Sherman's Food Adventures: November 2018

Raijin Ramen (Burnaby)

At one point, the ramen game in and around Metrotown was pretty weak.  All we had was Kawawa and that's all that needed to be said about that.  In came Kamamarui and things improved considerably by that one addition.  Open the floodgates as now we have Jinya, Yaguchiya, Tokyo Tonkotsu and Raijin.  With Viv overworking herself again, I decided to take the kids to check out Raijin.  Located just around the corner from Kamamarui, Raijin is part of the Zakkushi Group and offers up both chicken and pork broths.

For myself, I decided to try their Hokkaido Miso Ramen sporting light miso chicken broth, veggies, corn, chashu and a pat of butter on top.  The broth was indeed light tasting, but still creamy from the melted butter.  It was fairly aromatic, but not overly impactful.  Noodles were on point being chewy and although the chashu was on the leaner side, it was tender and moist.  My son went for the Tokyo Shoyu Ramen with a lean chicken broth.  This was definitely less robust than my miso butter broth, yet still had a meaty essence.  Salt content was moderate while the chashu was fattier, hence more silky in texture.  Unfortunately, the egg we added to the order was a fail being almost completely cooked.

My daughter decided on the Shio Tonkotsu Ramen with a pork soup base featuring bonito, seaweed, shiitake and shrimp.  I can't say that the ingredients were super evident after trying the broth, but it was indeed full of umami.  The black garlic oil on top merely amped up the already rich umaminess.  Once again, the noodles were chewy and remained so throughout while the crunch of wood ear mushrooms was welcomed.  On the side, she had the Gyoza (she didn't finish it, she was just greedy...).  As evidenced in the picture, the sear on the bottom was fairly weak and uneven (some were seared more).  As such, the crispiness was just lacking.  However, the tender and thin dumpling skin was good.  Inside, the filling was balanced and juicy.

For my son, he wanted a side of Chicken Karaage, so I obliged.  Somehow I think I spoil my kids...  There was no Viv to say no this time!  LOL...  Well, it was a good call as the chicken was juicy and nicely seasoned.  The thin coating on the outside was lightly crispy and not greasy.  We liked how the pieces were just the right size where it retained a tender texture while not being too big to pick up with chopsticks.  Overall, we thought the ramen and sides at Raijin were above-average but at the same time, didn't stand out.  But for Burnaby, I guess they will have a steady stream of customers.

The Good:
- On point noodles and chashu
- Okay pricing
- Friendly service

The Bad:
- Broth is okay, but doesn't stand out

The General Public

Normally, one would find Japanese restaurants to be categorized into 2 groups - Japanese-run and non-Japanese-run.  No matter what group they belong to, most Japanese restaurants are not very flashy, nor have much in the way of personality beyond the sushi chef.  However, there are a few spots that buck the trend like Zipang Provisions and The Eatery.  These places offer up good Japanese eats (at reasonable prices) while all served in a "hipster-like" environment.  The General Public (related to The Eatery) out on Main and 17th takes it one step further with their eclectic decor and live DJ pumping out house beats (on Fri/Sat).  It really wasn't the place to bring Viv's parents, but we did so anyways (I think they complained it was too loud... LOL).

We started out with an order of the Assorted Sashimi consisting of Atlantic salmon, albacore tuna, tako, tai, ebi, hotate and hokkigai.  This was pretty good with the proper textures and a nice sheen.  Wasn't the most amazing sashimi, but it was par for the course when it comes to the price point.  Not sure about the deep plate though as it made it hard for others sitting farther away to see what was actually in it.  We also got a side of salmon sashimi as we knew the kids would devour it all on their own.  My son also added his usual Nigiri including tamago, unagi, tuna and chopped scallop.  This was also good with chewy sushi rice topped with enough ingredients for balance.

