Sherman's Food Adventures: Black Rice Izakaya

Black Rice Izakaya

There are no shortage of Izakayas in Vancouver, specifically in Downtown.  They come in all forms from the relatively affordable to the downright expensive.  Mind you, with some of the premium ingredients involved (wagyu beef and seafood), it isn't surprising.  One of the more understated Izakayas is located on the edge of Downtown within the Blu Hotel complex.  I've been there in the past for some snacks after late-night hockey coming away satisfied.  I was recently invited to try their new menu items.

We started with the Dobin Mushi with hamaguri, water, yuzu peel and clams.  This was a great start to the meal as the hot broth was sweet and full of brininess.   As much as it was full of flavour, it was more than just the salt content.  In fact, the broth was not salty at all.  Rather, there was a light depth that exuded an umaminess.  I loved the buttery whole clams at the end as well.  Another light appie ws the Goma Tuna which consisted of large buttery chunks coated in just enough sesame dressing.  It was aromatic and lightly sweet with a touch of background saltiness.

Beautifully presented on the half shell, the Kimchi Scallop Motoyaki looked appealingly tasty.  Consisting of tender baby scallops, bell pepper, butter and cheese, there was a definite spice that was nicely balanced with the brininess and cheese.  Yes, it was in fact very tasty and almost seemed like it would go better with some rice or noodles.  Right on cue, we got the Napolitan Spaghetti with soba noodles, tomato sauce, ketchup, bacon, sausage and onions on top of silky egg.  This was a touch zesty and mostly sweet.  I found the noodles a touch soft, but at the same time, it was still a pleasant dish.  The barely cooked egg underneath was a nice treat.

Served in a boiling cast iron pot, the Kimchi Nabe was influenced by the chef's Korean roots.  It was served piping hot with tofu skin knots, sliced pork, seafood and of course kimchi.  It definitely captured the essence of kimchi without emulating a Korean stew.  I found it to be its own dish with a balanced sweet, salty and spiciness.  They left the best for last with the Teriyaki Wagyu Steak atop Monterey Jack and mozzarella cheeses with mashed potato.  The steak was super tender while going really well with the smooth and creamy cheeses.  Overall, the tasting provided a nice overview of their featured seasonal items.  The beef was totally the highlight while the scallop and kimchi nabe were surprisingly good.

*All food and beverages were complimentary*

The Good:
- Daring to be a bit different with Korean/Japanese fusion
- Apparent flavours

The Bad:
- Spaghetti was a bit overdone

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