Kitchen By Yugo

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Seeing on the Instagram pictures recently, I decided to take S to Kitchen by Yugo for her birthday. The restaurant features Japanese French fusion and is located on Denman Street near Robson. When we arrived on a Sunday night, the restaurant was completely empty but with tons of staff and cooks. We found it a little odd, but the restaurant slowly filled up. Still, there were quite a lot of employees compared to the size of the restaurant which we found quite odd. At least our service was super attentive because of this! The interior is dimly lit and is quite nice for date night or a girls’ night out.

 

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Chicken Wings

To start, we had the Chicken Wings which feature a soy mirin glaze topped with a grilled shishito pepper. The skin was crispy with the sauce being on the sweeter side. I really liked the attentiveness to plating because the toothpick which they poked in acted as a fork to eat the wing. This made it really easy to eat without having to use your hands!

 

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Aburi Hamachi Oshi Sushi

Next, we had the Aburi Hamachi Oshi Sushi. The plate was again visually appealing with crispy taro chips on the side. I found this was slightly on the dryer side as aburi sushi is often more creamy. This wasn’t very memorable compared to the other dishes.

 

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6 pc Omakase Nigiri

We each then got a set of the 6 piece Omakase Nigiri. Wow! This was beautiful and each piece was carefully curated. To be honest, I don’t remember each type of fish, but they were mostly white fish. What was special was that each nigiri had a different topping or sauce to accompany the fish. This twist is not traditional at all, but each topping really worked well and we both agreed it tasted great despite being fusion style. None of the nigiris need soy sauce since they already have their own topping.

 

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My favourite of the six had to be the Aburi King Salmon with black truffle. This piece is normally $17 for 3 pieces if you order separately, so the omakase set for $30 is a pretty good deal. The salmon just melted in my mouth and the black truffle worked so well with it! The egg was also super interesting as it was stuffed with  grated radish and you could really see each layer of egg!

 

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Carbonara Udon

Kitchen by Yugo also feature a small selection of entrees which raelly showcase the French side of things. We decided to try the Carbonara Udon which features bacon, mushroom, parmesan cheese, and poached egg on top. As for noodles, the Japanese twist is featured using udon! Who knew a carbonara sauce would work well with udon? This creamy goodness was delicious and flavourful and the egg was poached perfectly so the yolk ran out. Our only complaint was that the udon was slightly on the softer side as I personally prefer it to be more chewy. This is a good dish to fill up if you’re hungry.

 

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Scallops Risotto

Last but not least, we finished with another one of their French influenced dishes, the Scallops Risotto. This dish featured Hokkaido scallops, black truffle, mushrooms, ikura, honey ricotta, bonito flakes, and fried leeks. Ikura and bonito flakes with risotto? Yes, this worked! The saltiness from the fish roe with the creamy risotto was absolutely delicious! Our only mistake was ordering two creamy dishes, so we were beyond full! Really enjoyed this and it was priced well given the ingredients.

 

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Lychee Osmanthus

I actually really wanted to try their desserts but we had ordered way too much food. To our surprise, the restaurant gave us a small piece of Lychee Osmanthus on the house so we had no excuse to skip dessert! This featured lychee mousse, osmanthus jelly, sponge cake, and pannac cotta. The dessert was light and refreshing and a perfect way to end the rather heavy meal near the end.

Overall, we were quite pleased with the food at Kitchen by Yugo. I would suggest coming with around 4 people so that you can really try a variety of dishes. Really interesting dishes which I haven’t really seen elsewhere but definitely do not expect to find any traditional Japanese dishes.
 

Pros:
– Great execution of French Japanese fusion dishes
– Nice date night ambiance

Cons:
– Aburi Hamachi Oshi was quite mediocre

Price Range: $30-60 per person

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 4 Service: 4 Ambiance: 4 Parking: 3 Overall: 4

 

Kitchen by Yugo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Black Rice Izakaya

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Disclosure: All food and beverages were complimentary, but all opinions are my own.