For our only sushi roll, we chose the featured Volcano Roll made with tuna, scallops, salmon and avocado on a lava bed of spicy imitation crab meat.   This was lightly battered and fried so the exterior was crunchy while the roll was served warm.  Lost a bit in the shuffle, the ingredients were plentiful, but the spice and zestiness was definitely at the forefront.  Loved the massive amount of imitation crab meat on top as it added more substance to the dish.  Just to get a sense of the menu, I also ordered the Salt & Pepper Wings.  Dusted with plenty of black pepper and salt, there was no problem with seasoning.  The skin was well-rendered and crunchy.  However, the wings themselves were really dry.  

Of course we had to see how their version of aburi sushi compares to Miku (because they are still the best IMO).  We got one each of the Aburi Salmon and Aburi Scallop.  These were neatly constructed and held together when picked up, yet at the same time, were not dense.  I thought the salmon was sauced enough for impact while the spicy salmon in the middle added another layer of spice to the Jalapeno.  Not particularly seared properly, the scallop was pretty bland, but it was buttery in terms of texture.  We enjoyed the Tuna Tataki as the tuna itself was buttery and soft while only lightly seared on the outside.  It was nicely accented by the vinegary dressing on the side.

For our carb of the meal, we decided on the Beef & Vegetable Curry on rice.  Unlike most other Japanese curries, this one was not overly sweet.  In fact, we got plenty of curry flavour in addition to mild spice.  There was plenty of beef to be found, but the slices were on the chewier side.  We could've also used more sauce since there was a good amount of chewy rice underneath.  Last dish was the Nobashi Prawns which were fried in a fairly thin batter.  Hence, it was crispy, but also light.  The prawn itself was cold-water crunchy where it was lightly sweet.  It was served with sweet chili sauce.  So since The General Public is related to The Eatery, it is with no surprise that the experience was somewhat similar.  Food was definitely more than acceptable at a reasonable price.  However, the main draw here is a hip, eclectic atmosphere coupled with late hours.

The Good:
- Eclectic vibe
- Decent eats
- Open late

The Bad:
- Some of the cooked items could be further refined

White Lotus

Sometimes, we often overlook things that are right in front of us.  Kinda explains all the car accidents in Richmond...  LOL...  I digress.  Anyways, for me personally, I tend to travel for food and it seems that anything close to where I live doesn't exist.  They really do exist and some are quite good.  Back in the Summer, I tried one of the newer spots in the White Lotus situated in the old Kah Mun Bakery location.  With only 4 tables, we had to wait a bit, but it was well worth it as the Vietnamese food was on point and well-priced.  I didn't bring my camera that time, so I returned once again ready to take some photos.

For myself, I had the Bun Bo Hue just like last time and I chose spicy again as well.   There was no choice of size, but I assure you, it equated to a large.  Beyond the ample layer of meat on top, there was plenty of slippery lai fun noodles nestled in a spicy broth.  Despite the spice level, it didn't interfere with the rest of the ingredients and actual broth.  I could enjoy each component without having my taste buds destroyed.  I liked how they added ample sliced pig's feet, but was wanting some pork blood as well.  My daughter went for the same thing she had last time as well with the Pho Dac Biet.  Steaming hot, the broth was sweet and fragrant.  The flavours were clean and not overly salty.  Much like my bowl, there was plenty of tender sliced meats.  However, the noodles were clumpy and we couldn't even do a noodle pull because they broke apart.

Keeping with consistency, my son also went for the same with the Lemongrass Chicken on Rice (added a fried egg for $1.00).  Another solid dish where the chicken was broiled bone-in.  Not particularly convenient to eat, but the meat was tender and succulent.  There was enough marinade that the meat was flavourful.  Viv wasn't with us the last time, so we finally had something different in the Pork Patty Vermicelli Bowl.  This was large in portion size with fluffy vermicelli noodles that weren't too soft nor too chewy.  On top, the aggressively seared pork patty was crispy, sweet and smoky. 

