Originally, we had wanted to go to Sushi Hachi, but it was closed on a Sunday! So instead, we went to mall across to look for food. I’ve walked by Yuu Japanese Tapas many times, but I haven’t tried it before, so I decided to give it a try.
The place doesn’t serve authentic Japanese food, but it does offer a large menu of different Japanese snacks, noodles, and desserts. I heard the owner speaking Chinese, so I was already a bit hesitant on how good the food would be. The place is filled with young diners and families though. I’m guessing it’s because the prices are decent.
Deep Fried Boneless Chicken
First, we got the Deep Fried Boneless Chicken as our appetizer. It’s basically chicken karaage and it came with a spicy mayo. This was alright, but I found the batter a little thick.
Ramen in Special Pork Bone (Tonkatsu) Soup Base
I got the Ramen in Special Pork Bone (Tonkatsu) Soup Base. It came with Cha-Siu, corn, leeks, and an egg with a half-runny yolk. The ramen, however, wasn’t that great. It reminded me of instant ramen. The soup base on the other hand, was rich, but salty. It says on their website, that the chef makes this daily.
Unagi Fried Udon
J got the Unagi Fried Udon. He said it was just alright. It looked nice when it was presented, but I guess it wasn’t anything spectacular.
Green Tea, Red Bean Parfait
Yuu has tons of desserts that look really good on their menu. We got the Green Tea, Red Bean Parfait, but I was quite disappointed with it! The green tea ice cream on the top was decent, and I loved the mochi that came with it. What disappointed me was that the rest of the cup was just filled with whip cream! And it wasn’t even good whip cream. I was expecting layers of different snacks since it’s a parfait… Chico on Robson definitely makes better parfaits!
Overall, I left quite disappointed with the food at Yuu. I can’t say the food is bad, but I was expecting better. The service was alright, as our server was quite friendly. However, I don’t think I would be coming back. I can get better food for similar prices elsewhere.
For our school club’s team dinner, I chose to have it at Suika. It’s located conveniently on Broadway and offers a selection of Japanese tapas, similar to the ones you can find at Guu.
We ordered a bunch of dishes to share, but it was difficult to share with such a large group. I suggest going here with smaller groups since each dish cannot be shared with probably not more than 4 people. Above was something similar to a tartar I’m guessing? I don’t really know since I didn’t order or try it.
We all got some plum wine and this was sweet and easy to drink. It was really good served over ice.
Deluxe Suika Box - nine kinds of appetizers
I chose to order the Deluxe Suika Box, but unfortantely it is extremely difficult to share. H and I ended up being the only ones who devoured it… It was an assortment of 9 appetizers and was presently really nicely in a box. Some items were marinated lotus root, eggplant, spicy tofu, a few types of fish, something that tasted similar to beef tongue, and also something similar to a cracker with something like cream cheese. I’m not exactly sure what each dish was, but it was exciting to try a bit of everything!
Kakuni Bibimbap - stewed pork belly, sweet dried shrimp & scallions on rice served in a hot stone bowl
We also got the Kakuni Bibimbap, which was full of flavour. The pork belly was an interesting choice for a bibimbap.
Sockeye Salmon Carpaccio - thinly sliced sockeye salmon with sesame soy dressing, yuzu zest, garlic chips & wasabi mayo
I’ve heard great things about the Sockeye Salmon Carpaccio, and it definitely didn’t disappoint. This was really good! The dressing complemented the salmon really well and I would definitely order this again next time.
Chinese Poutine - french fries topped with spicy ground pork sauce, mozzarella, chili oil, sansho and minced cilantro
The name Chinese Poutine really got us curious about what it was and so we ordered it. I don’t really know why it’s called Chinese poutine, but I guess they used some Asian ingredients in it. I’m a fan of poutine, so this was definitely something I enjoyed. It’s got more of a sauce than say the typical cheese curds though. They basically melted mozzarella on the ground pork sauce, but it was very flavourful, and had a hint of spice.