Back in December, Black Rice Izakaya launched some new items on their winter menu and we were invited for a tasting.

 

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The interior is full of wooden details giving it a warm izakaya feel.

 

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Gin No Kurenai “Pink Lady”

We started off with some sake called Pink Lady which has a rose colour and is light, sweet and fruity. My first time trying sake with a rose colour and it didn’t disappoint!

 

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Goma Tuna

To start, we had the Goma Tuna which was served with a side of sea urchin. The tuna was lightly seasoned with sesame and seaweed.

 

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Hamaguri Dobin Mushi

One of my favourite appetizers was the Hamaguri Dobin Mushi. This clam soup had a clean but flavourful taste and was perfect as a palette cleanser. Highly recommend giving this a try especially in this cold weather!

 

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Kimchi Scallop Motoyaki

The Kimchi Scallop Motoyaki was visually attractive! The scallop shells were filled with of course scallop, kimchi, chopped bell pepper, butter and cheese. The kimchi was not overly spicy but was packed with flavour.

 

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Teriyaki Wagyu Steak

Another delicious dish was the Teriyaki Wagyu Steak. The Wagyu beef is glazed with a teriyaki sauce and sits on top of Monterrey jack and mozzarella cheese which has been mixed with mashed potatoes. The beef was cooked to a medium rare with a beautiful pink center. Super tender! My only wish was that the cheesy mixture was more stringy.

 

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Kimchi Nabe

Perfect for the cold weather is the Kimchi Nabe, a kimchi stew with vegetables, sliced pork and tofu balls. This Korean Japanese fusion works and would be great with a side of rice!

 

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Napolitan Spaghetti

One of the more interesting dishes was the Napolitan Spaghetti. The dish features soba noodles, tomato sauce, ketchup, bacon, sausage, onions and egg underneath. The spaghetti reminds me of the HK style cafe pastas with the sauce being on the sweeter side. But for some reason, it works and tastes really homey!

 

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To finish, we had some sushi which is part of their regular menu and is not usually presented like this. This is just a quick version of the Aburi Scallop Hako and the Black Mentaiko Roll. Still, they tasted great and the Black Mentaiko Roll caught me by surprise with the chewy black rice.

Overall, some great new winter additions to the menu this season. The food is definitely fusion and strongly Korean influenced, but it works! A great spot to share a few dishes with friends and have some drinks!

 

Black Rice Izakaya Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tetsu Sushi Bar

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Tetsu Sushi Bar is now one of my favourite sushi spots in Vancouver. The restaurant opened up earlier this year and is located on Denman near Robson. The spot is quite small and can only fit around 15 diners so be sure to make reservations in advance.

 

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The restaurant is known for their omakase which is reasonably priced compared to many of the other omakases in Vancouver. You can also choose to have chef’s choice of sashimi or sushi and can have this with or without the appetizers, udon and ice cream.

 

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They have a daily special menu depending on what’s fresh. At first, we thought that they only have this menu along with the omakase, but turns out they have an extensive menu with sushi rolls, dons, and appetizers. I was definitely surprised by the large menu.

 

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E decided to get the omakase set with 7 piece premium sushi for $62.75. First, you get 3 appetizers. The first was Black Cod Sperm. Yes, this was extremely weird to hear but I was curious to try it. It looked sort of like brain and didn’t really taste bad or anything. I honestly can’t really explain what I ate, but worth giving it a try if it’s part of the set anyways.

 

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The second appetizer was Sea Snail in a light broth with pea snaps. The snail was very tender and not tough at all. It sort of reminded me of escargot but had very clean flavours.

 

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The last appetizer was the Grilled Sablefish. The skin was crispy while the meat was super soft and moist. Buttery smooth! So good!

