Sherman's Food Adventures: Black Rice Izakaya

Black Rice Izakaya

Ever since my initial visit to Black Rice Izakaya, I was open for a return for not only late night eats, but any other time really.  Well, that happened on many occasions and I never actually blogged about it.  I did post some pics up on IG, but nope, no new write-up.  Since I was going to be Mijune's eating buddy for a recent invite to Black Rice, it seemed to be the right time that I got down to work and do an update.  Good thing too as Black Rice has always been a reliable place that sported fair portions for an equally fair price.

Sometimes, the most simplest dishes are the tastiest and also the ones that are the most telling.  Case in point, the Goma Tuna was on point with chunks of buttery tuna that exhibited a fresh taste of the sea.  They were tossed in a sesame paste that was impactfully aromatic and only lightly sweet.  This way, the tuna did all the heavy lifting while the sesame was a mild compliment.  One of the items I've tried recently and had to eat again was the Tebasaki featuring 3 whole wings in a house sauce glaze.  If there was something called perfect execution, this would be it.  While the chicken meat itself was tender and juicy, the skin was completely rendered and crisp.  Caramelized on the outside, the sticky glaze provided a smoky sweet hit where the lime added the necessary acidity.

Majestically plated, the Chef's Sashimi Moriwase featuring O-Toro wrapped in Botan Ebi, Akami, Hamachi Kama Toro,  Kanpachi, Ma Dai, Sayori, Shimaji, Hokkaido Uni and O-Toro.  Presentation was quite impressive, but we felt it really didn't have to be on ice as it cooled down the fish too much.  However, that is nit-picking as the fish quality was high.  Our favourite was the buttery o-toro with botan ebi that also had a slight rebound texture to go with its natural sweetness.  Featuring some of the same fish, the Chef's Nigiri Moriwase was stunning to the eye.  We had a variety including Isaki, Hirame, Sayori, Kinme Dai, Shimaji, Hamachi, Akami, O-Toro, Boton Ebi, Saba and Unagi.  There was a good fish-to-rice ratio which made each bite balanced.  Again, the freshness was on display visually as well as taste and texture. 

Onto some Aburi Hakozushi, we had a mix of Salmon, Scallop, Negitoro and Saba.  Topped with spicy mayo and a thin slice of jalapeno, there was a generous amount of salmon on top and in the middle of the pressed sushi.  There was quite a bit of spice with this one.  The scallop could've had less mentaiko mayo, but overall, the scallops were buttery and sweet with the brininess from the mayo.  Loved the negitoro where the soft tuna belly was mixed with just enough green onion.  With a thin layer of miso sauce, the saba was predictably flavourful by itself, but the salty fermented miso added plenty of umami.  In addition to the selection of nigiri we already had, we tried the Torched Black Angus Beef Nigiri as well.  Lightly flamed, the buttery soft beef was still somewhat rare in the middle.  We thought the beef to rice ratio was good as there was more than enough meat to create an impact.

Off to even more beef, but the most luxurious of all, we had the Japanese A5 Wagyu on a hot stone grill.  There aren't enough superlatives to describe the richness of the beef.  Completely marbled where a kiss on the burning hot stone grill helped activate the fats, the result was beef that practically melted in our mouths exhibiting a flavour that was sinfully nutty and fatty.  It was accompanied by 4 sauces, of which, the sesame was our favourite.   Literally flaming underneath with a rum and herb fire, the Unagi Roll featured prawn tempura, cucumber, tamago and a generous amount of eel on top.   This was constructed with black rice which was chewy and appealingly firm.  With such a generous amount of caramelized and buttery soft unagi on top, the roll didn't eat plain.

At this point, I was pretty full, but with any meal with Mijune means over-ordering.  So next up, we were presented with the Kara-Miso Mussels featuring local Fanny Bay mussels in a spicy miso broth.  As you can clearly see, the mussels were large and plump.  They were prepared perfectly as they were fully-cooked yet still buttery and tender.  The brininess was complimented by the depth of the miso and noticeable spice.  We ended off the meal with the Miso Sablefish which was again, perfectly executed.  It was buttery soft and flaky with only the mildest amount of saltiness.  It could've been seasoned a bit more aggressively, but then again, too much would've overwhelmed the delicate fish.  So once again, we had a solid meal at Black Rice.  Considering their price point and generous portion sizes, Black Rice remains a good option to get your Izakaya fix in Downtown.

The Good:
- Quality eats
- Reasonable-pricing
- Fair portions

The Bad:
- For the authenticity police, there is a Korean-spin on things, but I personally don't mind

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