For good measure, we added a Cold Cut Banh Mi which was a good call, as my son was hungry after dusting off his rice dish (ravenous teenager!).  Although the baguette was a touch dense, it was still fairly crunchy.  Inside, there was no shortage of meats and the pate was impactful.  As you can clearly see from the pictures, things looked quite standard.  In some sense, yes, but in general, the food tasted great.  Coupled with fair prices and friendly people, White Lotus not only serves the locals, you might want to check it out if you are in the neighbourhood too.

The Good:
- Fair pricing
- Solid eats
- Nice people

The Bad:
- Well, there are 4 tables only
- Noodles were clumpy this time, but were okay the first time

Sanbo

To be honest, if I didn't stumble on the IG stories of Jo and Elaine (@whatjoate & @elaineats_), I would have never known about nor eaten at Sanbo.  Despite being a local favourite, it really isn't that well-known throughout the GVRD.  So what sets this Cantonese/Hong Kong-style cafe hybrid apart from all of the rest, especially in Richmond?  Beyond the reasonable pricing and large portions, they are best known for their Soy Sauce Chicken.  Yes really and also their Crab with Special Sauce as well as the Curry Beef Brisket and Tendon.  We made the trek out to Richmond to see if their "reservation only" chicken was really that big of a deal.

To start, we had the Curry Beef Brisket and Beef Tendon.  This was an enormous portion of gelatinous and soft tendon mixed in with meaty chunks of brisket.  Not to be outdone, the uniquely big cuts of potato were soft and flavourful while retaining its integrity and texture.  The dish reminded me somewhat of the one found at Mui Garden due to the creamy coconut milk.  It was aromatic, yet still slightly spicy with plenty of curry, unlike the one at Mui Garden.  Not a complex dish, but tasty and well-executed.  Getting our intake of greens, we ordered the Gai Lan with Beef.  This was also well-portioned with many slices of tender and well-seared beef.  Underneath, the uncut stalks were crunchy and vibrant.  Plenty of wok heat ensured that there was caramelization and minimal moisture.

Arriving on a large plate, the plump Soy Sauce Chicken sure looked impressive.  Actually, it ate even more impressively.  Predictably, the dark meat was juicy and buttery tender, but the white meat was equally succulent.  It resembled sous-vide meat, but it wasn't.  I've rarely had chicken breast so moist and tender.  Not to be ignored, the chicken skin was nicely flavoured by the sweet soy and somewhat gelatinized.  I enjoyed how the chicken itself was still naturally flavourful without being soaked with soy.  Another one of their more popular dishes is the Candied Walnut Honey Peach Pork Chops.  Typically, I can't stand mayo in Chinese food, but this was quite good.  There was just enough of it and the amount of sugar was just right.  The pieces of pork chop were tenderized without losing their natural meatiness.

Going for the trifecta, we also got a 3 lb Dungeness Crab with Special Sauce.  In actuality, there really wasn't a sauce per se, but rather ingredients that flavoured the perfectly fried crab with spicy, sweet and umami notes.  The combination of peppers, onions, garlic, green onion, black bean, dried shrimp, black pepper and soy made for a flavour explosion.  Sure, it overwhelmed the delicate crab, but that was the intention.  Essentially, the crab was merely a fluffy textural vessel for the seasoning.  This could be had with rice cake and I highly recommend you add that.  For the kiddies, they wanted the Scrambled Eggs and Shrimp to go with white rice.  This was yet another large dish with fluffy albeit a bit overdone eggs that were a bit pale (but no food colouring I suppose).  Mixed in was a generous amount of cold-water crunchy shrimp (more like prawns) that were well-seasoned.

