Sherman's Food Adventures: March 2016


As my list of "to-visit" restaurants (that are not new) is getting increasingly smaller, it has brought me full-circle to Osamu Sushi.  You see, I've wanted to visit the place since the early years of this blog.  However, it just got lost in the shuffle and we never did eat there.  Trust me, I've tried, but attempting to secure a table for the whole family and my parents on a weekend without a rez never really did pan out.  Yah, I really should get my #$#( in order, but with our busy lives, visiting Osamu was never a priority.  We ended up meeting Bluebeard, Nikita, Herbie the Lovebug and Lana Banana for lunch (where we could get a table).

Since it was a weekday, they had a bunch of specials on their tapas menu and I practically ordered all of them including the Chicken Karaage.  I'm not sure if their discounted menu also meant smaller portions, but if this was the size of their $10.00 karaage, I'd be choked.  This was discounted at $6.00, so it was about right.  We liked it as the batter was crispy and thin while the dark leg meat was well-seasoned and succulent.  We also got the Spicy Prawns with tempura veggies topped with spicy sauce and wasabi mayo.  I liked this dish as the prawns were meaty sporting a crispy and light tempura batter.  The sauce was spicy and sweet while the mayo adding a cooling effect (couldn't taste much of the wasabi though).  Again, this must've been the smaller discounted size which makes me wonder if we got a deal at all!

Onto more fried goodness, we had the Yam Fries that were prepared expertly.  They were the right thickness where there was still soft yam goodness while not being too soft.  The light tempura coating (which was not greasy) ensured that they would be crispy.  For me, I felt there needed to be a dip of some sort of a drizzle or sauce to elevate the dish.  Since we went to Hawaii last Summer, I was excited to try their version of Ahi Poke.  When it arrived, it didn't look like any poke I've seen before.  The large slices of ahi tuna was more akin to carpaccio or sashimi than poke.  Also, the combination of julienned apples, wakame and citrus dressing (with mango puree) made this taste more like a salad than a poke.  I guess it was fine as a dish of some sort, but it certainly wasn't poke.

Heading off to some sashimi, we got the Wild Sockeye Salmon Sashimi while Herbie got the Albacore Tuna Sashimi.  These looked fresh with a nice sheen and smelled as such too (as fresh as flash frozen can get).  The salmon was indeed buttery and mildly sweet.  Again, this was the "discounted" for $8.00.  Regular price is $15.00, so I'm pretty sure they are not serving 5 slices for $15.00 here.  Continuing with raw fish, we had the Salmon Carpaccio with yuzu, miso and citrus dressing.  This was pretty good with lightly seared buttery salmon.  The dressing wasn't overly acidic not sweet which meant the salmon could stand on its own.  However, I would've liked more impact personally, otherwise I could just have salmon sashimi.

For the kiddies, we got them the Teriyaki Chicken Don with a large pan-fried chicken breast, veggies and a conservative amount of sauce.  As much as we appreciated the use of a large chicken breast, the meat turned out to be rather dry and bland.  The rice was good though being chewy and not too wet, but there wasn't enough teriyaki sauce to keep both the rice and chicken flavoured and moist.  Lastly, we got the Shogun Roll which was basically a dynamite roll with thick slices of albacore tuna on the outside topped with tobiko and tempura bits.  I found the sushi rice to be quite good featuring a chewiness accented by a balanced amount of sugar and rice wine vinegar.  The ample amount of tuna made the roll more interesting and substantial.  So was it worth the wait to finally visit Osamu after all these years?  Not really.  The place does serve up some decent eats, but the prices are pretty high and I'd be happy with dining closer in Burnaby.

