Sherman's Food Adventures: Soul Robata & Izakaya

Soul Robata & Izakaya

After finishing up a meal at Tomoya with my softball team, I had to rush over to Coquitlam. Rich Guy had a flight to catch since he was heading back to the Philippines. Yah, a pretty sad day for me once again since that would eliminate an anytime, anywhere eating partner. As expected, we didn't let this trip to Richmond go to waste. After he checked his bags in, we went for some eats. While driving down Westminster and waiting to turn left, we noticed a white Benz signaling right while in the left turn bay. Okay, maybe they want to get out of the left turn bay? Nope, they proceeded to make a left turn while signaling right. I guess they couldn't see out of their completely fogged up windows? Once we passed them, they also had their high beams on. Lemme reiterate. A white Benz signaling right while turning left with windows all fogged up and high beams on, driving at 30 km/h on #3 Road. And people give me a hard time when I express my displeasure at driving in Richmond... Need I give more evidence?

Anyways, we made our way to Soul Robata and Izakaya for a bite to eat prior to his boarding time. Yes, Izakaya again... It seems that is all we ever eat while in Richmond. Well, another reason for this is because I needed sometime lighter since this would be my 5th meal of the day. I'm sure this will make Mijune proud! The last time I was at Soul Izakaya, it was part of the Foodie Tour last summer. I was happy with the food and decided it was time for a full meal. Seeing how the Sashimi was quite impressive the last time I was here, we got 2 pcs each of flounder, shimiji, amberjack and geoduck. Every piece was fresh texturally and tastewise. We particularly liked the shimiji. Buttery while still retaining some texture, it was sweet beyond our expectations. I didn't even use much in the way of soy or wasabi. Despite being a relatively simple dish, Rich Guy loves Fukahire Kurage or otherwise known as jellyfish and shark's fin salad. Beyond the crunchy texture, the salad was well-seasoned exhibiting a great combination of vinegar, sweetness, saltiness and a hint of spice.

We weren't exactly in the mood for Tako Wasa; but seeing it was the special of the day, we went for it anyways. Must be the Chinese in us - can't pass up a deal... Well, it turned out to be a solid choice since it was pretty good. The tako was chewy as expected; yet not overly so. There was a nice kick and some acidity. This went well with the nori sheets provided. Personally, the same nori sheets don't work for me when it comes to Salmon Yukke. I much prefer it to be served with shrimp chips a la Guu. Something about the crispiness and the ability of being able to eat it without salmon squirting all over the place. Maybe with that in mind, we were not exactly raving about this offering. Nothing particularly wrong with it since the salmon was fresh and all. However, on mix with the quail's egg, scallions and oshinko slices, there was not much flavour to it. I know it is supposed to be subtle; but a little lemon would've gone a long way to brightening it up.

One dish we did rave about was the Gyu Sashi. Technically a beef carpaccio, what we got was essentially beef tataki. However, this was exactly how we liked it. Sliced thin and easy to chewy while maintaining a meat texture, we gobbled it up quickly. The ponzu dressing was perfect. A good combination of vinegary zing and saltiness. Add in the grated ginger and the whole thing was very appetizing. Last time at Koto Izakaya, Rich Guy got turned onto monkfish liver or ankimo, so it was a given we'd see what the Ankimo Sandwich was all about. Well, it consisted of 4 mini-sandwiches with monkfish liver. It sounded good on paper; yet it really didn't work in our opinion. The delicate liver got completely lost between the slices of bread. In fact, we couldn't even really taste it, which is a shame. It was not a bad offering per se. It was just not how we would eat monkfish liver.

Next up was a classic in the Ebi Mayo. Unlike some other iterations, there was not an obscene amount of mayo; rather, there was just enough. That was good since the very crunchy fried shrimp could shine on its own. Perfectly cooked as well, this was a solid version. Originally, we also wanted to try out the Gindara. Unfortunately, they were sold out and we settled on the Grilled Unagi. To many, unagi doesn't really elicit much excitement since it is a relatively common item in a Japanese restaurant. In fact, Ross from Friends popularized it as a state of mind... However, this was no ordinary unagi. It was fatty, tender and all around delicious. The darn thing practically melted in my mouth while the fatty skin was a delight to eat. There was just enough sauce too without drowning the darn thing.

Since Rich Guy had a flight to catch, we rushed the last item a bit and honestly, we wished we had more time to savour it. The Grilled Lamb Chips were friggin' fantastic. Rich Guy is not a huge fan of lamb; but he liked this. It was cooked perfectly with a medium-rare centre and none-too-gamy. It was super-tender, not requiring much effort to chew. What brought it all together was the perfect complimentary sauce. It was a sweet soy sauce with a nice gingery kick. There was no absence of flavour while it did not overwhelm the lamb at the same time. After that, we quickly left for the airport all the while being quite satisfied with our meal at Soul. We realize that it is not a true Japanese Izakaya much like Koto down the street. However, that shouldn't matter much when they can dish out some tasty food.

The Good:
- Some pretty good flavours
- Mostly well-executed
- Decent service

The Bad:
- Most items are reasonably-priced and some are quite expensive
- Need I repeat what I say about the parking along Alexandra?

Soul Robata & Izakaya on Urbanspoon


Elo said...

I live in richmond, have for all my life but last week I saw sth truly ridiculous. An "N" driver, in an instructor car, going 70, with a broken brake light, while talking on the phone. I kid you not.

Sherman Chan said...

@Elo Thank you for your confirmation. I get emails sometimes saying that I'm insane for talking about Richmond traffic like that. They claim that it has never happened to them. Uh. That is really hard to believe.

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