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You’re likely an octopus ball virgin, right? I was—until we stumbled upon this Izakaya-style restaurant featuring Japanese pub cuisine. The crazy pell mell cave walls with stamped Japanese messages and banners made for a fitting backdrop to some of their equally far out dishes.
With a little help from my friend Google, I quickly honed in on dishes 3, 5, 16, 17 & 19. Four were great and the fifth would have been, too, had it not been overcooked. Izakaya—Japanese pub style cooking—is something I’ve been meaning to try. Crowded and noisy seemed like a good bet as we all tend to vote with our feet.
# 3 Creamy Octopus Balls were delicious if you can get past the name and the fact that they’re fried and creamy. Takoyaki are soft and complex with several flavours and textures coming at you in a single mouthful. Eat them whole to get the full effect. According to Sarah Musgrave these fine specimens are the best she’s had in town and a total taste immersion. Are you ready to surrender?
#5 Green Beans with Sesame Sauce was surprisingly black but then I figured it out. The sesame sauce is made with black seeds. The beans were firm and the sauce, unique and addictive.
#16 Yakitori, skewered chicken with sweet tare sauce, is a signature dish, perfectly seasoned. The tare sauce was terrific, but overcooked chicken spoiled the effect.
#17 Marinated Grilled Squid is so flat that it looks like a giant splat artfully cut into slivers, then squeeze bottle painted with Japanese mayo. The side salad garnish had oddly coloured pale pink creamy dressing that you begin by picking at and progress to craving. Here is Sarah Musgrave‘s description: “Splayed flat and pod-shaped, like a child’s cartoonish drawing of a fish, the squid was stunning to look at. A house specialty, it’s marinated for an hour, dried for 24 hours, grilled whole, sliced into strips, and striped with homemade mayo and sprinkled with Japanese shichimi, a mixture of seven ingredients that includes sesame seeds, ground ginger and roasted orange peel. The effect is rather delicate, but it has a kind of power.”
#19 Pan Fried Japanese Dumplings were perfect. Stuffed with meat and vegetables, perfect jackets and dipping sauce, they tasted wonderful. I’d return to snack on them anytime.
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