Since we got shrimp already, we went for the Satay Seafood Vermicelli Hot Pot rather than the one with prawns.  This featured perfectly textured vermicelli that was not oversoaked with sauce.  Hence, the vermicelli was chewy, yet not too dry.  There was plenty of satay seasoning that created a light spiciness.  In terms of the seafood, we found basa, shrimp, scallops and squid as well as peppers, onions and pineapple.  After seeing the food I ate at Sanbo, Mijune wanted to try for herself.  I joined her for dinner and ended up ordering the very similar Satay Prawn Vermicelli Hot Pot.  I thought this was even better than the seafood hot pot.  With less clutter and only featuring large prawns, there was actually more chewy and nicely wok-fried vermicelli.  Butterflied, the prawns were meaty and perfectly cooked with a firm snap.  Flavours were impactful and super delicious.

As simple as Wok-Fried Pea Shoots with Garlic can be as a dish, it is not always prepared properly.  It can range from old pea shoots to overcooking or use of too much oil.  Gladly, this was none of that as each leaf was tender yet still retained an appealing crunch.  There was enough garlic and seasoning to flavour while not overdoing it.  Portion size was generous (as these cook down substantially) and the oil content was low.  Rounding out their most popular dishes, we tried their Sweet & Sour Pork.  Although it isn't the best I've ever had (I think Hoi Tong has that honour), this was very solid.  We appreciated that they freshly fried the pork so each piece was juicy and tender.  With a fairly light layer of batter, the pork was meaty (and not fatty either).  The sauce was well-balanced if not a touch watery.

One dish we could've done without was the Fried Cod wok-fried with salt, pepper and chilis. It wasn't as if the dish wasn't properly prepared.  The fish was flaky and the batter was light and crispy.  There was enough seasoning on the outside for spice and saltiness.  I guess it just didn't live up to the rest of the other things we had.  Consider that a huge compliment to the chef.  Other than this and the scrambled eggs, every other dish was prepared properly and tasted great.  Their signature items lived up to the hype and I would gladly go back for them (crab, chicken, curry and prawn hot pot).  Add in the fact the pricing is reasonable and generous portion sizes, there is no surprise at the constant lineups.

The Good:
- Solid Cantonese eats
- Reasonably-priced
- Generous portion sizes

The Bad:
- Hurried atmosphere
- Hit and miss service
- Parking lot is insufficient

Win Win Chick-N

Vancouver's take out fried chicken game is mostly dominated by Church's in terms of locations and quantity served.  Of course LA Chicken is often seen as the very best of the bunch, but unless you live near it, the fried chicken will probably be cold before you get home.  Let's not even get into KFC unless you enjoy dry chicken with barely crispy skin (the batter does taste good though).  A few posts back, HiFive Chicken is a respectable newer chain, but it doesn't unseat LA Chicken and Church's.  Of course we also have Down Low and Juke, but I tend to put them into another category due to their pricing and especially with Juke which is more of a true sit-down restaurant.  I finally made it out to another newer joint in Steveston called Win Win Chick-N.

It has a certain flair to it with Filipino macaroni and ube cake as options on the menu.  However, we had to get the Fried Chicken since that was the whole point to our visit.   The drumsticks were on point with crispy well-rendered and well-seasoned skin.  I found the meat to be succulent and juicy.  As for the thighs, they were pretty greasy where the skin was actually a bit soggy in parts.  Most of the meat was equally succulent as the drumstick, but it was less flavourful.   On the side, the Fries were really good.  They were fried golden brown and were generally crispy.  Inside, the soft potato was tender and moist.  These were best dunked into the side of gravy.

Although a bit thin, the Gravy was nicely seasoned and full of umaminess.   It wasn't as peppery as LA Chicken, but was definitely better than the one you would find at Church's and HiFive.  This went well with the fries, but even better with the chicken in my opinion as it made up for some of the blandness of the chicken thighs.  We also tried the Filipino Macaroni and it was pretty tasty.  Loved that the pasta was not too soft while the whole thing was flavourful without being soggy and wet.  Love the sweetness and tang of the sauce combined with the saltiness of the hot dog wieners.  Overall, Win Win is a worthy addition to the fried chicken scene in the GVRD.  However, its location is even less convenient that LA Chicken other than those living in Richmond.

The Good:
- Juicy with crispy well-rendered skin
- Fries are solid
- So is the gravy and mac

The Bad:
- The thighs were greasy and somewhat soggy
- Purely takeout, only one table, but is only convenient for those in the neighbourhood

Minami Holiday Aburi Shokai

Let's get this disclaimer out-of-the-way first - I was recently invited to try the newly released Holiday Aburi Shokai tasting menu at Minami.  They didn't have to do much convincing since Minami and Miku are 2 of my favourite restaurants in town.  Yah, I'm completely biased, but trust me, I am not the only one.  Their take on aburi sushi and other unique creations are often some of the best eats Vancity has to offer.  Coming in at $100.00, adding an extra $35.00 for either wine or sake pairings, the Holiday Aburi Shokai menu features 4 courses representing what the restaurant is all about.

In what can be described as one of the prettiest presentations in town, the Sashimi and Minami Trio was almost too striking to eat.  Yes, I took some photos, but alas, I devoured it!  From left to right, we had the Aburi Beef Carpaccio with creme fraiche, caper crisps, organic baby greens, wasabi chimichurri and ponzu.  This little bite went down so easily as the beef melted in our mouths.  Loved the combo of salty, tang and slight spice.  Next, the Tri-Beet Salad featured firmly crunchy beets that were sweet and acidic.  Once again, there was some background spice which was cooled by the little nuggets of goats cheese.  With 2 wonton crisps, the Albacore Tuna & Kaiso Seaweed Tartare was another delicious bite.  Buttery soft and sweet, the tuna was contrasted by the crunchy seaweed (as well as the red onion, celery and cucumber).  Topped with creme fraiche and avocado, this added cooing creaminess to the spicy ponzu vinaigrette.  Last but certainly not least, the kanpachi, red tuna and ebi were buttery and sweet.  In particular, the kanpachi featured a fresh bite and taste of the sea.  Of course we weren't going to waste the Shrimp Heads as we asked for them to be fried.

If there is a plate that defines Minami (and Miku), the Sushi course did just that.  From left-to-right, there was Aburi Hamachi Nigiri with olive tapenade & edible flower, Aburi Japanese Wagyu Nigiri with smoked shoyu & wasabi pickles, Aburi O-Toro Nigiri with tobiko, daikon oroshi & chives, Red Wave Roll (spicy prawn, avocado & masatake sauce), Ebi Oshi Sushi with lime zest and ume sauce and the classic Salmon Oshi Sushi with wild sockeye salmon, jalapeno and Miku sauce.  It was so good that I have to go through every piece.  The hamachi was buttery and sweet where it probably didn't need the salty olive tapenade.  Cooked enough to activate the fats, the the Wagyu beef was super tender and luxurious.  Loved the tangy spice from the pickles.  We thought the O-Toro was was a real treat as it was super soft and fatty.  The fresh "by-the-sea" sweetness really came through.  Aromatic from the sesame oil and the crunch from the sweet onions, this helped elevate the red wave roll.  Creamy and with the tang from the lime zest, the ebi oshi was delicately flavoured so that its natural brininess came through.  Often copied, but never exactly duplicated, the salmon oshi was smoky, creamy and texturally pleasing.  This dish never gets old.  It's like that Jif commercial where I go, "What!" every time I eat this.  This course was paired with, Aburi x Yoshi no Gawa Aburi Ginjo, an exclusive sake produced just for Minami and Miku.  A great combination where the lightness and floral notes really went well with the delicate seafood.

