Monday, November 10, 2014

Fruity stuff from Yak & Yeti Bistro

Yak & Yeti Bistro on UrbanspoonIf you've been to their sister restaurant Gurkha Himalayan Kitchen (a Mealshare supporter), you'll find Yak & Yeti quite a different experience. While a few items on the menu are the same, the rest is quite different. Price for portion is also pretty good and the filling entrees are $13-$16.

It's a long and narrow restaurant, so if you have a larger party of 6+ persons, you'll definitely want to try to make a reservation so that they can move some tables around if necessary or reserve the U-shaped dining area at the very end that can accommodate maybe 6-8 persons.

For my visit I opted for the two curious involves-fruit dishes but the momos, goat pickle, and masala fish were also quite good based on the feedback from the other diners in our group. Masala fish curry was served with brown rice, while jackfruit curry and goat pickle were served with white rice.

Wings ($9) Mango-mustard wings
  • This had a tasty sauce on it, but it tasted neither like mango nor mustard, if you absolutely need either flavour.
  • Works out to over $1 per wing, but that's sort of the going rate for appetizers these days. Plus it's tasty.
  • Despite the name, we got all drumsticks.
  • Served on a bed of token salad. If you also ordered momos, maybe save some of the mint chutney to use as a vinaigrette.
Jackfruit Curry ($14) Green jackfruit or “the vegetable meat” mixed cooked with bell peppers, onions, basil and special Himalayan spices. Exotically delicious. Served with white rice.
  • The portion didn't look very big but the long boat-like dishes were actually quite deep, so the portions of curry and rice were both actually a decent, filling portion.
  • Here, they use the unripe jackfruit instead of the sweet yellow ripened jackfruit. So if you know of the fruit from elsewhere (cans or maybe bubble tea houses), it's not the same thing and it's not a sweet curry.
  • It's basically tasteless in the curry. What you get is a very moist "meatiness". The fibrous nature of the fruit makes it look like pulled stewed chicken dark meat. Makes a decent looking fake-chicken.
  • Overall it's a pretty tasty curry at a good portion for price. If you want it spicy, boldly ask for that. Otherwise it's going to come out rather mild.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Red Robin Big Sky Burger

Red Robin on Urbanspoon

I registered for Red Robin rewards earlier this year, but never really made it out for the birthday goodies and what not. Then recently I got an e-mail about their new Big Sky Burger, and since my friend had an Entertainment Book coupon for $5 off, we decided to go try it out as well as catch up after months apart.

As pictured, the burger looks pretty big and just bursting with goodness. And it is a big burger. Half pound patty. Just nowhere as mouth-watering as in ad copy, but I think everyone knows that already.

For one the patty didn't look as blackened as pictured and that grilled flavour didn't come through. The patty itself, however, was big and moist, and as burger patties go, is really decent.

The onion ring pictured looks like a generous portion, but it is actually a pretty small onion ring, about the size of Red Robin's smallest onion ring in their 13-ring stack appetizer. The diameter was probably just under 2 inches, compared to a burger that is over twice that. This burger could definitely have used two or three such rings for the flavour and crunch to have any chance of coming through.

The creamy goat cheese is a nice touch along with the sriracha (which doesn't come across as very hot after everything is taken into account). It's also a pretty messy burger to eat, and by default you get ONE napkin. I recommend you immediately ask for more.

The bun pictured is a round burger bun, but we got ours in a square focaccia that was on the dry side and that really hurt the overall experience. Combined with not having any wetter ingredients like tomato, despite the goat cheese this was a dryer burger and comes in at about 3/5.
The burger did fit everything inside its area, which helped with the sloppiness factor and not having ingredients slide out too much.

Price is $16.79, and it comes with a modest amount of fries, which you can change into poutine for $1.99. I recommend you do not since they basically just throw poutine gravy and some cheese on it. Don't waste your $1.99, especially when there is a generous portion of nice tangy dip for your fries already.
That dip could also be spread in your burger for a bit of extra zip.

