Return to Irashai
Posted by Degan on June 25th, 2009
Note: this post was imported from EthnicEats.ca
Last week found me back at the Irashai Grill where I was invited to sample some of the dishes I missed at the open house. While introductions were being made, I sipped on a lychee whisky sour. Whisky is making its way into more and more cocktails after a long hiatus and while not all of them are good, this is one I would go back for. It straddled the balance between two of my favorite flavours without being neither too sweet or too strong.
Keeping in the style of simplicity = awesomeness, next came some mouth-watering hotate (scallop) sashimi on a bed of kiwi and greens. The sweet tang of the kiwi and citrus dressing on the seafood was exquisite. There there was red tuna tataki with mayo and dark miso sauce, lobster tail tempura with lime and smoked sea salt that was so good I had trouble leaving the rest of the salt on my plate after the lobster tail was gone. I’m not a big fan of tempura usually. There’s something about the grease and the texture that doesn’t do it for me, but apparently a squeeze of lime and some sea salt changes everything.
Sable Fish with Yuan (sake) Sauce was another favorite, followed by a spread of imaginative and artful sushi (from left to right in the photo below):
- White Slope Roll: crab and avocado topped with chopped scallop and spicy sauce.
- Black Eel Roll: mango, avocado and cucumber topped with avocado and eel tempura.
- Alaskan Crab Leg Roll: Alaskan king crab, mango, and masago fried slightly to give it a bit of a crust. Served with lemon mayo.
- Summer Roll: prawn tempura, masago, and cucumber topped with spicy tuna and avocado. Drizzled with spicy mayo and sweet soya sauce.
- Umeboshi maki (not shown) at the request of Raul.
Taking a look at their online menu, you can see that there’s a lot going on here. Raw bar, grill, dessert, sushi, etc. They’ve even got an omakase menu. Sushi ranges from the traditional to the eyebrow raising – like the Poison Spider Volcano made hot with melted cheese – all aesthetically prepared.
On my first visit, it seemed as though this spot suffered from a lack of foot traffic, but it was easy enough to find with the crowd of people out front. Returning on a Monday night, the ‘blink and you’ll miss it aspect’ was even more obvious. There are a lot of residential buildings in the area but a busy street and an instantly forgettable storefront do nothing to lure people in. And what a shame that is, because with a chef trained in French and Italian cooking (as well as Japanese) and a menu straddling the balance between innovative and traditional dishes, it’s well worth a visit. The grilled lunch combinations - from grilled sablefish to deep-fried tonkatsu - promise to be an excellent deal and if I’m ever in the area for lunch I’ll be sure to stop in and try it.
1368 West Pender Street, Vancouver