I was lucky enough to score 3 car show tickets yesterday from my uncle. DT and Vandelay claimed the other 2 tickets. DT was going to the Canucks game, so it was perfect for him to attend the car show prior to the game. Moreover, it turned out that Vandelay would already be in downtown at the same time we wanted to go. Perfect! I was also lucky enough to snag free parking along Pacific Boulevard (this was significant because there was a Canucks game too at the same time).
Walking along on Pacific in Yaletown brought back so many good memories, I used to live in Yaletown until 2005. It was so much easier to go out and eat back then, go out the front door and there were so many choices of restaurants. Now living in the burbs, it's a bit of a commute. Anyways, we make it into BC Place and looked at some of this year's offerings. Vandelay was looking at compact SUVs and we really liked the Mercedes GLK, it's definitely distinct looking and was reasonably priced. The Audi Q5 was also quite nice, but it seemed overpriced. I really liked the the Lancer Ralliart, it was a more tame version of the Evo, and cheaper.
After walking around, I naturally got hungry. Of course I did... DT went to his hockey game (we lost 6-5 in a shootout). Vandelay and I decided to go to Gyoza King for some Izakaya. Normally, Gyoza King is very busy and since it's quite a small restaurant, long waits outside are common. Luckily for us, we only waited for 5 minutes. I suffer from the condition known as "my eyes are bigger than my stomach". Therefore, I think we ordered too much.
We started with the Green Salad with "Secret" recipe dressing. The vegetables were fresh and crisp. The dressing was indeed very good, we could pick out carrot, ginger and miso. We weren't sure where the sweetness came from. Next up was the Chikuwa Cheese, which are fish tubes (the same ones found in Chinese hot pot), filled with cheese, battered and deep-fried. This was very good, with the crispiness of the batter, the chewiness of the fish tubes and the smoothness of the melted cheese. We also got the GFC or Goyokin Fried Chicken Wings. These were cooked perfectly, with a crisp exterior and a juicy interior. It was slightly spicy. We were still eating our finger-linking wings when the Ebi Mayo arrived. From just looking at it, I knew I wasn't going to enjoy it. It was slathered in a lot of mayo! I took one of the of the tiger prawns and bit into it, it was gummy. The batter either was not fried long enough, or the mayo made it wet. Not only was there too much mayo, the mayo itself tasted more like Thousand Islands dressing. I much prefer the Ebi Mayo at Hapa Izakaya. Next was my favourite dish of the nite, the Spicy Beef Yukke. It is comprised of raw beef, raw quail's egg, cucumber, scallions and spicy yukke sauce. Mixed together, it was spicy; yet smooth (due to the egg). It's like eating raw sukiyaki, except spicy. Well, since I was at Gyoza King, I decided to try out their Ganso or pork and vegetable gyozas. I mean, gyozas are gyozas; but the ones we had were fluffy, cooked perfectly (crispy bottom on the bottom) and not overstuffed with filling. If you know me, I really like tongue (not that kind of tongue! get your mind out of the gutter!). We ordered the Gyu Tan or beef tongue. Although it looked and tasted really good, due to the nice caramalization, it was a bit tough to chew. My second favourite dish of the night were the Deep Fried Octopus Balls with Bonito Flakes (no, it's not that kind of ball!). These were fabulous, crunchy on the outside, but fluffy soft on the inside. The octopus was not overcooked; thus being tender and not chewy, like it usually is. Lastly, we had the Maguro Tataki with Ponzu. The large slices of tuna were seared evenly on all sides and it tasted sweet. It would've tasted good even without any sauce.
I thought overall, the food at Gyoza King was better than Hapa Izakaya. I'm not saying that Hapa Izakaya is not a good place for Japanese tapas, but Gyoza King is just better. Too bad the place is so small, it's tight and the lineup can be quite onerous. Despite it being a madhouse inside, the service is quite efficient and friendly. On a side note, please forgive me for the pictures, I'm still trying to figure out the depth of field, I'll get it right eventually!
- Food was consistently good, not too many misses
- Gyozas were good (it is Gyoza King afterall)
- Service was friendly
- Cramped inside
- Long waits
1508 Robson Street