Note: For some strange reason our previous host provider, eBlogger, loses some of our posts. Despite our best attempts to keep regular backups, even this article disappeared from our archives. This piece had to be ‘republished.’
J: Wow, I mean really wow. Maybe really wow just doesn’t say enough on how nice Itami Sushi looks. They spent roughly one million on the interior alone. The Japanese garden at the front entrance should’ve more care and attention paid to it. And that chandelier above the serving desk, yes I thought that was excessive but there was very little else I could find wrong. I just have to wonder what their washrooms look like. But with all of this eye candy, the restaurant was barely populated on a Friday night. I asked myself why.
E: I have an answer to that. Victoria is officially now over-saturated with Japanese restaurants. People can’t walk two or three blocks in any direction without encountering some type of Japanese fast food offering. And not many people can make them right. Can I say I was unimpressed? My mom can make better rice than Itami during our visit.
J: The service was exceptional, our every need was seen to. It’s just a shame that the package couldn’t be complete. The food was lacking and I’m sure Ed will explain further. Personally I couldn’t get comfortable in Itami. As nice as it is, I found the interior of nearby Shiki more inviting. I tried hard to ask our server “Alan” if the sushi chef’s were properly trained in Japan but sadly there was a language barrier and my Japanese was not up to snuff.
E: The portion and presentation looked nice but that hid a horrible fact that I did not find any of the raw slices of nigiri all that tasty. The Kaz had pizazz and Sen had zen. Itami? they need to work on keeping the fish deliciately preserved to maintain each fish’s unique flavour. There were ten chances to get it right in the deluxe platter I had (tuna rolls included), and only two stood out for me. Not even the sea urchin tasted spectacular. They were all tastes I’m used to finding at Fujiya, and they pump the food out by the bucketload. I still felt hungry for good ahi afterwards. Maybe I have to pay more to find it, and I wasn’t prepared to that night, especially when this place is still new to the Victoria scene.
Fortunately there was a spot of flavour to be found. It came with a free dessert that was offered by the end of the meal.
J: The best part of my meal was the Clam Miso Soup ($3.95). It came with six whole clams. But one has to wonder if they were cooked live. The dish had potential. With a little experimenting I found the taste was stronger after I schuked the clams into the miso broth. Perhaps this is something they need to reconsider.
The worst of the meal had to be the Tempura Udon ($8.50). It was such an anticlimax to have a basket of 5 tempura (2 shrimp, 3 veg) and a simple bowl of cooked udon placed before me. Not in a long while had I seen a meal that appeared so boring. The udon’s taste was average (the broth didn’t help either)and the tempura batter was off. But the desert was beautiful!
E: Yeah, it saved an impromptu visit from being a disaster. The cococnut glazed tofu with red bean paste may well be a teaser to what Itami can do very well in. The jelly was sweet and the bean paste made for a good contrast. As for sushi, ask me again at the end of the year, when the management can find a proper fish monger to deal with.
2 Blokes out of 5