Onto our 3rd course, we had the Surf & Turf featuring Saikyo Miso Sakekasu Sablefish Roulade and Welsh Onion Ash Crusted Beef Tenderloin.  Pretty to look at and perfectly-prepared, the sablefish was buttery and soft.  Since it was encased in nori, that was the predominant flavour.  It was accompanied by spinach sesame puree, miso reduction, wasabi negi relish, farro sansai salad, smoked umami soy vinaigrette and Asian microgreens.  All of these Asian flavours went well with the delicate fish without being overwhelming.  The sous-vide AAA Sterling Sliver beef tenderloin wasn't as tender as I would've expected.  Rather it was robust and meaty in a top sirloin type-of-way.  The natural meat flavours came through as well as a touch of the ash.  This was paired with roasted veggies, Yukon Gold puree and truffle duxelle sauce (which was subtle, buttery and woodsy).  Extremely dry and but smooth, the Gold Omachi Junmai Daiginjo didn't take away from the ingredients on the plate.

Beautifully plated, the Almond Chocolate Cake was so good, I finished it despite trying to hold back.  The cake itself was moist and light while still maintaining a certain richness.  It wasn't overly sweet where the ginger syrup really came through creating a truly festive flavour.   On top, the vanilla tonka bean cream was light and aromatic.  I'm not a huge fan of eggnog, but the ice cream was creamy and a good compliment.  Rounding things out, there was a honey orange curd which added a small amount of tang.  I guess the cranberry orange shortbread could've been another tangy ingredient on the plate, but in all honesty, I ate that first and it was a nice little treat.  Our final sake pairing was the Hakkaisan Kijoshu which was lightly sweet acting as a stand in for dessert wine.  Well, what can I say?  Any meal at Minami or Miku is a real treat to begin with (especially with aburi sushi).  Add in a complete 4-course tasting menu (which is really more that 4 courses given the way they plated it) and sake pairings, we have a meal that we can really celebrate about.

*All food and beverages excluding gratuities were complimentary*

The Good:
- Carefully prepared food
- Aburi!
- Lively upscale atmosphere

The Bad:
- Tenderloin could've been more tender

HiFive24 Fried Chicken

Over a year ago, I had visited the original HiFive 24 Fried Chicken out on Marine Drive after Saturday night hockey with Gordo and JuJu.  We were pretty impressed with what we got and that prompted me to bring Mijune in on the action.  She seemed to enjoy it too, but of course, she remarked there are better options.  Totally summed it up, good fried chicken, especially for 24 hours, but still not the king of take-out fried chicken.  That still belongs to LA Chicken in Richmond.  I never wrote a post on that, mostly due to laziness, so when their 2nd location opened up on the Burnaby-New West border, I decided to get off my ass and do one.

Let's get to the "meat" of this post with the Fried Chicken in half regular and half spicy.  At first glance, the chicken somewhat resembles Church's, but in reality, it is completely different.  I find the batter to be crunchier, yet at the same time, doughy in parts.  There is less flavour where the meat doesn't seem to be brined (or brined as long) as Church's.  Despite that, it is still juicy and the the skin is well-rendered.  The spicy does have a kick, but isn't as flavourful as Church's either.  What sets HiFive apart is that they also offer Baked Chicken in both regular and spicy.  If you were thinking Costco rotisserie-style, then this isn't it.  Rather, the meat is drier and less flavourful.  However, it isn't exactly super dry either.  Again, the spicy wasn't that hot, but was definitely there.

Of course, we had a few sides too including the Fried Mac & Cheese.  Inside, it resembled Kraft Dinner, but that wasn't a bad thing.  Very familiar and still tasty.  Outside, it was crispy with a touch of grease.  Great for the kiddies, but personally, I'd be sick of them after one.  Compared to the rest of the competition, other than say 7-11 and Safeway, HiFive offers up Potato Wedges rather than fries.  These were really good with lots of soft potato surrounded by spiced crispy batter.  I think this is a smart move on HiFive's part to differentiate themselves from other fried chicken spots in town.  That combined with the baked chicken, there are certainly more options available.  However, my personal preference would be LA Chicken, then Churches before I consider anything else (when it comes to takeout fried chicken).

