and 'heavy', and yes, this was before I put it in the sauce.
Also, the flavouring of the tempura sauce was off target. It was missing the sweet aftertaste that its supposed to have. It was also not salty enough, and the darkness of the sauce belied its lack of saltiness.

The rice was properly cooked. Another reliable indicator of a good Japanese restaurant.

Overall, a nice decent sushi place. A little tattered, a little crowded.

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Menya401 West Broadway, Vancouver
They have authentic Kyushu tonkotsu ramen! What a find!
Submitted Friday, January 16, 2009 - 12:52pm [Dine in]

I'm writing this review in response to some of the other reviews posted here. It seems though there is a misunderstanding going on with regards to Menya. Specifically with regards to their Nagahama ramen.

I've been to Benkei ramen and Motomachi Shokudo, and although I was excited at the prospect of eating authentic Japanese ramen (which it was), I was a little deflated from the realization that there was no Kyushu tonkotsu ramen.

For those of you who don't know, Kyushu tonkotsu ramen is the variety of ramen that they have on the island of Kyushu. Although there is some variation in the types of ramen among different areas and prefectures of Kyushu, you can collectively call them Kyushu tonkotsu as they are all quit different from ramen from the rest of Japan.

At Menya, this variation of Kyushu tonkotsu ramen is called: Nagahama ramen. Nagahama is an area of Fukuoka city where this ramen started.

Kyushu tonkotsu ramen is special for 2 reasons:
1. The noodles are extremely thin. They are also much more straight and white than the curvy, yellow, mid-thickness (not as thick as udon) noodles that you find in Tokyo and Hokkaido ramen.
I love this kind of noodle! much more so than the yellow, curvy noodles.

2. The broth is exclusively made from pork bones. There is no shio, shoyu or miso flavoring going on here. And even if there is, its a small amount. Ramen cooks pride themselves on their 'secret recipie' brew of pork broth. The whole process is quite labor intensive. Its a contradictory soup: thick in that it is rather rich and fatty, opaque-looking like a miso broth. On the other hand, it is thin in that it is essentially a soup that doesn't really 'coat' the noodle completely.

As anyone who has walked by a ramen shop in Kyushu can attest, its a smelly proposition! One whiff of cooking smells coming out of the exhaust fan of a ramen kitchen is enough to make you gag. What does it smell like? ASS! Yes, it smells like ass, and the reason why is because they're boiling the pork bones down to make the broth. But don't let that turn you off, the results are quite delicious.

For those of you who are used to the ramen they serve at Benkei or Motomachi will find the toppings included in the Nagahama ramen to be a little bare. This is what its supposed to be like. A few slices of chashu (grilled fatty pork), some bright red sliced ginger, and sesame seeds to taste. Sometimes a boiled egg is included too.

Now, going back to the noodles, they have this thing called "kae-dama". This is a second helping of noodles. Yes, just noodles. The idea is to get a top-up on noodles should tell people that Kyushu tonkotsu ramen noodles are good, and worth getting seconds for.

Admittedly, it is a very sparse offering. Simple broth, simple noodles, not a lot of toppings. The deliciousness is in the simplicity of the presentation and the taste of uncluttered, well prepared bowl of noodles. This is how they eat it in Fukuoka and this is how I like it.

So don't trash the ramen if its not what you're used to and especially if you don't know what you're talking about.

Apparently, the owner's wife is from Fukuoka, and hence the inclusion of Nagahama style ramen.

To my knowledge, this is the only place in town that serves Kyushu tonkotsu and I love them for it. It's quite a 'niche' type of food to be serving, but I'm just glad that they do!

For novices, I would say the Nagahama style ramen is an acquired taste, but you should go give it a try.

I haven't tried the other ramen, so I cannot comment on those.

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Barefoot Kitchen1725 Davie Street, Vancouver
Part 2
Submitted Sunday, November 30, 2008 - 7:49pm [Dine in]

The prices are very reasonable. The most expensive item on their menu is $11.50.
I'm a big eater, and I felt satisfied with the amount of food was served with my order.

I ordered the Saba shioyaki (grilled mackerel), and was pleasantly surprised with the size of the portion. It was a whole (medium sized) fish!
The miso soup was a full bowl, much more satisfying than the little mini-bowls than you get at many of those generic, bland sushi restaurants.

My girlfriend got the the mentaiko (spicy fish roe) pasta and enjoyed it very much. She had been craving it for a long time and had resigned herself to having to learn how to make it herself because she wouldn't be able to find it here.

She and I agreed, there is a certain 'je ne sait quoi' element to real Japanese food - something you can't put your finger on, but is almost like a 'a-ha' moment when you eat it. We've tried Japanese restaurants of all shapes and stripes in this town.
We're so happy to have found this place. Furthermore, we're so excited that the prices are so reasonable - we decided to go back to school, and are living the student lifestyle again.

If this all sounds like a happy happy love-in, well cut me some slack.
As I'm sure some of you can attest: if you've ever lived in another country/culture and come to love the food, when you come back, you can succumb to reverse culture shock. Its hard when you can't find all those foods you loved here. We were just sick and tired of running the gauntlet of bad Japanese food.

Barefoot Kitchen is unpretentious, good-value, Japanese home-cooking, comfort food classics.
Its a great find!

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