 

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K and I both got the Chef’s Premium 7 Piece Sushi for $42.75. The only difference with the premium vs. regular set is that you get Hokkaido Uni and Bluefin Tuna Kamatoro. E’s omakase set also came with the exact same pieces since he chose to get the 7 piece premium option as well. The majority of the fish were white fish but I always enjoy trying these as I would never normally order them on my own. From left to right: Bluefin Tuna Kamatoro, Bonito, Ika (Flying Squid), Masai (Sea Bream), Sardine, Spanish Mackarel, Hokkaido Uni. The sardine was probably my least favourite as it was more fishy but the ginger really helped. The favourites for me were the sea bream which melted in my mouth and of course the two premium pieces. The bluefin kamatoro which I believe the waitress said was the cheek area and is from Nova Scotia was definitely among our favourites as well. The fish was so buttery and creamy and just melted in my mouth! And of course the Hokkaido Uni was a no brainer. Sweet and fresh with a tiny bit of wasabi. So good if you are a uni lover. All the fish already come brushed with some light soy sauce so no need to dip any additional soy sauce on top.

 

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Since K and I did not get the omakase set, we decided to share the Inaniwa Udon which you can choose to have hot or cold. We chose to have it with the cold dipping sauce which was very refreshing and I can imagine this being perfect in the hot summers. I really enjoyed this thin and chewy type of noodles which the waitress said they order from an area called Akita in Japan and these are handmade in Japan. If you love udon, you must try this! I want to come back just for the udon!

 

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E also got to choose between the cold or hot Inaniwa Udon as part of his omakase. He chose to have it in hot soup and he said it was raelly delicious as well. I think the portions for the omakase are half the size though.

 

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To finish, E’s omakase also came with his choice of green tea or black sesame ice cream. Nothing too special with the green tea ice cream, but of course it’s nice to finish your meal with some ice cream!

 

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Overall, we were all very pleased with the food at Tetsu and cannot wait to come back. The highlights were definitely the nigiris and udon and I like the fact that you can order a la carte and also order rolls. Service was also extremely friendly and our tea was always filled up. I noticed there are quite a few regulars here so I really hope this spot is here to stay!

 

Pros:
– Really good nigiri and udon
– Service is very friendly

Cons:
– Very small spot

Price Range: $40-60 per person

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 5 Service: 4 Ambiance: 3 Parking: 3 Overall: 5

Tetsu Sushi Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hyack Sushi

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Disclosure: All food and beverages were complimentary, but all opinions are my own.

Last week, we were invited to a tasting at Hyack Sushi which is located in New West. The location is perfect because it is just across the street from the New West skytrain station! The restaurant only opened for a few months but already has steady traffic. The space used to be a school but they have fully renovated the space to fit a kitchen and dining area. One great thing is that there is free parking in the back

 

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Bingtanbok

To start, we got to try one of their newest imports from Korea, the Bingtanbok which is from Baesangmyun Brewery Co. The drink is a black raspberry wine and reminded me of the black currant Ribena drink. With only 7% alcohol content, this fruity drink is perfect for those who dislike the strong alcohol flavour.

 

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Deep Fried Poached Egg

The first item we tried was the Deep Fried Poached Egg. The sous-vide egg is cooked so the yolk is runny. The egg is then battered and deep fried and topped with some spicy mayo. A must try!

 

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Gyu Katsu

The Gyu Katsu is a dish I don’t find at too many spots in Vancouver, but I remember seeing this a lot in Japan. Triple A beef is battered with the usual pork katsu batter and cut into slices. As you can see, the inside is still raw. They provide you with a little stove at your table and you can then place the meat on the grill to sear it as much as you’d like. FOr myself, I like my beef medium rare, so I found a quick 1 minute on each side as already sufficient so the center was still a beautiful light pink. The beef itself was very tender and it was served with three sauces including the sesame and salt, home made teriyaki, and traditional tonkatsu sauce.

 

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Aburi Nigiri Set

If you’re looking for some sushi, there are plenty of options available. We were able to try the Chef’s selction of Aburi Nigiri Set. This included aburi tuna, salmon, salmon bomb (salmon wrapped around chopped scallop), ika (squid), hotate (scallop), and ebi (cooked shrimp).