Lightly Smoked Tuna Tataki - with home made chili oil on a bed of sliced onion topped with scallions
I ordered the Lightly Smoked Tuna Tataki and enjoyed this quite a lot. It was lightly seared on the sides and the sauce was different from other restaurants I have tried. It worked well with the fish!
Beef Filet Fried Rice - cured beef & garlic fried rice
The Beef Filet Fried Rice didn’t look like anything special, but it was surprisingly really good. The beef filet was extremely tender and the garlic in the fried rice definitely gave the dish some flavour. Great variation to the typical Chinese fried rice.
Grilled Duck - grilled duck breast with tomato, granny smith apple slices and special sauce (balsamic, soy, butter & Japanese pepper)
I didn’t try the Grilled Duck, but it looked quite delicious. I found that the accompaniments on the side were also quite interesting. Granny smith apples and tomatoes along with duck? I’m actually quite curious now to know what it tasted like.
Asari Yaki Udon - pan fried thick noodles with manila clams & citron pepper
I love a good dish of yaki udon, so I ordered the Asari Yaki Udon. It wasn’t a large portion, but there were a decent amount of manila clams for the portion of noodles we were given. It was extremely flavourful, and the udon were covered evenly with a bit of sauce.
Chicken Kara-age - famous Japanese “o-sho” style deep fried chicken served with sansho jio (Japanese salt & pepper)
I also ordered the Chicken Kara-age, and they were such large pieces of chicken! I would’ve preferred them to be cut into smaller portions so more of us could try it. It also came with a salt and pepper for dipping instead of the typical mayo.I felt like the chicken was covered with more batter than it needed, so it felt like you were eating batter instead of chicken for the most part.
I’m not sure what this was called, but it looks like a Japanese pizza. I never tried it either, so I’m not sure what ingredients are in it.
Someone at the table also ordered some sashimi, which I believe both are some sort of tuna. I tried the one on the right, and it was extremely fresh. I loved how it was topped with some tobiko too.
Tokyo Oxtail Ramen - slowly braised oxtail & noodles in soy broth topped with dried fish powder & scallions
Someone also ordered the Tokyo Oxtail Ramen, which actually looks really delicious! I didn’t try it though, but it looks like it would be full of flavour.
Yukimi Daifuku - green tea & red bean gelato wrapped in sticky rice cake
And onto the desserts! We ordered pretty much every dessert on their menu and decided to share them all. First up was the Yukimi Daifuku. I actually really wanted to try this, but it was extremely difficult to share. It’s like the perfect combination of my two favourites: gelato and sticky rice cake, better known as mochi! I am definitely going to come back here for this.
Almond Tofu - served with blueberry sauce
The Almond Tofu was extremely smooth and delicious. It was like having tofu dessert but with almond flavour! It was also served with a blueberry sauce, but none of us ended up using it since the dessert was already great on its own.
Earl Grey Tea-Creme Brulee
The Earl Grey Tea-Creme Brulee was so delicious! It was basically a creme brulee but infused with earl grey flavour in it. I love variations of typical creme brulees and this one definitely worked!
Japanese Legendary Matcha Tiramisu
The Japanese Legendary Matcha Tiramisu was also delicious. The cake was so fluffy and light, and the matcha was strong in flavour so I loved it. Along with the whipping cream, it was just perfect! I love the Japanese twist they add to these French desserts!
Matcha Brulee - frozen matcha creme brulee with fresh whipped cream & red bean sauce
And then we also got the Matcha Brulee. Okay, so we had an earl grey creme brulee and now a matcha one? Nope! This was a frozen creme brulee! It felt like I was eating matcha ice cream or something! So smooth but icy at the same time. The top was lightly caramelized just as a creme brulee would be. Such an interesting but delicious dessert!
Souffle Cheese Cake - fluffily baked cheese cake w/ brown sugar sauce
Lastly, we had the Souffle Cheese Cake. This was extremely fluffy and light. It reminded me of Japanese cheesecakes as opposed to the typical cheesecakes because of how light it was.
Overall, I was extremely pleased with the food at Suika. They have a normal menu that they have every night, but they also have a menu where they change it up every night. Definitely a great place to share some plates with friends, but probably not in too large of a group. I’m definitely coming back again, whether it be just for the food, or the desserts…Definitely for the desserts though!
Last Thursday, I went to my last Dine Out! It was a spontaneous one, and we pretty much planned it the night before. We wanted a girls night out, and was looking for somewhere on Granville and was from the fixed price of either $18 or $28. SP suggested we go to The Refinery and off we went! A poor picture of the place, but The Refinery is basically next to Sip Resto Lounge, and you have to go up a flight of stairs. So really, it is on top of Sip Resto Lounge! It was a Thursday night, and the place was around 3/4 full. Not bad I guess.
Complementary Amuse Bouche - Salted Cucumber Sorbet
Shortly after placing our orders, our server brought us a complementary amuse bouche. She explained a bunch of stuff, but from what I remember, it was basically a cucumber sorbet that was salted. When I took a little nibble of it, I thought it was really salty! But I decided to take the whole spoon, and it became a mixture of salty and sour. It was supposed to cleanse our palettes before we ate, but we all felt that it just left our palettes salty and sour! It was definitely refreshing though, since it was an ice cold sorbet. Let’s just say it was interesting…
Albacore Tuna - confit tomato sauce, cannellini beans, basil oil, parsley
For my appetizer, I chose the Albacore Tuna. The portions were actually quite generous. There were probably around 7 slices, and each slice was quite thick. However, I wasn’t a huge fan of the sauces. I’m not a parsley person, so the flavours didn’t really work for me. I have to say that the tuna was fresh, and seared well though. The cannellini beans reminded me of chickpeas, which also aren’t my favourite. I guess I’m just a picky eater…
Poached Pear Salad - white wine poached, arugula, goat cheese, walnuts, yellow beets, honey-dijon vinaigrette
SP and SK got the Poached Pear Salad. It was a large plate of arugula, and they felt that it was way too much. There was also parsley in it, which they weren’t too fond of.
Sablefish - roasted red pepper and potato stew
For their entree, they both got the Sablefish. I was tempted to get it too, but I wanted to try their other dishes too. I tried some of the fish, and it was delicious. Cooked perfectly and the fish was smooth. It’s definitely a small piece of fish though!
Stuffed Mushroom - a refinery classic, stuffed with our special house mixture
For myself, I decided to try the Stuffed Mushroom. I’m glad I got this since it was full of surprises! It was one large mushroom filled with their special house stuffing mixture. The top was something that I believe was similar to bread crumbs, but the inside had cashews in it! At first, I found it weird, but for some reason, when you keep eating it, it becomes highly addictive. The nutty flavour just worked so well with the rest of the mixture.On the side, there was also some pesto sauce which added some flavour to the mushroom. On the right was more salad, which was similar to the appetizer. Lots of arugula and parsley! So I didn’t really eat much of it.
Tiramisu - espresso soaked lady fingers, whipped marscapone, cocoa dust
My favourite part of the meal were the desserts! I got the Tiramisu which came with a biscotti. This was extremely delicious! They had a thick layer of whipped marscapone, and it was dusted with cocoa powder on the top. The lady fingers weren’t soaked with a lot of alcohol, or I barely even tasted it, but I didn’t mind it. Because of that, it ended up being on the sweeter side, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Flourless Chocolate Cake - chocolate ganache, raspberry compote, balsamic reduction coconut cream
The girls got the Flourless Chocolate Cake which had a raspberry compote underneath. It was full of chocolate goodness and my one bite satisfied my sudden chocolate cravings. The girls both agreed that it was way too much chocolate and therefore very sweet, but that’s how a flourless chocolate cake is supposed to be like!
When we got our bill, we were also given complementary Chili Truffles, which I forgot to snap a picture of. The truffles were not spicy at first, but once the outer cocoa powder dissolved, the spice hit! It was acutally quite spicy and the server explained that she felt that this batch was a lot spicier.
Overall, The Refinery was average. I don’t know if I would come here again, but this is soley based on their dine out menu. Service was great when our server checked up on us, but where we were seated was difficult to get her attention. It literally took us 10 minutes to get a different servers attention when we wanted a picture because our own server still didn’t notice us. I don’t think the food is bad, but it might be just a personal taste preference and the ingredients aren’t items I normally enjoy. However, I enjoyed their desserts, and the place also seems like a cool place to grab some drinks. Their bar looks really nice!
