A long time ago, Viv and I had some mediocre Japanese food at Minato. I think that was like over 10 years ago. If you could imagine, we were in no rush to return. Hence, the decade-long wait to visit it again. So why did we come back? Well, we were looking for a Japanese restaurant near Oakridge that would accommodate 6 people comfortably. I'm not sure how we ended up all the way down on the corner of Broadway and Oak because it ain't close to Oakridge! And why did we need to be close to Oakridge? Well, that is where the Lego Store is located! Yes, I... er... my son really loves Lego, especially Ninjago. Thus, we've spent a fortune on the stuff. So much so, my son has nowhere to put it in his room. But I really want that Epic Dragon Battle... er... I mean he really wants it. Really! Oh, there is Viv rolling her eyes again.
Okay, so with low expectations, we went ahead and ordered a bunch of things. The first to arrive was the Spicy Tuna. Despite not looking particularly appetizing, it wasn't bad. There was a lot of sesame-peanutty flavours going on in addition to the spiciness. The portion was a bit small while the fish was pretty average. That would pretty much describe our plate of Sashimi as well. Again, not looking particularly aesthetically pleasing, it more or less did the job without anything to remember good nor bad. We weren't huge fans of the Tai though. It was very hard to chew (yes I know it is generally not the most tender of fish).
We got one each of the BC Roll and a roll I have no name. For some reason or another, I neglected to jot it down and it doesn't exist on the menu! Well, as you can see in the picture, it is a dynamite roll with spicy tuna on top. Didn't really matter what they were because the sushi rice was pretty average. It was on the gummier side and was pretty bland. Not horrible sushi rolls, yet not great either. The Assorted Tempura arrived with 3 large ebi. Despite being crispy and hot, I found the tempura batter to be over-aggressively applied. Hence, it was quite the chore to eat it. At least it wasn't greasy. The Tonkatsu Don was a fail in our books. Although it was a fairly large portion, there was not much to like about the dish. First of all, the rice did not benefit from any sauce penetrating the surface of the pork chop. Therefore, the pork chop was super salty and sweet while the rice was plain. The pork chop itself was not tender at all. It was as if they never tenderized the meat.
With that dish not appealing to the kiddies, it was fortunate we also went for an order of the Yakiudon. This was actually not too bad considering that the colour looked a bit off. This could've been partially attributed to the lack of sauce. Now the absence of moisture wasn't all bad since the noodles didn't become too saucy or wet. But then again, the whole dish got kinda sticky and starchy. There were lots of moist chicken and the noodle to vegetable ratio was good. This was probably the best item we had for the meal. Now that probably says it all about Minato. If a yakiudon is the best part of a meal when there are so many other things to eat (especially sushi and sashimi!), then that is not really a good thing. This is probably the reason why Viv and I haven't been back for over a decade. Minato benefits from their location as it is a convenient place during weekday lunch hours. With so many businesses around, including Vancouver General Hospital, it can afford to be mediocre and still survive. For me, there are so many better choices around.
- Convenient for the lunch time crowd
- It's edible
- Mediocre Japanese food (or AKA Chinese-inspired Japanese food)
- Lack of parking (for those who drive there)