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Vancouver's tastiest food blog. Defunct since 2010 :(

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Japanese food

Okonomiyaki at the Modern Club

Modern ClubAfter taking a wrong turn out of downtown on my way to Richmond, I decided to change dinner plans and go for okonomiyaki from Modern Club on Dunbar.
Okonomiyaki, like ramen, is a simple dish but can cause food fanatics to spend hours debating who from where makes it best how. We don’t have that kind of enthusiasm for okonomiyaki in Vancouver. Why? Because there really is only one or two places that serve it. Its a culinary hole that’s waiting to be filled. Modern Club to the rescue? Not so much.

Okonomiyaki that contains noodles fall into the ‘modern’-yaki category. At the Modern Club they serve Osaka style tama(regular), modern(with crunchy soba noodles), and postmodern(cute terminology) (with thicker udon noodles) variations. We tried their regular style shrimp, and the modern style squid (ika).
Modern Club - Ika okonomiyaki (modern style)
The portion is on the small side, and though the sauce went well with the crunchy noodles and mayo, its not worth $16. Appetizers are pre-cooked and pulled out of a cooler, and sushi is no better than lunch take outs. It is only worth visiting on Tuesday nights when the special is okonomiyaki for $10.

Its also incredibly easy to make a better version at home. As demonstrated in my favorite youtube cooking show:


I <3 C.W.D.

-Dan

Modern Club on Urbanspoon

Yoshoku Ya – Japanese style western food

Yoshoku (洋食), meaning western food, is the name given to the Japanese take on western cuisine. Familiar looking dishes are transformed into an entirely different culinary denomination. ‘Eastern-ized’ if you will, with its roots dating back to over 150 years ago. Though not what people usually refer to as Japanese food, yoshoku is as much a staple of Japanese dining as ramen. Its derivatives, like curry, croquettes and katsu (breaded and deep fried) can also be found on menus of sushi spots and izakayas around town.
Located on the same block as the Denman+Robson golden trio(Kintaro, Motomachi Shokudo, Toratatsu), Yoshoku Ya’s certainly got some tough competition.
We ordered from a concise menu of curries, hamburger steaks, omu-rice, napolitan pasta, and steaks at fairly reasonable prices ($17 for a steak). We tried their omu-rice and hamburger steak.
Yoshoku Ya - Japanese style western food
The omu-rice for those who haven’t seen it before, is rice fried with ketchup, chicken, corn, onions, and wrapped with a thin layer of fried egg. Its served here with a bowl of salad. The hamburger steak a thick slab of hamburger grilled and served with a demiglace-like sauce.
Its been months since I’ve ate a burger, and found the juicy ‘steak’+sauce combo highly gratifying. The omu-rice wasn’t great as the eggs were slightly leathery, and it takes a lot more than a double serving of ketchup to make a fried rice interesting.

Overall it was worth a go, but the ingredients at Yoshoku Ya are too familiar, the dishes too conventional, for me to ever feel the urge to make a return trip. I will however be trying other yoshoku’s around town for comparison. Next stop is Ping’s Cafe (best web design ever). If anyone knows of other yoshoku restaurants in Vancouver, please let me know!

btw, Denny’s in Tokyo is pretty much all yoshoku style food. I know, WTF! (Want That Food!)

Yoshoku-Ya on UrbanspoonYoushoku-Ya on Urbanspoon

Isami Sushi – casual Japanese food done well

isami sushi - exterior A bit of disclaimer: these pictures do no justice to the quality of food served at this fine establishment. On Kingsway in front of Metrotown in Burnaby, there are about four billion Japanese restaurants that appear to be competing fiercely with each other on having the most generic sushi menu served in gut popping proportions, while charging prices that make you think

isami sushi - rice wine steamed mussels“hm, not bad for a boatload of fish, and the taste totally meets my expectations. I sure am getting great value out of this meal…yet its not AYCE… how is that possible?”
Meanwhile as you look over at the open kitchen and see an assembly line of young buckling sushi chefs rolling away like they were making doves out of clay, a lineup at the door extending to the sidewalk, and slowly it all begins to make sense.

isami sushi - beef tatakiisami sushiisami sushi - spider roll

Venture a bit further down, and you’ll find Isami Sushi, a quaint little place with a distinct Japanese feel, and the staff is actually Japanese.
In case you couldn’t tell, or just weren’t paying attention, the ratio of restaurants serving Japanese food to restaurants serving Japanese food owned by Japanese people in Vancouver has grown to 1024 to 1 this year. True fact.

Highly rated and low on the lineups, we gave Isami’s menu a spin with great pleasure.

We sampled a few of their sushi items, which were skillfully prepared, along with an appetizer of beef tataki and steamed mussels in some rice wine broth. Their dynamite roll was Dy-Na-Mite, and their spider roll had a huge crab leg sticking out and gave that roll more “spider” than it knows what to do with.

These guys don’t serve up big portions, but i figure its the opportunity cost in man hours used in rolling the goods that warrants the price of admission rather than the size of the generic frozen atlantic salmon being rolled.
The place is adequately staffed with a 4 person wait staff to take your order with attentiveness, and 2 senior looking sushi chefs at the helm. After 6 menu items, the bill came to less than $40, and we left full but not stuffed, and completely satisfied with the dining experience.
Food: 8.5/10
Ambience: 6/10
Crab Leg-to-Spider Roll Sushi Size Ratio: 1.5-1
Like sushi? Learn about this sacred food through the power of the intarnets:
All true. I swear it.

Isami Sushi on Urbanspoon

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