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

Victoria Sushi

After seeing everyone posting pictures of Victoria Sushi, I decided to visit with my family. I liked it so much that I returned a second time recently! Anyways, Victoria Sushi is located in New Westminster in a residential neighbourhood. Apartment buildings actually sit on top of the restaurant. Because of where it’s situated, it can be quite difficult to find parking during peak hours, although they have an garage that’s connected to the apartment but for customers of retailers.

Kabocha Korroke

The restaurant is Korean run, so they aren’t known for traditional nigiris and such. We started off with some appies, like the Kabocha Korroke. Kabocha is an Asian variety of squash and is overlooked often but has become a popular ingredient in cooking today. I loved how they battered mashed kabocha and deep fried it. The tangy sauce along with the sweet squash was perfect! They also have this at Guu which is just as good!

Atlantic Salmon Sashimi

My parents love sashimi and for some reason, they always go for the Atlantic Salmon Sashimi. I guess it’s because of how fresh salmon is in Vancouver! Also, salmon is a fatty fish known to be a great brain food because of all the vitamins and omega-3 essential fatty acids it provides, so remember to eat lots! I was pleasantly surprised at how fresh the salmon sashimi they offered here. Very reasonably priced with the portions cut to a good size. I hate it when the cut is so large that I feel sick eating it, but I also hate it when the pieces are so small I keep longing for more! These were just right.

Mango Scallop Roll

Onto some of their creative rolls we tried, which included the Mango Scallop Roll. This was essentially your scallop roll but topped with a fresh ripe slice of mango, some avocado, a caper, and some Japanese mayo. Light and refreshing.

Aburi Tobiko Roll

One of my favourite rolls was the Aburi Tobiko Roll. This was essentially a California roll but filled with salmon sashimi and topped generously with tobiko and mayo and lightly seared with a flame on top to melt the mayo. What results is delicious sushi that practically melts in your mouth! A must order!

Salmon Oshi and Scallop Oshi

All the food we had tried were pretty good, but what we came here for was the oshi sushi! If you’re new to the wonders of sushi, then you may be confused over all the different types of sushi. However, with Miku and Minami making the aburi oshi sushi famous in Vancouver, it has literally become the hype here. Everyone is searching for an aburi salmon oshi sushi just as good as Miku’s to be exact! Well, here at Victoria, they do a pretty darn good version of this. We also tried their Scallop Oshi which again is so creamy and melts in your mouth!

Salmon Oshi

We loved the Salmon Oshi so much that we ordered a second order… A layer of salmon sashimi is placed on a rectangular formed rice and topped with mayo. The sushi is then lightly seared on top with a torch so that the mayo melts and the salmon is slightly torched. It’s then topped with a slice of jalapeno pepper to give it that kick. You end up getting a very creamy and smoky piece of sushi that melts in your mouth! Compared to Miku though, I still enjoy Miku’s more. I think it’s the secret sauce they put on that’s so hard to recreate. However, the price of this was only around $10-11 whereas Miku costs $16. So I’d say for the price, Victoria Sushi does a pretty good job.

Aburi Beef Oshi

Continuing on with the oshi trend, we tried the Aburi Beef Oshi. This was the same concept but with beef tataki, red pepper, a genourous amount of mayo and a piece of fried garlic chip. Another worthy dish!

Chicken Yaki Soba

Since S is not a huge fan of sashimi and fish in sushi…(he likes the boring stuff…), he ordered the Chicken Yaki Soba. This was a huge dish with great flavour without being too salty. I quite enjoyed the chewy texture of the soba noodles. Great for sharing.

Overall, we really enjoyed Victoria Sushi, hence we have already made a revisit! It may be quite far for some, but even for myself, it’s less than 30 minutes drive from Richmond, so it’s not that bad when you compare it to Downtown. Service can be a bit slow during peak times (the second time we went, it was late in the afternoon, so they were super quick), but the service is friendly and they try their best with the limited staff and chefs they have. The restaurant itself is quite small, so call in advance for reservations to guarantee you a spot!

