Sherman's Food Adventures: Iki Japanese

Iki Japanese

What a beautiful day for a wedding! Yes, the endless days of sunshine for the GVRD have been a blessing for all those who are getting hitched. Fortunately for us, today's wedding was indoors at the Vancouver Museum. However, much like all weddings, we had to wait around for photos, while my stomach was growling. When it was over and done, we headed back to the car and I did my best "Superman" routine and changed into casual wear. Not fun being in a black suit on a warm summer day! Since we were in Kits, we headed out to Iki Japanese Bistro for some lunch. I've tried to visit Iki for a while now; but nobody on my softball team seemed too interested. Every time I mentioned about going to Iki, I get the usual, "It sounds like icky!".

When we arrived, it actually took a little while to find a parking spot. There were actually quite a few spaces available; but most of them were under trees. You might be wondering why that is significant. Well, I have this thing about parking my car under trees where it subsequently gets "sapped". So, I would rather circle around for treeless parking spot than park closer. I was lucky to spot one nearby and all was well. It's good that I didn't take too long, because not long after we got seated, the restaurant began to really fill up. Since Iki is a relatively small restaurant, it doesn't take a lot of customers to fill the place. On that note, I think there ought to be more staff because the servers seemed overworked. Despite this, they provided friendly service and attended to everyone the best that they could. What sets Iki apart is their brown rice sushi. Yes, there are other places that serve brown rice sushi; but Iki supposedly was one of the first and one of the best.

One dish that they are known for are their Yam Fries. I noticed almost everyone in the place ordering the fries. It's much like Phnom Penh where everyone orders the fried chicken wings, you can't go there without eating it. Well, there is a reason why everyone orders the yam fries because they are in one word - awesome. For $4.oo, you get a mound of these delicately battered fries that are kissed with a balsamic reduction. I really liked how crispy they were; yet the yam was still a bit firm. Served on the side was a Hollandaise sauce, which really tasted more like honey mustard. We much preferred the spicy mayo on the bottom of the dish as a dipping sauce. One item that caught my eye and I really wanted to try was the Lobster Miso Bisque. When it arrived, it wasn't really what I was expecting; but it did have a nice fragrance to it. Essentially, it was miso soup infused with lobster (possibly using the shells). At first, I was a bit disappointed since it just tasted like miso soup. Viv was having the regular miso soup and told me to compare. After I did that, I began to appreciate the taste of my lobster miso a bit more. However, I still enjoy a traditional lobster bisque much more.

Still on the lobster theme, we decided to try the Lobster Roll. For $9.00, it was a pretty good value. Wrapped in a crispy tempura coating, the roll consisted of lobster meat, asparagus and avocado with lobster miso sauce on the side. The roll itself was a bit bland and even the lobster miso couldn't bring it to life. However, with a touch of soy, the roll tasted much better. Seeing how an 8-piece sashimi order would cost $10.00 already, we went for the Bento Box F ($11.50) which included 6 pieces of Tuna and Salmon Sashimi, Chicken Teriyaki with Brown Rice, Edamame, Tempura, California Roll and Salad. This seemed like a much better deal and offered a good selection of items to sample. The brown rice California Roll was really large with a plethora of imitation crab nestled inside. The texture of brown rice isn't for everyone; but we didn't mind it. With perfectly cooked white meat and only modestly dressed with sauce, the teriyaki was solid. Much like the yam fries, the tempura was crispy without being oily. Although being only modest in size, the slices of sashimi were fresh and sweet. As you can ascertain, the meal at Iki was solid all around. The prices seemed reasonable for the quality and quantity of food. I most certainly do a return visit. Now only if I could convince my softball team to try it...

The Good:
- Food made with care
- Available choice of brown rice
- Reasonable prices

The Bad:
- They need more staff
- Not really good for big groups

Iki Japanese on Urbanspoon