The Good:
- Fairly decent eats
- Attentive service
- Items seem carefully prepared

The Bad:
- Pricey
- Specials are not really specials, more like reduced portions   

Rajio Public House

Near misses.  No, we're not talking about driving, parking or walking down the street in Richmond.  I'm referring to potential restaurant visits that never happened due to a variety of factors such as lineups, random closures and just not being hungry (yes, that happens).  The last time I had planned to hit up Rajio  with Miss Y,  we were on our way back from my hockey game at UBC.  However, we weren't really all-that-hungry because of stomach-stuffing bagels from Rosemary Rocksalt earlier in the evening.  Fast forward a year later, we made the trek out to 10th and Alma, even though we were in North Van!

It worked out for Sweet Tooth as she is a resident of the neighbourhood and Milhouse didn't mind traveling for food.  They foolishly let me do the ordering and dish 1 of 8 was the Black Olive Tuna Tataki.  As evidenced in the picture, the albacore tuna was seared evenly while the inside was buttery and sweet.  Tart, salty and aromatic, the kalamata olive garlic sauce was impactful as well as the ponzu jelly as it added an extra hit of saltiness.  Continuing on with raw fish, we has the Sa-Sea-Mi Salad with bits of albacore tuna, tako, hamachi and tobiko atop romaine and dressed with a kalamata olive soya dressing.  No complaints about the sashimi as it was plentiful and on point, but the copious amount of red onion was overpowering.  On the other hand, the dressing was strong enough to be noticed with hits of saltiness, sweetness and tang.

Onto some deep-fried goodness, we went for the KFC!  No, it wasn't Colonel Sanders, rather it was their version of chicken karaage battered with Komeko rice flour.  In turn, this meant the outside was super crispy while being light.  Inside, the chicken was succulent and well-seasoned with a balanced amount of salt and sweetness.  Naturally, if I was given the responsibility of ordering, I was not going to get out of there without a dish of the "Y" Ebimayo with chili mayo.  Okay, I wasn't a huge fan of this as the batter was too doughy and not crispy at all.  I didn't even taste the cilantro in the batter.  I didn't mind the mayo though as there was enough chili for effect.

Looking rather grand, the Yuzu n' Bonito Flake Dressed Deep-Fried Tofu was da bomb.  This was full-flavoured with the plenty of fried bonito on the outside of the crispy tofu.  The yuzu rind added a tart bitterness which balanced off the aggressive drizzle of sweet shoyu.  Inside, the tofu was somewhat firm, but still exhibited a certain butteriness.  Sweet, sticky and tart, the Black Sweet and Sour Pork Ribs were eerily similar to Chinese black vinegar ribs.  However, this one was made with a balsamic reduction that emulated the flavour of black vinegar.  I found the deep-fried finished ribs were a bit stringy and chewy, but the meat underneath was indeed fall-off-the-bone tender.

Nearing the end of our "snack" after hockey, we had a relatively smaller dish in the Tontoro (Grilled Pork Cheek).  This was simply seasoned with toragashi and grilled until a beautiful bark formed.  Hence, there was no absence of flavour and caramelization.  Texturally, the meat was classic pork cheek being tender while maintaining a rebound and appealing chewiness.  For our one larger item, we had the Kakuni Bibimbap Stone Bowl.  This was a large amount of rice topped with green onions, stewed pork belly, savoury shrimp and peppery sweet soy.  Due to the amount of rice, a proper crust did not form nor did the soy properly caramelize.  Hence, the rice was pretty soft and not that aromatic.

For dessert, Sweet Tooth needed to be convinced to share the Fluffy Cheesecake with yuzu and wolfberries. Talking about not living up to one's nickname!  Anyways, it turned out that it wasn't hard to finish the cake as it was classic Japanese-style.  It was akin to sponge cake with a touch of cheesiness and light denseness.  It wasn't very sweet, but still exhibited a baked cheese aroma.  By now, we were actually full and this was not completely due to the fact I ordered 8 items.  There are times when one can order even more dishes at an Izakaya and come away hungry.  So this had a lot to do with the portion sizes as well.

The Good:
- Fairly large portions
- Reasonable prices
- Attentive service

The Bad:
- Like most izakayas, not the most comfortable to lounge around 

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