Sherman's Food Adventures: Kuma Izakaya

Kuma Izakaya

Yaletown. This is where you can find many higher-priced restaurants that are the place to see and to be seen.  In terms of the food, some are on point, while others rely on their location and glitz to get by.  However, there is nothing wrong with that since everyone has a different motivation when choosing a restaurant (including convenience, decor, atmosphere, the crowd and price point).  For 6 years, Yaletown was my home and I didn't necessarily eat at the "best food" restaurant all the time due the aforementioned criteria.  So when we decided to hit up Kuma Izakaya, it was about type of cuisine and price point.  For a Yaletown establishment, Kuma's menu seemed reasonably-priced.

It was even more reasonably-priced since we made it for happy hour.  Hence, we got the discounted Aburi Nigiri featuring Unagi, AAA Beef, Sockeye Salmon, Toro and Hamachi.  These were attractive too look at and in fact, the fish was pretty good being soft and buttery.  However, since they were merely seared without sauce, there was no real flavour to speak of.  Furthermore, the rice was a bit too chewy and took away from the delicate fish.  For our roll, we got the Aburi Beef Roll sporting AAA beef on top of  what was essentially a California roll.  It was finished off with a slice of jalapeno.  This was not very good due to the extremely chewy beef on top.  Moreover, the jalapeno was sliced too thick while the rice was pretty bland.

Next up, the Mango Ebi Mayo, as the name implies, is a take on the classic ebi mayo.  Rather than a chili mayo sauce, the fried prawns were doused in a sweet, creamy and tart mango mayo.  The prawn was sweet and natural-tasting while exhibiting a firm snap.  Despite the amount of mayo, the crispy batter remained as such.  Looking more like a sushi tower, the Salmon Tartare sat atop sushi rice and was topped with avocado and more sushi rice.  This was all finished with salmon sashimi and cucumbers.  We thought the rice was too hard and took away from the delicate textures.  The salmon was buttery but overdressed.  With that being said, there was a wealth of sweet and spiciness.  There was a good amount of acidity though.

Lastly, we tried the Seafood Tomato Cream Spaghetti sporting garlic-sautéed mussels, squid, baby scallops and shrimp. This was finished with chilli powder, Parmesan cheese and garlic chips.  We found the sauce to be creamy and tart while balanced.  The pasta was surprisingly al dente.  There was plenty of seafood flavour and brininess to go with the zestiness.  We didn't like the squid though as it was chewy and bland.  Overall, Kuma was serviceable and fairly reasonably-priced.  It is located in a quieter part of Yaletown, so the "scene" doesn't really exist here.

The Good:
- Reasonably-priced
- Attentive service
- Okay eats

The Bad:
- Quieter part of Yaletown, not good for those who want to be part of the "scene"
- Food okay, but needs refinement


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