Sherman's Food Adventures: Kamei Royale

Kamei Royale

With all of the newer restaurants in town, we often forget about the long-standing ones.  Some of  you wonder why they are still in business and some, you may have not even bothered eating there since they are not plastered all over social media.  If I think way back to my youth, THE place to go get Japanese food was Kamei.  It was at the Broadway Plaza location that I first tried sashimi and I've never looked back.  It's now an Ebisu, but that is still part of the same restaurant group.  So when it came time to choose a nicer Japanese restaurant to take Viv's dad for Father's Day, we went ol' skool and made a rez at Kamei Royale in Downtown.

We kicked things off with the Deluxe Assorted Sashimi featuring beautiful slices of hamachi, sockeye salmon, albacore tuna, Atlantic salmon and tako as well as uni, ebi and hokkigai.  This was carefully prepared and consisted of supremely fresh items that you can clearly see in the picture.  Textures were on point and the natural sweetness really came through.  Nothing here was average.  They fried the prawn heads for us upon our request.  We also got a dozen Oysters to whet our appetite.  These Royal Miyagis were shucked properly without any shell fragments or damage to the oysters.  They were sweet and lightly briny with plenty of juices residing in the deep shell.

Onto more sashimi, we got the Unagi Sashimi Boat with albacore tuna, Atlantic salmon, hokkigai, California roll, dynamite roll, assorted tempura and a mini-unagi don.  Again, the sashimi was on point as the previous order we had.  As for the maki sushi, it was decent with chewy rice and carefully constructed rolls.  As for the don, it was a nice little treat of chewy sushi rice topped with buttery charred unagi.  It was sauced enough to flavour the rice.  Presented on a multi-level wood board, the Deluxe Sushi Platter included tuna, salmon, kanpachi, hamachi, ebi, hotate, ikura, uni, tamago and unagi.  On the bottom, there was a Mango Paradise Roll. Not trying to sound repetitive, but the nigiri were fresh with properly textured and seasoned rice.  As for the roll, it was carefully constructed and the mango was ripe.

I saved my commentary about the Tempura for our actual order of the dish.  Strangely, it arrived quite a bit after the boat.  Wouldn't they have fried it all together?  Anyways, it was crispy and light despite the visuals.  Interestingly, the pieces were rather large including the huge ebi.  It was buttery and had a light snap.  Okay, the fact that our orders of tempura (one in the boat) arrived so far apart was already strange.  How about our 2 orders of Gyoza...  Not only did they not arrive together, they were 20 minutes apart!  Huh?  Well, they were not worth waiting for though.  They looked sloppy and ate as such.  Although they were aggressively seared, the gyozas were not crispy and in fact, were very greasy.  Some were torn on top side (bottom side in the picture).

Onto some rolls, we had the Samurai Roll which was essentially a California Roll topped with unagi, black & red tobiko and unagi sauce.  Think of it as a variation of dragon roll.  Again, this was neatly presented and constructed.  The roll was tight, but overall, it wasn't dense. Loved that it wasn't oversauced, so the flavours weren't too sweet.  Since torched sushi is now a standard item these days, we decided to try their Salmon Oshizushi.  Their version included both Atlantic and sockeye salmon, ikura and a light mayo sauce.  Of course this wasn't as good as Miku's, but it was pretty respectable.  The sushi rice was on point while the salmon was fresh and noticeable (partly due to the absence of overpowering ingredients).

To add more carbs other than rice, we got the Nabeyaki Udon loaded with a bevy of ingredients including clams, mushrooms, spinach, carrots, fish cake, egg and ebi tempura.  We found the noodles to be appealingly chewy while the dashi broth to be fairly bland with only a touch of sweetness.  The Chawan Mushi didn't actually arrive last, we just decided to get a few orders at the end.  This was pretty on point with silky egg custard where there was very little water floating around.  Hidden inside, the large prawn was meaty and had a sweet crunch.  Flavours were subtle but there including the background taste of sake.  This a pleasant end to a surprisingly solid meal that wasn't as expensive as we envisioned.  Funny how we forget about places like this.  Maybe I should find some other good oldies too.

The Good:
- On point service
- Solid eats
- Carefully prepared food

The Bad:
- Prices are a touch higher, but it is Downtown and good quality
- Gyozas were terrible
- Dish expediting was strange (same items came out at different times)

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