The best that could be said for this meal is that for your $16.79, you got one heckuva filling meal. Don't even think of bottomless soda or a milkshake as you are unlikely to finish that without help.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Taste of Yaletown - Honjin Sushi

Honjin Sushi on Urbanspoon Almost exactly a year ago I tried the Honjin Sushi Taste of Yaletown menu. With Brix closed for a private function and therefore not taking walk-ins, I ended up at Honjin Sushi again for a very late dinner (after 9pm).

Being across a courtyard opposite Urban Fare, Honjin Sushi is much less visible in Yaletown, but definitely worth a visit. Their Taste of Yaletown menu this year is much stronger than last year's, which had rice as part of your main.
Nothing wrong with it, but it stopped the momentum of a great meal after some really nice appetizers and a delightful sushi roll.

This year, their $29 menu (same as last year) did away with rice and yet still so very filling so that you will probably be grateful the dessert is just one scoop of ice cream.
Honjin Tuna TsunamiChunks of Tuna, Mango, Avocado and cucumber in a fruity spicy sauce surrounded with three pieces of
Salmon Tartar:chopped salmon, avocado and cucumber served on a shisho leaf tempura
Negitoro on toast:Chopped Tuna Belly and green onion on toast
Choice of Roll:
Sunshine RollYaletown RollRainforest RollWest End RollRound House RollCaterpillar RollNHL RollButterfly Roll
MIXED MAIN DISH PLATTER (you get all items)
Chicken Teriyaki with mixed vegetable
Two pieces of Sakura Ebi Tempura:Tempura style Crispy Dry Shrimps on a piece of seaweed
Two pieces of Beef Enoki:Japanese enoki mushroom wrapped in beef
Two pieces of Ebi Mayo:Fluffy prawn with spicy mayo
Coffee Jello or Ice-Cream
Pair with a glass of white wine for the total of $33 (RIESLING DEINHARD)
It was just me tonight so I went with the Salmon Tartar, Yaletown Roll, and Green Mango Ice Cream.
TIP: Under NO circumstances should you use the soy sauce provided at the table, nor ask for any wasabi. Most items already come with their own special sauce, and I recommend you take the time to pay attention to the flavour of that as well.

Salmon Tartar
  • I should have gone with the Tuna Tsunami because I had the Salmon Tartar before, and though it was delicious, I do like to try new things.
  • Anyway, this fun-to-eat appy has a refreshing mixture on a fried leaf that is typically firm enough to pick up. Don't wait too long to do that, though. The mixture on top is wet, so be careful, and have your napkin handy.
Yaletown Roll
  • Went with server recommendation on this one.
  • Presentation is ACE. Not your usual roll where everything is tucked in and every piece looks the same. Here, the prawn an fish are draped artistically on the outside, and the tail of the prawns are used as well. Beautiful to look at and every bite is slightly different.
Mixed Main Dish Platter
  • All pretty decent. The weakest item here, which you might want to eat first and wash down with tea, is the ebi mayo, which had a startlingly oily crust on it.
  • The most interesting item was probably the Tempura Style Crispy Dry Shrimps on a piece of seaweed. Despite how it looks, you can pick it up like a cracker. Really interesting and tasty.
Dessert - Green Mango Ice Cream
  • Not as sweet and intense as a regular mango ice cream.
  • You can taste the very slight hint of sourness that comes with green mango, which makes it different and interesting from a "regular" mango ice cream.
  • Just one scoop. Nothing fancy in presentation here.
Overall, Honjin Sushi gives beautifully prepared food, interesting to look at and eat. Honjin Sushi's 2014 Taste of Yaletown $29 promotion is superb value for what you get -- a filling meal, tasty food, artsy presentation. There's still time to go as TOY ends Thursday.

Late night service was attentive. Tea topped up regularly. No complaints there!