Steelhead Diner

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For our first night in Seattle, we decided to go to Steelhead Diner which is located on downhill near Pike Street Market. The restaurant has a large selection of beer and cocktails so great for those looking for a drink.

 

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We started off with complimentary bread and butter. The bread was sourdough while the butter sat in a plate of pesto oil. The butter was so good with the pesto!

 

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Pike “Kilt Lifter” Fish & Chips

S of course got the Pike “Kilt Lifter” Fish & Chips which featured two pieces of Scotch ale battered Alaskan ling cod served with tartar sauce and lemon. S can usually eat quite salty food, but even he found the fish to be extremely salty. It was to the point that he didn’t finish his fish and I don’t think I’ve seen that before! Even the fries were on the saltier side.

 

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Flash Fried Pacific Oyster Po ‘Boy

For myself, I had the Flash Fried Pacific Oyster Po ‘Boy which was a huge portion! The fried oysters along with a aioli type sauce was great, but I did also find it slightly on the saltier side. Not sure if we are just used to less sodium in our foods, or if they just went nuts with the salt here.

Overall, we were slightly disappointed with our food. It had really good ratings, but our food was just too salty for our liking. Something I disliked was that an automatic tip of 20% is added to our bill. I don’t mind tipping more if I get really good service, but 20% is a bit steep given the venue and I don’t think our service was anything beyond expectations. Location-wise, good spot for tourists, but other than that, nothing memorable.

Pros:
– Good location for tourists

Cons:
– Our food was way too salty for our liking
– Automatic 20% tip

Price Range: $25-30 per person

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

Food: 2 Service: 3 Ambiance: 3 Parking: 2.5 Overall: 2.5

 

Steelhead Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Blu Burgers & Brew

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During the holidays, S and I made a short trip to Seattle for fun. Our first stop was to check out the Boeing Factory in Mukilteo near Everett. Since we arrived in the area during lunch time, we decided to go for lunch first. I did some Googling and there aren’t too many restaurants nearby. However, Blue Burgers & Brew had good ratings, so off we went.

 

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The restaurant is quite casual and you order and pay up front. You can then choose a seat and they will bring you your food. Of course, their menu consists mainly of burgers but there are some select sides you can choose from as well. They also have a selection of beers. Surprisingly, there were quite a lot of families with children here during lunch. I guess they are quite family friendly as well.

 

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Chicken Tenders

Given S does not fancy burgers, of course he went for the Chicken Tenders served with fries. For $6.50, this was decent with 3 strips and a decent amount of fries. S said the tenders could have been warmer in the center and that they were rather average. But then again, they are known for their burgers.

 

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Shroom ‘N Onion

For myself, I had the Shroom ‘N Onion which featured crimini mushrooms, onions, swiss cheese, romaine lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, and a house sauce. The burger stacked tall and they didn’t skimp on the ingredients. My mushrooms were overflowing and that house sauce was bomb. The patty was also very moist and juicy. My only complaint is that for around $9USD, I’d expect it to come with fries which was an added cost. Definitely not cheap given the self-serve type of set up, but the quality of the burger is great.

Overall, a good stop if you are heading to the Boeing Factory or if you’re in the area, but I wouldn’t make a trip out here just for this.

Pros:
– Great execution of burgers

Cons:
– Slightly pricey given self-serve

Price Range: $10-20 per person

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

Food: 3 Service: N/A Ambiance: 2.5 Parking: 3.5 Overall: 3

 

Hoitong Chinese Seafood Restaurant

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Hoitong Chinese Seafood restaurant is definitely a hole in the wall hidden gem. I’ve walked by this restaurant many times but have honestly never cared for what was inside. However, my mom suggested we try it for our family dinner and after some Googling, I realized the chef has won many awards. The chef is actually over 70 years old but still cooking up delicious food.

 

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The restaurant is quite small, with only around 6 family sized tables. So even if you are only a table of 4, you will sit in a big round table. Because of the limited tables, there are essentially only 2 rounds of dinner service. Be sure to make reservations in advance as it is usually fully booked. The decor is simple and not lavish at all, but it doesn’t matter because the food is the star here.

 

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Seems like there is only a Chinese menu, so bring a Chinese friend if you can’t read it!

 

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To start, we had their daily soup which was chicken feet with beans. Not the most visually appealing, but the soup was full of depth and warmed our tummies.

 

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Roast Squab

To start, we had the Roast Squab which came piping hot! These were also one of the largest and meatiest squabs I’ve had at a restaurant. This dish requires pre-order so make sure you call ahead. The skin was really crispy and the flavour was on point. Not too salty but still flavourful.

 

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Mushrooms Stuffed in Bean Curd with Baby Bok Choy

For veggies, we had Mushrooms Stuffed in Bean Curd with Baby Bok Choy. Usually, I don’t think much about this dish since I assume it’s not that difficult to make, but wow this dish had me wanting more. The bean curd was so silky smooth, and the sauce was absolutely delicious! Again, it was not overly salty which I really liked.