 

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Spicy Chirashi Don

The Spicy Chirashi Don is visually appetizing! A variety of sashimi including salmon, tuna, octopus, and tamago sits on top of some greens. The dish is served with a bowl of rice and a large amount of Korean sweet and spicy sauce (gochujang). You can eat it just as a normal sashimi salad because the fish is pretty fresh, but you can also drizzle the spicy sauce on top if you want bit of kick. The sauce is not overly spicy as there is a bit of sweetness to it. I usually prefer to have a regular chirashi don without any sauce though since you can taste the freshness of the fish. This is good for those who enjoy some more flavour and spice to their food.

 

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Aburi Salmon Oshi

Another aburi dish was the Aburi Salmon Oshi. Don’t expect this to taste like the ones at Miku because it is definitely a different take on that dish. This one is more saucy and even has some cream cheese in it. It makes the dish very creamy without having that oily texture. This dish is probably not to be eaten alone, but to be shared as it can be a little too saucy, but it’s good!

 

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Chawanmushi

Last but not least, Hyack Sushi will have a special Sablefish Set from December 17 – 24th just in time for Christmas. The set includes the Chwanmushi which is a steamed egg with vegetables. So silky smooth!

 

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Sablefish Miso Soup

The set also includes the Sablefish Miso Soup which is an upgrade to their traditional miso soup. This one has sablefish meat and kelp included. The broth is much lighter but the sweetness from the fish comes through. The only thing I dislike is that the fish still has bones, so you need to be careful with it. But I definitely prefer this over the usual salty miso soup.

 

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Sablefish

And the star of the set is the Sablefish which comes with deep fried amaebi served with mint yogurt. The fish is miso glazed and well marinated without being too salty or sweet. The fish was so buttery smooth! This set which includes rice, miso soup, chawanmushi and the fish is only $24.99 so a great deal if you’re looking for something a little more special during the holidays.

 

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Overall, a great new spot in New West perfect for both those who skytrain or drive. The spot serves up food that isn’t too fancy, but the dishes are beautifully presented and prices are reasonable. Will be back when I’m in the area again!

If the Christmas sablefish set menu is something you’re interested, then be sure to enter the giveaway that Hyack is currently hosting on their Instagram account! To enter, see details here: https://www.instagram.com/p/BcfYHYZFpx2/?taken-by=hyacksushi

 

Hyack Sushi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Soy Fish Private Chef

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Sashimi Salad

Back in the summer, S invited me to join a couple of her friends for a private sushi dinner. We contacted Takuya Motohashi, the chef at Soyfish, who can prepare your meal at your house. We ended up doing it at a friend’s clubhouse which had a simple kitchen. He brings all his kitchen equipment, so don’t fret if you don’t have any kitchen equipment. Takuya began learning the art of sushi as an early teenager working for his father. In his early twenties, he left for Japan to apprentice for some of the countries’ masters. For over two decades, Takuya has developed and mastered techniques and styles that he has brought back to Canada to offer his clients, to create a private dining experience like no other. Our dining experience was $100 per person before tip. Depending on what you want as part of your menu, the price can differ.

As our appetizer, we had the Sashimi Salad which had pieces of snapper and blue fin tuna, raspberries, tobiko, and an apple vinaigrette to drizzle. Such a light and delicious start to our meal. Really loved this salad!

 

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Miso Marinated Black Cod

Our menu had some cooked food which included the Miso Marinated Black Cod on a bed of kale and bell peppers. This cod was absolutely delicious! Sweet and moist, with the skin charred to a beautiful crisp.

 

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Pork Belly on Mash

On the other side of the board was the Pork Belly on Mash served with a spicy Japanese mustard. The pork belly had the right amount of fat to meat proportion and sat on top of a creamy buttery mash. My favourite was the Japanese mustard. I think it was spicy because of wasabi! What a nice twist to the typical mustard.

 

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Nigiri

Next up was the Nigiri board! We had a large variety of nigiri to share including Golden Eye Snapper, Aji, Hotate Scallops from Hokkaido, Hamachi, Blue Fin O-Toro, and Albacore Tuna.

 

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My favourite had to be the O-Toro and Scallops. The fish was really fresh and the proportion of rice was just right. I also liked how he already brushed a light soy sauce on top of the fish before serving so you don’t need to dip it into soy sauce anymore. The amount of soy is already set so it’s just the right amount. Seriously such a luxurious nigiri meal!

 

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Aburi Sockeye Salmon and Blue Fin Belly

To finish, there was what I believe was the Blue Fin Chutoro which again was extremely sweet and melted in my mouth! We also had the Aburi Sockeye Salmon which wan’t close to what Miku was but rather was a very light sear on the salmon and topped with some mayo and jalapeno. Not as oily for sure.

 

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Aburi Blue Fin Belly

Last but not least, there was Aburi Blue Fin Belly which was seared with a sweet soy sauce. This melted in my mouth as well! So good!

Overall, we were all pleased with our meal with Soyfish. I believe he required around 30-45 mins of prep time ahead of time. During this time, you and your friends can linger around and watch him do his thing while enjoying some drinks. The dishes are served in sharing plates or long boards and he provides all the cutlery and plates required. The amount of food is just right for each person. The price is not cheap, but the ingredients he uses is also the top of the ranks. The chef was very professional during our meal but also was able to relax and have some fun with us near the end. He can be sociable and chat with your party if you want or he can just do his thing and leave you to your own party. I highly recommend Chef Takuya for your next dinner party if you want to splurge a little and you can contact him at http://soyfish.ca/ or DM him on Instagram.

 

Ichigo Ichie Ramen

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Shoyu Ramen

The newest ramen spot in Richmond is called Ichigo Ichie Ramen and is located across Ironwood Mall near BMO. The restaurant doesn’t seem to be run by Japanese, so I wouldn’t expect authentic Japanese ramens. There are a variety of broths available and S chose the Shoyu. It featured soy sauce broth, green onion, seasoned egg, naruto maki, spinach, and shiitake mushrooms. The noodles here are medium thickness which I wasn’t a huge fan of. The broth itself was too salty and the consistency was very thin. We both found that it lacked flavour as it was more of one dimension salty flavour. The egg was also a hard boiled egg, so I wasn’t too happy with that.

 

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Mayu

For myself, I got the Mayu which is their spicy option. It featured garlic black oil, green onion, seasoned egg, bean sprouts, deep-fried garlic, and shiitake. Again, the broth was very thin in consistency and the broth lacked flavour. It was just very spicy, and tasted sort of like the instant ramen broths. I mean, the ramen, especially the noodles itself, weren’t bad, but we found it to be very average and too salty for our liking.

We also ordered a side of Karaage and these were excellent. The batter was crispy and the chicken remained very moist and juicy. I would come back for the fried chicken!

 

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Overall, we found Ichigo Ichie Ramen to be quite average. It’s a nice addition to people who work in the Steveston area given the limited options available, but I wouldn’t make a trip out here just for their ramen. If they can work on their broths, this could become a pretty good spot!

Pros:
– Chicken Karaage was really juicy
– Prices are quite reasonable

Cons:
– Broths could use improvement

Price Range: $10-15

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 3 Service: 3 Ambiance: 3 Parking: 3 Overall: 3

 

Ichigo Ichie Ramen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Yui Japanese Restaurant

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Yui Oshi Plate

Took me a while to visit Yui Japanese Restaurant, but finally I came here with G for lunch while I was in downtown. The restaurant is quite hidden as it’s inside an office building next to the Trump Tower. Even after entering the office building, it’s not super obvious where the restaurant is, but head straight in and look to your right. Inside, the restaurant is extremely small, so we were lucky to even get a spot during lunch time.
The chefs used to work at Miku and Minami, so at Yui, they are known for the salmon aburi oshi that tastes similar to Miku/ Minami but for a fraction of the price.
During lunch, there are quite a few lunch only plates which are pretty affordable. G chose to get the Yui Oshi Plate, which is lunch only. For $11, you get two pieces of daily chef choice aburi nigiri, two pieces of salmon oshi, and a daily fresh roll. For the two aburi nigiri that the chef chooses, it was a ebi aburi oshi with pesto sauce and a tuna aburi nigiri with pickled sweet onions. As for the daily fresh roll, it was sadly just a california roll. Sounds like it’s the california roll most of the time from talking to other friends who have ordered this. Still, a good deal given you get four pieces of aburi with this lunch plate.

 

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Salmon Aburi Oshi

I of course had to try the Salmon Aburi Oshi so we decided to share a full plate of this which goes for $11. This seriously tastes and looked almost the same as the ones at Miku/ Minami. The only difference I found was that they put a lot more pepper on this. For this price, I would definitely come back here if I’m looking for a quick lunch. But on special occasions, I would still pay the higher price for the real thing at Miku/ Minami.

 

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Traditional Plate

For myself, I got the Traditional Plate, which is also on the lunch menu only. For $10.50, you get the daily chef’s choice of seven kinds of traditional style nigiri. To be honest, the selection is the cheaper selection of nigiris on the menu, but they were all very well constructed. The fish tasted fresh and for this price, I wouldn’t mind getting this again for lunch.

 

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Overall, I was quite impressed with the sushi at Yui. Don’t expect authentic Japanese food here since the chefs are not Japanese, but you can find some great aburi sushi and nigiris here for a reasonable price. The aburi oshi are especially a must try as they are very comparable to Miku/ Minami but for a cheaper price. The only downside is there isn’t much service during lunch time since they are so busy and the seating is also a bit cramped. You can also do take out here if you don’t want to wait for a seat!

 

Pros:
– Salmon aburi oshi is very comparable to Miku/ Minami
– Prices are reasonable for the quality

Cons:
– Seating is quite cramped

Price Range: $15-20

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 4 Service: 3 Ambiance: 2.5 Parking: 3 Overall: 4

Yui Japanese Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Yuji’s from Japan

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Funny enough, I had visited Yuji’s Japanese Tapas back in 2011 but the restaurant was closed after 7 years of operations because chef Yuji wanted to open a restaurant in Indonesia. Fast forward a year later, chef Yuji returned to Vancouver to open Yuji’s from Japan. The store is on West 4th and Alma and is quite small, fitting roughly 20-25 diners. You will find many Japanese diners here, which is always a good sign!

 

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Yu Junmai Sake

To start, we shared the Yu Junmai Sake. We had never heard of Yu but apparently the sake is brewed in Richmond! Had to give it a try and support local and it didn’t disappoint. Not a sake expert, but this was light and I enjoyed it.

 

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Beef Tongue

Moving on, we shared the Beef Tongue which was absolutely delicious! The tongue was thinly sliced and topped with this umami dressing which had just the right about of salt and soy flavour. The texture was perfect with a nice chew. My only complaint was the plate was too small!

 

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Shio-koji Marinated Grilled Chicken

Another appetizer we shared was the Shio-koji Marinated Grilled Chicken. There was fried chicken karaage on the menu, but I suggested we try the grilled chicken instead. Seriously, this was some of the most moist chicken I’ve had. The outside had a nice char but the center was so juicy! Again, it was topped with the same dressing as the beef tongue and was absolutely delicious. Such a simple dish, but I highly recommend trying this!

 

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Last but not least, we shared a variety of nigiris. The nigiris here are not cheap, but they are extremely fresh and constructed very well. Definitely worth the price! Perfect for those who enjoy authentic Japanese sushi. The restaurant is also famous for their omakases which are reasonably priced. I can’t wait to be back to try those out!

Pros:
– Fresh seafood and well constructed nigiris
– Cooked appetizer dishes are also very well executed

Cons:
– Seating is not the comfiest as the space is quite small

Price Range: $25-40

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 4.5 Service: 3.5 Ambiance: 2.5 Parking: 3 Overall: 4

Yuji's from Japan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato