Sherman's Food Adventures: Gozen Sushi Bar Izakaya

Gozen Sushi Bar Izakaya

Dining on multiple days without having something lighter can make for some heaviness and indifference towards meals.  That was beginning to set in with everyone including myself, despite the reprieve aka as Dim Sum a few days earlier.  However, we can't really include Dim Sum in the description of lighter eats.  So without the benefit of good wonton noodles and congee in Victoria, we chose between Pho and Japanese.  Well, Japanese won and we decided to try out Gozen (in lieu of Nubo since it was closer to where we were staying).

Attractively appointed, the Korean-run Gozen seemed to look the part.  When we got our first dish, Sockeye Salmon Sashimi, it did a good job confirming it.  Nicely presented, the fresh sashimi had a beautiful sheen.  It ate even better with a firm butteriness that had a good mouth feel.  The best part was the taste as each slice was sweet and bright.  We felt it was one of the better tasting sockeye salmon sashimi we've had of late that wasn't in a higher end Japanese restaurant.  For our specialty roll, we went for the Toy Story Roll (yes, that was the name) consisting of spicy tuna, prawn tempura, avocado and tobiko with smoked salmon and tuna on top.  This was rather substantial and featured nicely textured rice and plenty of ingredients.  The flavour was rather mild since they didn't overdo it with the sauces.

My son went for his usual Nigiri with 2 each of the tamago, unagi, tuna and chopped scallop.  As evidenced, they didn't skimp on the ingredients on top.  As much as there wasn't anything particularly interesting about the set (other than the red vinegar rice), it did the job with little fanfare. We also went for the Aburi Salmon Oshi which was topped with the usual slice of pepper and with this version, a dollop of sriracha.  I felt the rice and the amount of salmon made this quite good.  There wasn't enough sauce on top and more charring was necessary to build flavour and attractiveness.  Also, the pepper was sliced too thick.  The chewy rice and buttery salmon made this a decent version.

The order of Assorted Tempura was good with a just thick enough layer of batter on the outside.  Some pieces were a bit greasy, but not overly so.  It consisted of 3 ebi, 2 yam, broccoli, golden squash, green bean and asparagus.  To round things out, we had the Chicken Yakisoba which was rather saucy, but tasted balanced.  I wished it was more caramelized and dry though.  However, the excess amount of veggies may have contributed to it.  The deep fried chicken on top was still relatively moist with a crispy exterior.  The skin was mostly rendered.  I really don't want to use the phrase, "it is good for Victoria", because it doesn't say a whole lot.  However, Gozen is indeed good for what it is with all things considered.  It did the job for us meeting expectations.

The Good:
- Again, service was good (must be a Victoria thing)
- Decent
- Lots of choice

The Bad:
- A little pricey, but okay for its location
- May offend those looking for super authentic Japanese


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