*This restaurant is now closed*
When I met up with Rich Guy last time at Pasta Polo, I noticed that the old Anducci's had become a Japanese restaurant. Honestly, I couldn't make out the name because there was a large hand-drawn circle on the signage. Well, it turns out that the big circle is the name of the place. It's actually O Raw Bar & Grill. Once again, Rich Guy met me for lunch (doesn't he need to work or something? Oh wait, he's a Rich Guy). Remnants of the old Anducci's decor mixed with a substantial amount of renovations create an odd, but trendy atmosphere. Rich Guy and I particularly like the turbo hand drier in the washroom. In fact, Rich Guy washed his hands twice, just to use the dryer. Both of us actually had a hard time finding the soap dispenser because it's the same colour as the wall and is well hidden. I actually mistakened the complimentary mouth wash as soap. Well, at least my hands smell nice.
When we first took a look at the menu, we were a bit worried since the prices seemed a bit high for an Izakaya-type Japanese restaurant. There was really nothing under $10.00 other than the individual rolls and Nigiri. Thus, with Izakaya portions in mind, we ordered 4 items for the two of us. The server notified us that they had really fresh oysters. Well, we both like oysters, so we went for a half dozen of the Premium Oysters on the half shell. Honestly, the oysters were a bit small; but the freshness and sweetness made up for the lack of size. We were also served a complimentary appetizer dish which consisted of Roasted Garlic, Marinated Wakame and Shoestring Yam Fries. It wasn't a lot; but it was still a nice little treat. Presented on a long platter, there were 8 Crispy Prawns coated in corn flakes. For $10.00, the dish was an excellent value. The prawns were indeed very good with a nice crunchy coating. However, we would've preferred a spicy mayo instead of the common and boring sweet chili sauce.
When we first took a look at the lunch menu, the Sashimi Set Meal caught our eye; but at $15.00, it seemed a bit pricey. Our concerns turned into awe when it arrived at our table. Presented on a large square platter, there was a huge amount of sashimi accompanied by a Smoked Salmon Roll, Tempura and Salad. The sashimi consisted of 3 pcs wild salmon, 3 pcs spring salmon, 2 pcs mackerel, 2 pcs red snapper, 2 pcs tako, 2 pcs tuna, 2 pcs Hokkigai and 2 pcs tamago (not really sashimi but it looked good). Normally, the sashimi alone in this meal would be enough to warrant the $15.00 price tag. The purple (cabbage juice I assume) rice roll was quite good, I didn't even notice it was not regular sushi rice. In addition, the tempura was light and crisp. The only thing I'd change would be the salad. It was mixed with a balsamic vinaigrette that made the lettuce look dirty. They should either put the dressing on the side or stick with the traditional Japanese ginger vinaigrette. The last dish, Hoisin Braised Short Rib, was another surprise. For $13.00, we weren't expecting a whole lot; yet when the dish arrived, it was one of the biggest pieces of short rib I've ever seen. It was a massive amount of tender meat on a bed of veggies and roast potatoes. However, the hoisin sauce was a bit weak and dirty looking. It definitely needed more depth and colour.
Rich Guy and I were barely able to finish all the food, there was just so much of it. If we had known about the portion sizes, we could have sufficed with 2 dishes. The fears we had about the prices here at O Raw were totally quashed with the portion sizes and quality of the food. Furthermore, the staff were very friendly and attentive. Add into that a trendy and comfortable dining space, you have a pretty solid restaurant. There is really no restaurant like O Raw in Coquitlam, so at least they have no immediate competition. I only hope that they succeed because no restaurant has done well at this location.
- Big portions
- Food is made with care
- Most of the food is quite good
- Some of the fusion items didn't work (ie. salad dressing, chili sauce for the prawns)
- Can't compete with the Downtown Izakayas, but okay for Coquitlam