606 Trounce Alley
ES: I wish the Izakaya in Trounce Alley stayed longer. Actually known as So-Ya, they had a classy environment to fashion some trendy and nouveau Japanese style food. People can read our review here and I truly miss them. Park’s Kitchen replaces this operation. They had a soft opening and not many people noticed.
I have to wonder if the servers even have an eye for what’s good here. When James and I had our empty glasses of water just sitting on the table, no one bothered to glance to see if we needed a refill. I saw where the decanters were and had to help myself.
JS: Although the shell of So-Ya remains, the spirit within had long since passed on. What has replaced it is not very impressive. I was willing to be pleased but Park’s rarely shined when it came to either customer service, the kitchen staff or their lunch specials.
But I’m going to give a bad sounding critique and the reason is the not-so-good outweighed what was best about this place. But to start, their sunomono salad was very creative if not refreshing.
The lettuce threw me off but the carrots were most welcome. The vinaigrette was sweet and cool. I have to say I finally found a sunomono that may have beaten Sushi Plus. But perhaps to put something else to replace the lettuce will improve on this creation.
#100-1619 Store St.,
For over a year, Grace Sushi has occupied the space on Store St. that was once The Kaz. I’m not sure what the full story is behind the previous establishment’s departure, but in the past, they offered the space for Sen Zushi to occupy when their Fort Street location was devastated by a fire. Until it was all rebuilt, this other establishment fulfilled some sushi diner’s needs. Now they have moved back, and I’m the type to try all the places in town … just where I like to go lays with what is in the vicinity, before going to a play.
I had to see what kind of divine intervention could occur by walking into a location that’s now changed hands.
Nubo Japanese Tapas
739 Pandora Ave
I’m fairly sure Nubo is very nouveau. Their designer maki rolls certainly looked very tantalizing, making this place worth visiting again for that alone! But when I noticed that I’ve seen similar elsewhere (especially after having sushi in four different cities), well, perhaps they are not? I was seeking a taste of the old country — traditional — and this place certainly delivers. On a busy night, I managed to get a seat at the sushi bar. Reservations are certainly recommended, especially if you’re planning on seeing a yuletide production at the MacPherson Playhouse. In fact, I recommend doing so for the four operations that run here. If time is tight, then the time is best maximized by being here early and just enjoying the scents.
If only I had two hundred dollars, I would be feasting on the variety offered here for an entire month. I could on a weekly basis, though I have to spread the love between here and Omakase. When considering their motoyaki is made from scallop and prawns, I’m already drooling. When I saw that this operation offers monkfish liver, they have a one-up on many other local places I’ve been to. In what I tasted is divine, and I was tripping at the variety of garnishes used on each slice. Each serving was floating in a lake of light soy sauce, and that was just my starter!
612 Head St.
E: I’m finding that the out-of-the-way Japanese diners do better at serving up delicious meals than those in town. In the municipality of Oak Bay, there’s Osaka and in the district of Esquimalt, there’s Kyubey. In Saanich (Lower), there’s Yoshi. While there’s none to find in Gordon Head (yet) maybe one day that will come. Sorry Sushi Island, but there’s nothing ‘traditional’ I find in your dishes. While they do serve Okonomiyaki, I’m finding that going out to the docks on the opposite end of the city is where I need to be to get my serving.
The thought of the shrimp pancake offered here had me pulling James away from his plans in the morning and diving deep into this municipality for a touch of authentic fare.
#104-240 Cook St.
If you want a sushi cake for your birthday, The Next Modern Japanese Cuisine certainly delivers. You have to call in advance about it (I’m not sure how long this promotion is going to last) and they need at least a days notice to collect the ingredients in order to prepare it to your specifications. As much as I’d love to try fugu (blowfish), I’m sure that’s not easily available in North America.
Having some knowledge in what’s available for the season is required, otherwise the chefs will use their judgement. In what I asked for was a complete representation of every type of fish often seen in a regular menu. I tasted tuna, salmon, red snapper, ahi, scallop and prawn. They were definitely quality cuts and the rice was even sweeter than I recall. The mackerel was very mild and the bed of rice was huge. This cake alone is a meal in itself! The inclusion of salmon roe was a nice touch, and this particular flavour is not for everyone. When paired with the avocado, my taste buds were in for a treat!
Rockn’ Rolls Modern Sushi
1 Dallas Rd C1
No matter where you go to eat sushi, the basics will more or less taste the same. The taste found in tuna and salmon rolls are distinguished by the freshness of the fish (I have yet to find a place to beat what I had in Sidney, BC ages ago), rice to meat ratio used and where the fish came from. Where the rice is harvested from matters, but ultimately, it is the temperature of this grain that makes the difference. Over at Rock n’ Rolls Modern Sushi at the Fisherman’s Wharf in Victoria, BC, they pride themselves on using locally sourced ingredients.
This operation is all about 100% sustainability and it shows in the Polynesian Roll. Made using local crab, bell peppers and sweet squash, this delectable maki roll is a taste for the senses! Rockfish was used, and this is a topping I do not usually see in menus. Sometimes, whitefish is listed, and the last time I really appreciated its taste was over at Southern Lake Tahoe, where a buddy and I went to The Naked Fish — I have fond memories of my sushi experience there.