Sherman's Food Adventures: Aburi King

Aburi King

The measure of ones success can often be found within the amount of copycats.  Think of it, someone wouldn't try to do the same thing you are doing if it isn't making money.  Often, it gets a bit excessive, where we find 3 bubble tea shops on one block (think Fraser Street and 42nd) or 8 ramen shops in a 2 block radius on Robson.  But you get the idea, if something is successful, why not get in on the action?  This would be the case with aburi sushi.  Miku/Minami started the trend and that opened the floodgates with Victoria Sushi, Green Leaf, Kishimoto, Yui Bistro and the sort.  One of the newest players is the aptly-named Aburi King out on Rupert at 22nd.

We headed here after Sunday morning hockey for some aburi action.  On that note, we got all 3 available options for Aburi Oshi with Hamachi, Bluefin Tuna and Salmon.  In terms of plating, they really shouldn't have crammed them together as it was hard to figure out which was what and also they were somewhat stuck.  Also, the repetitive sauce and toppings didn't highlight the unique flavours and texture of each fish.  Despite that, we still enjoyed the evenly torched fish.  Maybe the hamachi could've been cooked a bit less though as it was no longer buttery.  The rice was quite good being chewy with the right amount of moisture.  The smokiness and caramelization was apparent while the piece of ripe avocado hidden in the middle worked way better than I would've thought as it added a smooth creaminess.

For myself, I wanted to try the Aburi Roll consisting of spicy tuna, spicy salmon, chopped hamachi and chopped scallop on top of an avocado cucumber roll.  This was rather substantial as they overloaded each piece with ingredients.  So much so, things started falling off.  I wasn't complaining though as it meant that I wasn't going to go hungry.  Unlike the aburi oshi, the toppings were still fairly rare and buttery.  Again, the smokiness and caramelization of the sauce created aromatics and umaminess.  This was well worth the $12.00 they charge for the roll.  Since JuJu and I arrived first, we ordered our own amuse with the Fish & Chip Cone consisting of sole fish tempura, avocado, cucumber, masago, potato flakes and special sauce.  This small cone for $1.50 was pretty good where the fish was flaky with a crunchy batter while the rest of the ingredients complimented it well.  I felt that if there was a bit of rice, this would've ate a bit better.

As a table, we also shared the Assorted Tempura with ebi, eggplant, carrot and zucchini.   This featured a fairly thin layer of batter that was mostly crispy.  I say mostly because some parts were a little doughy, but ever-so-slightly.  The ebi was fantastic having a buttery and moist snap.  Although the veggies were sliced pretty thin and small, they were still able to not overcooked it very much.  I would've liked to see thicker pieces.  JuJu spotted the lunch specials on the table placard and settled with the Chicken Katsu with rice, miso soup, salad and California roll for $8.00.  Good value here as he was pretty satisfied with the portion for the price (and since his nickname is piggy, that is quite the feat).  The chicken was crispy and covered with a tangy sauce.  Despite the crunchiness, the meat wasn't completely dried out.

Probably one of the best values on the menu was the Ramen.  Milhouse had the Shio ($9.00) while Kaiser Soze went for the Miso ($10.00).  Okay, let's get this out of the way first - the ramen here won't put the fear into other ramen joints, but it was good for what it is.  Sure, the soup base lacked a bit of depth and yah, the chashu was cut too thick (which meant it wasn't as tender as it could've been).  Yet, the noodles were on point while the egg was decent and it included all the fixins'.   This probably best sums up Aburi King - decent eats that are just a step below some of the more well-known spots in town, but they also charge quite a bit less.  Good value food here.

The Good:
- Inexpensive
- Decent food all-around
- Nice people

The Bad:
- Repetitive flavours


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