Sherman's Food Adventures: Mr. Bro

Mr. Bro

We are all pretty familiar with Japanese Izakaya since we have a decent array of spots in the Lower Mainland.  Funny how we treat it as a meal when it is really more about the alcohol with some small plates on the side.  Whatever the case, it is a popular meal here and it is a great social thing with friends.  So that is what I was thinking when the guys wanted to grab a bite.  However, I was looking for something a bit different.  Enter Mr. Bro in Richmond and its Korean-style Izakaya.

We had quite a few dishes including the Rice Cake with Sausage Skewer.  Sure this didn't look like much compared to some of the larger dishes on the menu, but it was oh-so-satisfying.   The mini-wieners themselves were nicely grilled and juicy, yet the best part was the rice cakes.  Soft, chewy and not overly dense, these pillowy tubes were lightly sweet from the glaze.  Also, they were slightly crispy on the outside which was very appealing as it complimented the overall texture of the rice cake.

Another dish with rice cakes was the full order of Black Bean Sauce with Rice Cake.  This was indeed a large portion of the same pillowy soft rice cakes.  Of course the texture was different due to the cooking method.  They were still lightly chewy, but of course was a bit softer since they were sitting in sauce.  About that sauce, it was rather mild with only a bit of saltiness.  I thought this could've been more aggressively seasoned as the flavours did not affect the rice cakes very much.

My favourite dish of the meal had to be the Spicy Squid Soup served on a portable gas burner.  This kept everything boiling hot which activated all the wonderful flavours.  There was definitely a brininess to the broth and the spice was balanced.  I found that the spiciness announced itself without overwhelming the rest of the subtle flavours in the soup including the nice sweet finish.  Other than the broth, there was a good amount of squid, mussels and shrimp and veggies.

I guess we couldn't get away without ordering the Grilled Spareribs (as we love meat) presented on a hot cast iron plate.  The plate was sizzling as evidenced in the picture. There was a good quantity of tender slices of boneless pork rib.  They appeared to have been manually tenderized and that helped make it almost fluffy and of course easy to chew.  They had a good sear on the outside caramelizing the sweet marinade.

Majestically plated on a long plate, the Deep Fried Whole Squid was very large.  It was battered aggressively and fried until crispy.  This was cut up with scissors table side.  I found the squid to be excellent in texture where it was tender while still appealingly chewy.  Most pieces featured a crunchy breading, but some were a bit greasy and mushy.  However, that didn't really detract from the dish.

Looking pretty deep fried, the Seafood Pancake was actually rather soft and moist inside.  I didn't find it too dense nor pasty (like some versions can be like).  It was filled with a good amount of seafood and complimented only by just enough onions and veggies.  The breaded and fried exterior was mildly crunchy and not greasy, even on the bottom side.  This ate a much better than it appeared.

At first, we didn't think the Grilled Black Cod was actually fish at all.  From first glance, it looked more like pork.  Then when we cut each piece into sections, it also didn't give us black cod vibes.  So when we actually dug into the dish, it was apparent that the meat was fish.  However, it lacked the buttery flakiness that we normally associate with black cod.  It was quite possibly a little overdone, yet at the same time, it wasn't dry nor over-charred.  Whatever the case, it was still good, just not what we were expecting.

We also went for the full order of Napa Wraps with Pork Belly (aka Bossam).  Featuring a bevy of meaty pork belly, this dish was nicely prepared.   As mentioned, the pork belly was lean with only the right amount of fat.  This way, it was gelatinized and not overly fatty.  The meat was tender and had enough seasoning to stand on its own.  There was the usual spicy radish on the side as well as Napa cabbage and pickled daikon.

We ended up with 2 fried pork dishes starting with the Deep Fried Pork with Sweet & Sour Sauce.  Loved that the pork was in large uniform pieces (which meant they cooked evenly) and were lean without much fat.  With that being said, the meat was still tender and moist.  Batter on the outside was crispy and not overly greasy too.  The sauce was filled with veggies and pineapple, but was a bit flat-tasting.  It could've been sweeter and more acidic at the same time.

Sporting the same fried pork strips, the Deep Fried Pork with Marinated Beef Sauce was remarkably different in flavour than the previous dish.  Each piece was coated just enough with a glaze that was full of umaminess.  There was this sweet, meaty savoury thing going on.  For me, I much preferred this flavour over the sweet and sour.  Overall, I found the food at Mr. Bro to be decent with a some highlights.  This was the perfect place for the guys to hang out, have some drinks and eat some food.

The Good:
- Something familiar but also different
- Excellent service
- Decent eats

The Bad:
- Can get pricey depending what you order
- Parking can be a challenge


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