Generally, when we have a late Friday night hockey game, there is no possible way to eat anything but Chinese food. Well, unless we want to sink to the level of Knight & Day and/or Denny's (I'd take the latter personally). What we generally crave is Japanese food. Now that is a difficult proposition as most Japanese restaurants are long closed prior to 11pm. Now there are Izakayas which close roughly around midnight, but most, if not all the good ones are in Downtown (except for Suika and the Kits location of Hapa). However, with Gadget Girl around, her preference is not to head into Downtown. That got me thinking and I remembered a newish place on Main called Itadakimasu Izakaya.
We arrived just in time for their last call which was 11pm (they close at 12am), but they didn't rush us though. Not knowing how large their portions are, we ordered quite a bit of food starting with the Pari Pari Ebi Mayo. Coated with wasabi crisps, the ebi was crunchy and flavourful on its own. The flavours were further amped by the sweet chili mayo drizzled on top. We weren't as fond of the Smoked Salmon Oshi as it was too loose and fell apart as we picked it up. Although the rice had a balanced taste, it was a bit sticky, yet dry at the same time. Our server suggested we try the Tuna Tacos and thankfully we did. These were really good with a light and crispy shell giving way to crunchy coleslaw and a perfectly seared slice of tuna. The drizzle of yuzu pepper mayo added both spice and tartness.
When Emilicious ordered the Agedashi Tofu, I was expecting a small bowl. Instead, we were presented with a long plate with 3 different versions including dashi, sweet chili and teriyaki. The tofu was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. We liked the dashi (mild saltiness) and sweet chili (had a nice kick) sauces, but the teriyaki was curiously bland. We also had a double order of the Takoyaki which turned out to be more balls than we had hoped for. Er... I think that came out the wrong way. Wait. That doesn't sound right either. I'll stop. Anyways, the balls were fluffy with slightly chewy pieces of octopus (but not overly chewy). There was also an adequate of great tasting sauce as well.
Unfortunately, there was far too much sauce on the Okonomiyaki. The sauce itself was fine being a good mix of salty, tangy and sweet, but it drowned the whole thing. Underneath the sauce, we found a pretty charred pancake which was very soft and crumbly. Not a huge deal since it was better than being chewy and dense. Onto our some more sushi, Milhouse chose the House Roll consisting of avocado, unagi, tamago and cucumber topped with fried onions and unagi sauce. The roll itself was pretty crunchy thanks to the fried onions. Most of the other items and textures were masked by the crunchiness, but the flavours were good though. I liked how there was a bit of everything.
Another item that our server recommended was the Pork Belly Bao Buns. Not exactly something we were expecting at an Izakaya, but we were intrigued at the combination of crispy pork belly, teriyaki glaze, cilantro and pickled veggies in a half-fried mantou. This Taiwanese-Vietnamese hybrid offering was pretty good. The combination of the crispy mantou top, moist and crispy belly and tart/sweet veggies really went well together. Sweet Tooth wanted to try the Geso Karaage and ultimately wished she had not. The fried squid tentacles were not as crunchy as the visuals implied and the squid itself was too chewy. It was quite the chore to eat.
Emilicious decided to give the Negihama Roll a go and it was a good choice. Essentially a negitoro roll except substituting the tuna toro with hamachi, we enjoyed the different flavour of the hamachi. However, the rice was dry as previously mentioned. Lastly, we had the Seafood Fried Rice which was chewy (due to the use of sushi rice) and full of sweet pop from the corn and carrots. We didn't end up finishing it because of the all the food we ordered. Although there were some duds, the majority of the food was pretty good. We also enjoyed the relaxed environment and the friendly service. We all agreed this is a place we'd visit again.
- Decent portions for an izakaya
- Spacious and modern
- Friendly service
- Not expensive, but not cheap either
- Sushi rice is dry (could've been due to being the end of the day)