3883 Rupert Street
If I were to visit a restaurant, how often should I do a re-post? Once, twice, thrice? More often than not, unless there is something catastrophic or the experience between the first visit and the second visit is extremely different, I don’t believe there is such need, specially if the time gap between these are extremely short. After all, your experience have documented and capture that essence, is there really a need to do so? After visiting Kimura with Sherman in summer 2010 (wow, we did tackle a lot of these hidden places early!), I was hoping to return for their omakase – or leave it to the chef, which can be considered a tasting menu of sorts. So, in what seemed to have a been a lot of coincidences, when Chris (Eating is the Hard Part) was arranging with me restaurants to consider for his visit, gastronomydomine of the Foodosophy team wrote a post about omakase at Kimura. Result? A flurry of text messages started between Chris and myself. Omakase at Kimura it was…
While making the reservations, I told them ahead of time we would for the $40 omakase. Now, there was no specifics as if that was supposed to be a a possible price point; rather, I threw the number. Given they didn’t say anything at all, I confirmed the time for the meal and from there we went.
Arriving that day to the restaurant was a bit of an adventure in its own ways. It was “snowing” that day (as in flakes that never stick), Bin had to take a small detour and, as a result, he had to cab in and so on. When we arrived, I was disappointed we weren’t given the option to seat at the bar. Now, I am aware it is an option; but… But, still, we were seated close enough to observe most of the action so, at least, there was a consolation prize of sorts. Anyway, after warming up and confirming we want to go for the $40 price point omakase, food started to arrive, starting off with…
An appetizer trio consisting of jelly-ied pigs ear and hock, grilled sardines with shiso leaves and kabocha pumpkin. The best description of the ears would be in the line of a dense, savoury jelly. The one thing I wish it had was a some snap from the pigs ear. I mean, you could see it, but, at the same time, it wasn’t “there”. The grilled sardines, which, by itself is an oily fishy tasting, errr…, fish (?), maintained those characteristics. The meat wasn’t soft or flaky; instead, it almost felt as if it was a single chunky piece. And that worked fine for me, given I grew up eating it like that. As for the kabocha, unlike some other forms of cooked pumpkin, this one was borderline dense and heavy. It was lightly sweet which provided some contrast to the other savoury parts of the appetizer.
Trio of oysters. Now, I am a bit of a person with mixed feelings about oysters. I mean, I will eat it and, if I were to put in an oyster eating competition, I could certainly eat a lot of them. However, I won’t go ballistic if I don’t have them. Plus, procuring them in good conditions is a pain and, depending on the restaurant, it might charge an arm and a leg. Granted, there are places where buck-a-shuck is offered but these are quite popular so there might be packed or have long lines. In Kimura’s case, Mr Kimura himself told us these were flown directly from Japan. Does it guarantee it is better than local BC ones? Given I am not crazy about oysters, what I can say is that these had a clean taste and the three forms of roe provided some crunchiness and saltiness to it. Even Sarah who had some hesitations happily ate them!
Salmon carpaccio with a sesame, soy sauce dressing. There were two types of salmon: a more orange-y one plus a reddish one. I wonder if they were using farmed salmon or one of the more orange-y type wild salmon. I would lean towards the later but, regardless, the dressing was quite strong. It wasn’t bad just that it overpowered the salmon itself. Would I order it by itself? Not certain.
Ankimo, aka, monkfish liver, aka, foie gras of the sea, on a squid ink sauce. Yup, you got that right, this is a piece of liver, not too different from foie gras. Well, there are some key differences; for example, this wasn’t seared and, despite it was creamy, it had a clean taste. Quite a sharp contrast to the monkfish liver I had at Guu Garden… The sauces didn’t make much of a difference but, hey, as long as it didn’t detract from the key part, I am good!
Oyster tempura, mushroom and okra. Another oyster dish? Well, won’t complain here! Now, I don’t think “tempura” is the best description, as it wasn’t really crispy; instead, the batter had a chewy texture to it. As for the flavour, it had a light sea taste to it (but not as in a bad “spoiled” way). The mushroom was shiitake and, if you have had it before, you know it has a quite pungent taste to it. As for the okra, it is either a like it or hate it for a lot of people. In my case, I liked the creaminess of the inside so I am good as is. However, I am jumping ahead! There is one thing that my picture didn’t really capture and that was a bit of edible golden spray. Yup, Mr. Himura spray something glittering golden on the plate. But it was mostly for show as there was no taste behind it. Hey, at times flare works!
If there was a dish that ended up in a strange spot would be this one: shrimp on risotto, which wasn’t really a risotto in the straight sense of the word. It felt more on the lines of rice molded in a ring and then the top and bottom cooked in a way similar to grilled onigiri. It gave it a crunchy exterior and a somewhat creamy interior (but, once again, not to the same point as a risotto). Alas, it ended up slightly too bitter for my taste. The shrimp on top (served with salsa) ended up being a miss as well. How so? Slightly overdone which translates into a chewy morsel.
As soon as I saw this little cup, my eyes glittered. Before the waitress could name the dish, I yelled “chawanmushi!!!“, to which the waitress could help but give a big smile and just nod. So what is this?
Translated as “tea cup steam”, this is an savoury egg custard, not too different from my very favourite dish: Chinese steamed eggs. However, this one contains a strand of udon so, technically, it could be called odamaki mushi. Regardless of the name (or technicality), I will have to say “I like it” no matter what. But, don’t let me jump ahead: in addition to the strand of udon, it also had some chicken, a piece of shrimp and mushroom. It wasn’t really salty and the consistency was stiffer than how my mom would make the Chinese version. But, once again, I just call it good eats! (Sorry, this is a biased statement!).
Of course, the (nigiri) sushi course… From top down, battera sushi, red tuna, o-toro, flounder (though, I thought it could have been halibut), surf clam and unagi. From the rice perspective, other than the battera sushi, the rice in the rest was loose to the point it could easily crumble if you were to try to pick it using chopsticks. So, yes, hands were used. Also, I didn’t really dip it in soy sauce, as Mr. Himura brushed the appropriate pieces before they were served. As for the fish, I will just say it was fresh. Sorry, there isn’t much to say other than it was good.
To close, some green tea ice cream. To be blunt… Nah, didn’t care much for this after all the other dishes served.
Overall, for $40, this is quite a deal. I mean, they were 9 dishes. If you were to average it, that would be under $5 each. And, we are not talking dishes made out of cheapo type ingredients. Oysters? Monkfish liver? Sushi??? So, indeed it is worth every buck. But, of course, let’s not abuse a good thing. If would certainly come back, given it has a good price point and good dishes. Just that, if I do so, it would most likely be once every six weeks or two months.