I’ve always wanted to try Raw Canvas but looking at the menu, it can be pretty pricey. It’s basically a place where you can eat some meat and cheese, have some drinks, and then you have the choice to go paint! Pretty neat idea, and an awesome place to go for a girls night out. Luckily, Raw Canvas participated in Dine Out Vancouver 2013, so I got to try it out for only $38!
$38 gets you your “appetizer”, which is a choice of cheese sampler or meat sampler. Then your “entree” is a canvas to paint on, with all paint supplied and included. Lastly, your “dessert” is gelato and port! A pretty good deal, since the smallest canvas itself is normally $55. The one for dine out is a bit smaller though, but still a deal regardless since you get food as well.
They have a really nice bar, and at around 9p.m, the place was filled with people having drinks. It definitely feels like a nice place to chat with friends over some drinks.
The place is basically separated so one side is where you eat, and the other half of the place is where the art happens! At first we thought that there weren’t that many easels, but they actually have a lot! It gets a little tight, so if you want lots of space, then I would suggest going earlier or on a weekday night.
I love how the wooden tables and brick walls give the place such an artsy feel to it! Along with the gorgeous paintings on the wall, you can’t help but feel inspired to paint!
The place actually has a decent amount of seats too. Seats for smaller and larger groups as well. The dim lighting totally works in this setting.
Blue - Sake, alize bleu, ginger ale, ginger
K got a mixed cocktail called Blue. Pretty nice!
Karmellet Tripel (Belgium) - abbeys
E got the Karmellet Tripel, which he said wasn’t too bitter. It was recommended by the guy, who we think may be the owner. He was extremely nice and professional. Awesome service!
Peach Italissima Nectar
For myself, I was not feeling like alcohol, so I chose the Peach Italissima Nectar. I really had no idea what it was, but it came in a tiny little bottle.
Then you pour it into a glass with ice, and it is actually pretty good! It’s a little thick, but the ice helps to liquify it. Not bad, and it actually was decent with the meat.
Water comes in a Raw Canvas glass bottle, which they reuse. It’s pretty neat though. You want to check your glasses beforehand though, because some of them have paint on them since people can take their drinks with them when they go paint. The servers were observant enough to let us know and quickly change them though.
Freshly Baked French Baguette
At first, we thought that we would not get full at all, since we’re really just eating meat… but we were wrong! For the 3 of us, they served us two large bowls of Baked French Baguettes. And we were totally full after our meal! I guess the bread really fills you up.
Gelato and Port - Vanilla Bean Gelato with Sweet Portuguese Wine
For dessert, the item was Gelato and Port. It was a huge scoop of Vanilla Bean Gelato, and you could see the black specks so you knew it wasn’t just vanilla extract. It was served with a glass of sweet Portuguese wine, which when you smell it, smells quite strong in alcohol. I thought it was brandy or whiskey at first, but the server explained that it was a sweet wine. I poured around half the flask in, and it was already plenty to have a taste of alcohol in it. Definitely brings out the sweetness and was a great pairing to the gelato.
After you finish dessert, they ask you if you’re ready to go paint! They don’t push you to, and you can take your time to talk some more if you want to. But of course we were ready to go paint! They provide you with a smock so you can totally get into your artsy spirit. They also have a long wall of paints, and you just squeeze them out onto you palette board. I wish I got a picture of that, because it looks really neat! Then, you go ahead and get all artsy! They also have an artist there to look after you in case you have questions, or need some help getting inspired. And honestly, you don’t need to be an amazing artist to paint. Everyone was just having fun and bringing out their creativity!
So overall, Raw Canvas is an awesome place whether you know how to paint or not. It’s definitely a place to go once in your lifetime, whether it be on a date, to celebrate or to find a place to have food, drinks, and art! It may get quite expensive if you go on their regular nights, but it is something that everyone should try. Instead of having a typical movie night, why not go painting?