Pros:
– Great alternative to Miku’s aburi salmon oshi at lower price
– Creative rolls are on well executed

Cons:
– Service can be a bit slow during peak hours
– Make sure to make reservations as can get packed!

Price Range: $10-30

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

Food: 4 Service: 2.5 Ambiance: 3 Parking: 2 Overall: 4

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

Minami (Taste of Yaletown Lunch)

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Of course I’m late again with my posts, but Taste of Yaletown just happened last month from October 16 to October 30. Every year, they bring together restaurants in the Yaletown area and offer set menus so we can try out restaurants we haven’t tried. To be honest, I wasn’t too impressed with the restaurants and menus offered. However, Minami’s lunch menu caught my eye since it was only $25! I’ve been to Minami before and it never disappoints. It’s normally quite pricey, so for $25, it was a great steal.

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Miso Soup

First up was the Miso Soup, which was a nice surprise since it wasn’t on the menu. Quite a large bowl too and it was filled with enoki mushroom, which is a good touch to your typical tofu-only miso soup.

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Minami Zen

Minami’s set menu really reminded me of Miku’s dine out menu. I’m not sure why on their menu that they say their aburi sushi is the first course, but we were presented with the second course first instead. It actually makes more sense since these are like their appetizers. The Minami Zen is presented in a beautiful wooden box with four dishes.

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Aburi Bincho

Starting on the right was the Aburi Bincho, which is essentially tuna tataki. It came with a wasabi masatake sauce, which is a mixture of onions, garlic, soy sauce and sesame oil. Loved the sauce and the tuna was very fresh with a slight char.

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Miso Marinated Tofu Salad

Next up was the Miso Marinated Tofu Salad. Honestly, I’m not a salad girl, but both Miku and Minami’s salads never fail to impress me. Something about the sauce they use is always so appetizing! This salad had a mixture of baby greens, avocado, crispy tempeh, pickled daikon and carrot, and umami soy vinaigrette. The top had crumbled tofu, which was very interesting. If salads always tasted like this, I would be eating a lot healthier!

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Saikyo Miso Baked Sablefish

Third was the Saikyo Miso Baked Sablefish. It was presented beautifully on top of a bed of coconut creamed kale and topped with a wasabi shoga relish and marinated in a yuzu-miso sauce. The fish was moist and flavourful, but the only issue I had was that it was a bit cold. I’m not sure if it was because it took me some time to work my way to the third dish or it wasn’t served right away. It would’ve tasted much better if it was still hot.

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Braised Fraser Valley Pork Cheek

The last appetizer was the Braised Fraser Valley Pork Cheek. It came on top of roasted kabocha-onion puree and a sweet and sour ginger soy glaze. On top were some apple-red cabbage kraut. The pork cheek was tender and meaty, but it felt like it wasn’t braised long enough. I was expecting the meat to fall off easily, but it took some effort. Perhaps because the pork cheek is usually more chewy in texture? I really enjoyed the puree though as the onion brought some savoury flavour to the sweet squash.

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Aburi Sushi – nigiri, sunset roll, salmon oshi, ebi oshi

Then came the Aburi Sushi plate. Their sushi are always presented so nicely. It came with two of their nigiri sushi, which were both alright. They are a good twist to your traditional nigiri because of the sauces they use, but I still prefer my traditional nigiri. In the middle was their famous Sunset Roll, which is filled with spicy tuna, cucumber, smoked salmon, golden tobiko, kaiware, and mustard sauce. A good texture with tons of flavours and a slight heat. Next was easily their most famous sushi. The Aburi Salmon Oshi is a box sushi topped with a sweet-soy brushed salmon and topped with their famous sauce. The salmon is charcoal flame seared and topped with a jalapeno slice to bring some heat. A must try either at Minami or Miku! Next was the Aburi Ebi Oshi, which is also one of my favourites. Again, it’s box sushi, but with lightly seared ebi. The sauce is a flavoured with ume (plum) and their special sauce along with some lime juice. Yummy!