The Good:
- Juicy meat
- Crunchy well-rendered batter
- Option of baked chicken

The Bad:
- Needs a bit more flavour in my opinion
- Some parts of the batter can be dense and doughy
- Not pictured here, but I tried the chicken strips, they are not very good 

Fremont Bowl

When visiting a city, most people prefer to eat somewhere close to their hotel and/or place of stay.  Let's face it, the bulk of the population do not have the same level of care when it comes to restaurants.  Now we can take this one notch higher where some will do a quick google search and possibly luck out on something good.  Then we have the dedicated ones who scour social media where they follow in other's footsteps (even better is going with a local who is a true food aficionado).  That is what happened when we were visiting Seattle's Woodland Zoo.  Luck would have it that @teelythefoodie's picture of a Chirashi Don from Fremont Bowl would pop up on my IG feed (that day too!).  Hey the place was really close to the zoo!  Hence we made our way there for dinner.

Let's get right to it, their most popular and photogenic bowl by far is the Chirashi Don for $14.95.  My son more than happily ordered that for himself as he is on a chirashi don fix these days.  Considering the price and the amount/variety/quality of ingredients on top, this was a fantastic value.  The bowl sported 3 pieces each of red tuna and hamachi, 5 pieces of Atlantic salmon, 2 pieces each of tuna tataki and unagi as well as ebi, masago and negitoro.  I tried the hamachi and it was buttery and sweet.  For my daughter, she went simple with the Sake Don featuring 8 large slices of Atlantic Salmon.  They were fresh, buttery and sweet.  Underneath, the rice was chewy with just the right amount of moisture.

I went for the Unagi Don which was one of the more expensive bowls at $16.50, but look at it.  LOOK AT IT!  The 5 enormous pieces of unagi that covered all of the rice and in fact, was more than needed for that amount.  I wasn't complaining though as they were buttery and sauced enough to flavor the rice.  Since there was so much of it, each bite was extra fatty with sweet caramelization.  Normally, with an unagi don, I try to conserve so I have enough until the end.  With this one, I just ate recklessly.  For the same price, the Short Ribs Yakiniku Don was equally stunning in portion size.  There was 10+ slices of tender short rib which also meant reckless eating!  No need to leave some meat for the rest of the rice.  Portion was one thing but the well-charred and seasoned ribs were smoky and sweet.

Viv ended up with the Crispy Chicken Katsu Don served with a side of tonkatsu sauce.  OMG, the portion sizes were just shocking as there was 2 large fried deboned chicken legs for this one bowl.  Once again, portion size wasn't the only thing good about this bowl, rather, it was also prepared on point.  As you can clearly see, the cutlet was thick and only lightly breaded.  Inside, it was tender and bursting with juices.  Loved having the tonkatsu sauce on the side as it allowed customization as well as keep things crispy.  Elaine did something similar with the Crispy Tonkatsu Don also served with sauce on the side as well as shishito peppers.  Just like the previous bowl, there was another large cutlet underneath the one you see in the picture.  It was crispy while tender and moist on the inside.  This was quite impressive due to the leanness of the pork loin.

Costanza went for the Salmon Poke Bowl with the addition of unagi (+2).  It sported big chunks of Atlantic salmon, imitation crab, masago, cucumber and wakame with yuzu sauce.  Again, with so many ingredients atop the rice, it wasn't devoid of flavor as there was a nice balance of sweet, tangy, salty and the aromatic from sesame oil.  I also added a side of Chicken Karaage that was served with a masago mayo dip. These could've been crispier, but the thin layer of flour on the outside ensured that this was mostly meat.  About that meat, it was juicy, mildly seasoned and super tender.  Alright, I know I've repeated many things in this post, but things were indeed large and things were indeed well-prepared.  Couple that with reasonable pricing and I can see why there is always a lineup here.

The Good:
- Reasonable pricing
- Huge portions (mostly the protein)
- Well-prepared

The Bad:
- Eating in is a hurried experience
- Lineup at most times