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

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sukiyaki

Toratatsu – Intimate Izakaya

ToratatsuIt’s been a while since either Dan or I have blogged. What can we say? Summer is wrapping up and we’ve been busy trying to make the most of the nice weather.

But let’s get back on track.

Izakayas are all the rage in Vancouver. What’s not to love about delicious, fushion-y, shareable Japanese food? Add an emphasis on alcohol, pretty waitresses, trendy restaurant design, and loud chefs and you have a winning formula for the 20somethings.

As much as I love izakayas, I think Vancouver is reaching a saturation point. Alpha, Guu, Hapa, Ebisu, Shiru-Bay: these are some of the bigger izakaya names in Vancouver. I’ve had pretty great experiences with all of them. One izakaya that a lot of people don’t seem to know about is Toratatsu, on 735 Denman Street.

ToratatsuI first heard about Toratatsu from Chilco’s Good things in Vancouver blog. Toratatsu is owned by the Uno family, who also happen to own Shiru-Bay and about 20 other restaurants in Tokyo. Kodai Uno, the son, assumes the executive chef role at Toratatsu.

Unlike Shiru-Bay and most other izakayas here, Toratatsu is a lot smaller. The other ones tend to pack all their customers into a large common area, creating a party like environment. Toratatsu, true to authentic Izakaya roots, is a lot cozier; the focus is on the bar. As Chilco said on her blog, There are many Izakaya bars in Vancouver where you can go with lots of people but this place will be suitable when you want to have a relaxing time with your boyfriend or girlfriend.

I couldn’t agree more.
The food rocks too.

Toratatsu

First up, sukiyaki ($12.80). Fresh beef, veggies, organic eggs, and other goodies boiled in sukiyaki broth right in front of you. Really, really good. It might not be all-u-can-eat, but this miles ahead of Posh’s sukiyaki (which I enjoyed).

Toratatsu

Second, ebi chili mayo ($8.00). 3 large prawns delicately deep fried and served with spicy chili mayonnaise sauce. Shiru-Bay is famous for this same dish. Guu and others have this dish too, but this is the best in town.

Toratatsu

Third up, Gindara Saikyo Yaki ($9.80), or broiled miso-marinated black cod in laymen’s terms. This is one of the best dishes I’ve had all year. The buttery miso-flavored fish is complemented perfectly by the sweet creamy mash potatoes – and then the whole dish is turned upside down by the sharp and sour cherry tomatoes. Wicked.

I washed everything down with a large bottle of my favorite beer ($8.00).

Highly recommended.

Toratatsu on Urbanspoon

Posh – Stylish Sukiyaki

PoshThe variety of Japanese food here in Vancouver continues to amaze me. We have sushi restaurants, trendy izakayas, cozy ramen bars, and even places specializing in donburi and udon. Clearly, sushi is Japanese food but Japanese food is not just sushi.

With Posh, let’s add sukiyaki to the list. Posh describes itself as “The First Exclusive Sukiyaki Restaurant in North America”.

Sukiyaki is all about the meat, baby. Thinly sliced meat that you cook yourself in a bubbling pot of water, soy sauce, sugar, and mirin to be more specific. Posh serves it up all-you-can-eat style.

PoshHere’s how it works. Sit down at your table and you’ll find a large pot atop a portable stove in the center. The server will give you a small menu listing a few types of meats, veggies, tofu, and noodles that you can order. Using the provided pencil, you then specify on the menu how much of each you want. You can order as much as you want, as many times as you want. It’s a process that AYCE Sushi fans are all too familiar with.

Don’t hold back. We saw other tables with 20+ orders of meat, stacked several feet high (ahh, to be a food-starved teenager again…).

Posh

Cooking the ingredients in the hot pot is not only delicious, but also loads of fun. Hot pot tastes best when shared amongst a group of friends. With sukiyaki, it’s fine to eat straight from the pot. Dip the meat and other goodies in a bowl of raw egg if you want to up the authenticity.

IMG_1023

PoshThe food is good. The value is great – a flat fee of $13.88. The service is fine. And the environment is pretty nice. These pictures are from the original Richmond location. Posh has since opened 2 other locations on West Broadway and Kingsway, so they must be doing something right.

You can tell that they’re targeting the younger crowds. They have their funky logo plastered on all their diningware. The environment is low-lit and cool. And their website is super slick.

I can’t see myself going here every week, but I’ll definitely return whenever I crave meat. Recommended!

Posh Sukiyaki Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Hi Genki – When you don’t have a Japanese Grandma

Hi GenkiCraving a home style Japanese meal just like grandma used to make?
Don’t have a Japanese Grandma?

No problem.

Hi Genki serves up Japanese comfort food and, oddly enough, is located inside the cafeteria of a Japanese senior’s residence.

Yup – you read that right. Hi Genki doubles as both a public restaurant and as a cafeteria providing meals for the fine folks at Nikkei Home and New Sakura-so, two senior’s residences adjacent to the National Nikkei Heritage Centre. Although, you need to be 55+ to live at Nikkei Home, you only need an empty stomach to dine at Hi Genki. You don’t even need that much $. Meals are priced reasonably (most are under $10).

This isn’t your typical Japanese sushi house. Although sushi is available as a side, Hi Genki’s focus is on donburi and udon.

Hi Genki

Pictured above is the Spicy Karaage Don (spicy fried chicken in rice) – $7.50. It’s yummy. The deep fried chicken is succulent and nottoospicy. The rice and veggies are nice. Simple, fresh, and tasty.

Hi Genki To the left, Sukiyaki Don (sliced beef, egg, tofu on rice) – $6.95. I didn’t enjoy it as much as the spicy karaage, not enough flavor. But again, the ingredients are fresh and tasty.

The service is great: the waitresses are very kind, polite, and speedy. Residents would have it no other way. This probably also explains the traditional and delicious meals.

Hi Genki

Vancouver is saturated with cool and glitzy Japanese restaurants with overpriced menus. They’re fun, but sometimes you just want a comforting homecooked meal. If your-self/friends/family are not willing to cook you that meal, do check out Hi Genki – it’s the next best thing (and super cool in it’s own quirky way).

Hi Genki
6680 Southoaks Crescent, Burnaby

604.777.0533
Open Monday – Sunday
Lunch: 11am – 3pm
Dinner: 6pm – 9pm

Hi Genki on Urbanspoon

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