Thursday, November 1, 2012
I had a catch-up dinner planned with an old pal and she left the meal venue up to me, letting me know that she'd be up for something out of her usual dining comfort zone. I picked Suika Snack Bar, a Japanese Izakaya place located near my office, that I've been wanting to try for ages. Located on West Broadway near Fir Street, Suika is touted as the casual sibling to the well-known higher-end izakaya restaurant Kingyo.
I liked this place as soon as we walked in. We arrived around 6pm and we were welcomed warmly and shown to a table right away. Word on the street says Suika is extremely busy on Friday, Saturday, and Sundays- so weekend reservations are recommended.
The interior decor and aesthetic are slick, yet whimsical- the prime example is their cool sake-bottle chandelier and the wine rack behind the bar with cinder blocks and action figures.
We ordered three dishes to share.
The Deluxe Suika Box $10 "Deluxe Appetizer Box (9 kinds) It's like a Jewelry box...gorgeous"
This is a fun dish to sample and share- it gives you little taste of many items on the regular menu. This is a cute, bento-box lined with nine teacup-size portions of stir-fried lotus root, toast and cheese/garlic spread, smoked tuna tataki, Hainanese chicken thigh, octopus and cucumber, smoked duck, spicy tofu, and mackerel. Our favourites were the octopus (soft, tender, nice flavour, not chewy), the slightly spicy tuna tataki and smoky lotus root.
Tokyo Oxtail Ramen $9.80 "Slowly Braised Oxtail and Noodles in Soy Broth topped with dried fish powder and scallions. The broth has the most amazing rich, beefy flavour on it's own and the bits of dried fish add a punch of salty umami flavour. The noodles had an awesome chewy texture. The bits of oxtail were extremely tender and falling apart in the bowl. YUUUUUUM! We mentioned that we'd like to split the soup and they were awesome enough to divide the portion into 2 smaller bowls.
Sashimi "Shake" Salad $7.80 "Today's fresh sashimi, organic greens, tobiko, shrimp oil with sesame soy dressing. This was an extremely generous portion and loaded with various types of fresh sashimi (scallop, tuna, salmon, shrimp) and topped with a crispy prawn cracker. Fresh and flavourful this delicious and a fantastic value.
They nail it on the small touches at Suika. Their bathrooms were absolutely impeccable and uber clean. The toilet paper was folded into points and they had a gorgeous counter set up with toothpicks, q-tips, and a mouthwash station. I also loved that instead of mints, they bring a small bowl of frozen grapes with the bill. A simple, refreshing, after dinner palate cleanser. This place is fantastic- from fun, funky decor, to tasty, well-priced service, and friendly, efficient service- they nailed it all. A new favourite place!