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Spiced Pumpkin Brownie Ice Cream

Last but not least, the menu finished off with dessert. Miku and Minami always have spectacular desserts. This was a dessert I haven’t tried and was perfect for the season. It was Spiced Pumpkin Brownie Ice Cream. A scoop of cinamon-nutmeg spiced pumpkin ice cream paired with a some walnut brownie pieces and a piece of cookie on the side. Refreshing and light!

Overall, we were quite satisfied with Minami’s Taste of Yaletown lunch menu. I believe dinner was $45, so lunch is really affordable since the menu isn’t too much different. Definitely worth going if you haven’t been. I still prefer Miku over Minami, but the ambiance is much more relaxed at Minami.

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Minami

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A spontaneous night took J and I to Minami, the sister restaurant of Miku. Miku is one of my favourite Japanese restaurants when I’m looking for creativity and aburi sushi, so I had always wanted to try Minami. The restaurant was packed and although we had no reservations, we got a spot at the bar. The environment is definitely much more casual and loud compared to Miku.

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Sitting at the bar was actually quite nice as the bartender pretty much serves you the whole night. We had some great prompt service and she was able to answer all our questions. The only downside is you may not have as much privacy since she’s always standing there making drinks.

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You get two types of soya sauces at Minami. She said that one is the regular soya sauce, while the other is a little sweeter. I liked the sweeter one.

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Premium Nigiri – chef’s selection traditional nigiri

J loves traditional Nigiris, so he got the Premium Nigiri set. It came with seven nigiris that the chef had chosen.

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I believe there was tuna, salmon, saba, unagi, and scallop to list a few. He said they were all very fresh and the amount of fish to rice portion was perfect.

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Aburi Sushi Sampler – aburi temari, oshi and roll topped with specialty sauces and garnishes

For myself, I got the Aburi Sushi Sampler. It came with 7 dainty little sushi. They were so cute! Some were in the form of temari, which are ball-shaped sushi. Others were oshi (square shaped), while some were regular rolls. They were beautiful to look at! I almost didn’t want to eat them.

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Some of the fish I remember included, saba, scallop, salmon and tuna. They were all quite delicious, and the fish was very fresh. However, you don’t get too filled up by these, since they are really half the size of a normal nigiri.

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Ebi Oshi Sushi – pressed shrimp, lime zest, ume sauce

We also shared an Ebi Oshi Sushi. We wanted to try one of the oshi sushi, since Miku and Minami are famous for them. The bartender recommended the Ebi Oshi and it was absolutely delicious. The shrimp was slightly seared and it melted in your mouth. I loved the hint of smoky flavour. Definitely recommend trying this!

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Green Tea Opera – green tea genoise, dark chocolate ganache, matcha ice cream

Obviously we were still a little hungry by the end of the night. We shared a dessert, and I chose the Green Tea Opera. I’ve had this back at Miku, but I found the one at Minami presented slightly different. Again, it was delicious since I’m a huge matcha fan. It was made of a green tea genoise, which is an Italian sponge cake which is really thin. It had layers of dark chocolate ganache, which made the dessert very smooth in the mouth. It was then topped with fruits and caramelized sugar. On the side, there was a scoop of matcha ice cream topped with a sesame crisp. Definitely ended up our meal very nicely.

Overall, Minami wasn’t too bad. However, I find that the prices are only a few dollars cheaper than Miku. With that being said, I would rather pay a few extra dollars and dine at Miku, since the environment and dishes are much better in my opinion. I find the atmosphere too loud at Minami, and it’s more casual. I also found that the food at Miku was executed more carefully. Not a bad option if I’m in the Yaletown area though.

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Miku – Dine Out 2014

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My third dine out was at my favourite Miku Restaurant. The last time I visited, it was back when they were still at their original location. Now, they are located right by Canada Place and features a beautiful view. Miku’s Dine Out Vancouver 2014 dinner menu was for $38, although their lunch menu was only for $28. Of course, the two menus are a little different and you get much more in the dinner menu.

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The inside was actually fairly empty when I arrived at around 6pm. The sushi bar was empty, but all the tables along the window with a view were taken up. Service was excellent. I was waiting for J and M to arrive, and was checked up multiple times. The service wasn’t pushy or anything though.

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Sake Pairing

For an additional $19, we added a sake pairing to our dinner. This was excellent and a good amount of sake to complete our meal. The sake to pair our appetizer was called Umajun. It was the lightest of them all and was my favourite. Next was the Aburi Ginjo to pair our entree. It’s an exclusive sake for their restaurants, but I didn’t like it as I found it too strong in alcohol. Lastly, was the Sparkling Nigori to pair our dessert. It was a cloudy colour and had some fizz to it. Not bad!

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Shortly after, we were presented with our appetizers which came neatly in a wooden box. Miku’s Dine Out Menu does is set and therefore you are not given a choice in each course. For the appetizer, we were given 4 different dishes.

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Tosaka Seaweed and Tofu Salad – arugula, sweet and sour soy vinaigrette

The first appetizer was the Tosaka Seaweed and Tofu Salad. At first, I thought it would be just a plain old salad, but this was so delicious! It came with arugula, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and tofu. I think what made the salad so delicious was the sweet and sour soy vinaigrette. A great way to open up your appetite.

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Ebi Fritter – prawn, sweet chili aioli, soy balsamic reduction

Second was the Ebi Fritter. I’ve had their ebi mayo before, which I had really enjoyed, but we all agreed that the Ebi Fritter was a bit underwhelming. The prawn was huge and fresh, and it was lightly battered, but it wasn’t the star of the show. A nice aioli sauce too and also a drizzle of soy balsamic reduction. It also came with a small salad on the side.

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Baked BC Oyster – spinach, miso aioli

Third was the Baked BC Oyster, which was probably my favourite appetizer. The oyster was so fatty and fresh. It wasn’t like those terrible baked oysters with too much sauce on top. It was a light miso aioli.

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Tamari Glazed Short Rib – sterling silver AAA, yukon potato puree

The last appetizer was the Tamari Glazed Short Rib. This was a sterling silver AAA short rib, and the meat would just flake off. It came with a bit of wasabi on top to give it a Japanese flare. Under the short rib was a potato puree, which was very creamy and smooth.

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Miku Signature Sushi – selection of Aburi, Nigiri, Roll and Oshi Sushi

The entree was the Miku Signature Sushi. This was what I was looking forward to the most. Miku is known for their aburi and oshi sushi. They are extremely creative in their rolls too. None of their sushi require soy sauce since they already come prepared with a sauce. Starting from the left to right, we have the Tuna Nigiri. This was very smooth. Next was the Ebi Nigiri, which came with a pesto sauce. This was just alright. Next was a Hamachi Roll with a wasabi dressing. I believe the one after was called the Red Wave Roll. It had crab and avocado and was wrapped in red tuna. The last two were my favourite since they were the oshi sushi, which means they are pressed sushi. First was the Saba Oshi Sushi, which is house cured mackarel and came with a miso sauce. The last on the right was the Salmon Oshi Sushi, which was pressed BC wild sockeye salmon, topped with jalapeno and Miku sauce. This is always my favourite at Miku. The aburi style creates a smooth, fatty texture in your mouth when you have the fish in your mouth.Extremely fresh fish as usual!

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Lemon and Chardonnay Cream – raspberry sorbet, lemon coconut cookie

Lastly, we had the Lemon and Chardonnay Cream for dessert. The presentation was beautiful on a black charcoal-like plate to keep it cool. A lemon coconut cookie sat beneath the raspberry sorbet. On the side was a bit of mango puree and sauce. There was also something similar to a blackberry cheesecake on the side. Not bad, but not their best dessert. I still enjoy their Green Tea Opera much more.

All in all, a good deal for $38 if you want to try a selection of their appetizers and signature sushi. Miku is quite pricey regularly, so this is actually a decent priced menu. You will actually feel filled up just right after dinner. Not overly full, but just right.

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