 

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Sweet and Sour Pork

And onto the famous dish at Hoitong – the Sweet and Sour Pork. I know what you’re thinking… how can sweet and sour pork be so special? The dish uses pork cheek therefore the meat is super bouncy. The batter is thin and the sauce has just the right amount of sweet and tangyness. A must order!

 

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Stir Fried Milk and Fried Tofu

Another famous dish is the Stir Fried Milk. We got this along with the Fried Tofu to pair. I’ve had deep fried milk before but this was my frist time having stir fried milk! Wow, this was so silky and creamy and I think there was even some crab meat inside. I can imagine this taking a lot of skill to make! As for the Fried Tofu puffs, they were lightly battered with the tofu inside being bouncy.

 

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Lotus Leaf Seafood Rice

Another pre-order dish is the Lotus Leaf Seafood Rice. I mean, how cute is the presentation? It looks like those hats people wore back in the day!

 

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The rice is not cheap at around $30, but the portion is actually huge and we had enough leftovers for lunch the next day too! The rice was moist and packed with scallops and shrimp.

To end our meal, we got complimentary taro and coconut sago. Love how this was not too sweet and a perfect way to end the meal. Chef Tong even came out to say his thank yous to each dining table! That is something I have not seen before and I noticed he actually had so many regular customers. Overall, we were all happy with our meal. Despite some higher prices, the execution and quality of food was great. Definitely an elevated home cooking experience!

Pros:
– Great execution of dishes
– Well-balanced flavours while not being too salty or oily

Cons:
– Ambiance is not that nice

Price Range: $30-40 per person

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

Food: 5 Service: 4 Ambiance: 2.5 Parking: 3.5 Overall: 4.5

 

Hoitong Chinese Seafood Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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

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

Dynasty Seafood Restaurant

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Vegetarian Bean Curd Roll and Vegetarian Chinese Crispy Pork Belly

Dynasty Seafood Restaurant has won many awards over the years. I have no idea why I have not visited it until now! Located on Broadway and Willow, there is actually free parking below the restaurant. It looks like there is pay parking, but if you tell the hostess which stall you parked at, then you will not get towed or ticketed.

To start, we had some vegetarian appetizers including the Bean Curd Roll and Chinese Crispy Pork Belly. The Bean Curd Roll was quite typical and I wouldn’t say it was anything special. However, the Chinese Pork Belly was super interesting because it has the flavour and texture of real pork belly! I can’t figure what the fatty part is made of, but the meat portion is made of bean curd and the crispy skin seemed to be fried bread. I’ve never seen something like this before!

 

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Chicken in Soya Sauce (half)

Next up was the Chicken in Soya Sauce which we got half an order of. I believe you have to pre-order this dish. The chicken remained moist and the soy sauce was light and therefore not overly salty.

 

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Deep Fried Bean Curd Sheet Wrapped with Taro

The star of that night was the Deep Fried Bean Curd Sheet Wrapped with Taro which is another dish you need to pre-order. The bean curd is shaped like a Buddhist’s prayer beads. Inside each ball is filled with mashed taro. The bean curd itself is deep fried so its really crispy. It is then served with a sweet and sour tomato and cucumber salsa which really opens up your appetite.

 

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Salt and Pepper Deep Fried Tofu

An item off their regular menu was the Salt and Pepper Deep Fried Tofu. The tofu was extremely crispy on the outside which the inside still soft and smooth. We loved the peppery flavours of this dish and it wasn’t too spicy at all.

 

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Chiu Chow Double Sided Crispy Pan Fried Noodles

To finish our meal, we tried a really interesting dish that is not commonly found or well executed in Vancouver. This is the Chiu Chow Double Sided Crispy Pan Fried Noodles which is served with sugar and vinegar. The noodles are extermely crispy and you are supposed to drizzle vinegar and sprinkle sugar on top of the noodles. They also provide you with some chopped up chives to pair. I have never tried this dish before but I really enjoyed it! I especially loved putting sugar on it! A must try if you are adventurous!

Overall, we were quite impressed with Dynasty Seafood and I can see why they have won so many awards. I think one key reason is because the dishes are much more creative than typical traditional Cantonese dishes you find at other restaurants. The dishes are also well presented and the servers were all quite professional and attentive. The ambiance is right on and has the same feel as Kirin and Sea Harbour. Although the prices are much higher than other restaurants, this is definitely the spot you will want to bring guests that you want to impress. I can’t wait to come back to try their dim sum!

Pros:
– Creative and well-executed dishes
– Nice ambiance and good service for a Chinese restaurant

Cons:
– Dishes can be on the pricier side
– Many of the more interesting dishes require pre-ordering

Price Range: $20-40 per person

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

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

 

Dynasty Seafood Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato