Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Burnt Brussels sprouts at Minami

Minami on Urbanspoon It is a sister restaurant to Miku and despite the storefront, actually contains a deep and expansive dining area. Plus there's a bar with two televisions, which allows it to double as a sports bar (well, sort of). According to my friend who drives, it is also much more affordable for drivers, as you can park more cheaply and conveniently along Pacific than around the Guiness Building. The menu idea is the same, however: Aburi sushi (i.e., blowtorched sushi).

Professionally all-black dressed servers here, with a mix of males and female. No mini-skirted hotties, if you were hoping for that sort of Yaletown establishment (try Chinois for eye candy instead).

  • Aburi Carpaccio ($16) organic 64° egg, asian pear, market greens, lotus root chips, jalapeño-garlic ponzu
    • Mush the egg over the beef.
    • This is an interesting item if you don't separate the items on the plate, but pair each bite. There are interesting flavours here: The jalapeño gives the beef a bit of bite, but not too much; the market greens have an almost surprisingly refreshing vinaigrette to it; the token lotus root chips add crunch; and the sweet asian pear pairs with anything on the plate to give both a different flavour experience and texture experience. Take your time eating this.
  • Brussels Sprouts Chips with Spiced Sea Salt ($5)
    • Our server really sold us on this intriguing item. Apparently it's served with their calamari appetizer, but enough people asked for it that they made it available as a separate side.
    • Tastes like burnt Brussels Sprouts. Honest. The wedge of lemon doesn't help. But it must be popular with enough people that it's a side of its own. If you are undecided, try to score a single sample before deciding. It could taste like burnt Brussels Sprouts to you too.
  • Wagyu Beef wrapped Pan Seared Scallops with Sous-Vide Wild Mushrooms ($17) balsamic marinated grilled radicchio, preserved meyer lemon, wasabi salsa verde, flavivs vinegar
    • Three large scallops.
    • The beef, combined with the salsa on top, completely overpowered the scallops and unless you scrape off the salsa, you'll be hard pressed to taste it. Even with the green goop off, the thin wrap of beef has a strong flavour that wins out unless you take it in two bites to expose the scallop inside.
    • It's a good idea, but if you are looking for tasty scallops, try something else: There's no point ordering this to deconstruct it for a sauteed scallop.
  • Ebi Fritters ($13) black tiger prawns, spiced couscous, sweet chili aioli, soy balsamic
    • Immediately ask for a spoon to help you eat the token couscous. It comes with a ceramic spoon, but if you are sharing, that's not going to help a lot since you will use that as your serving spoon.
    • Hint of curry in the thin but crispy batter. A slight bit of sauce drizzled on it, but that's all you really need.
    • Overall really decent and a safe choice. About 5 moderately sized prawns if I remember correctly.
  • Yaletown Roll ($16) sous-vide salmon, golden tobiko, cucumber, kanpachi, ikura, lemon zest, wasabi aiolo
    • I'm actually not a huge fan of salmon, so this was sort of boring for me and I shouldn't really rate it because of my bias. As sushi rolls go, it's decent. Plus there's a half-nigiri-sushi thing going on here with an outer layer of raw fish.
    • Obviously no wasabi or soy sauce in a fine sushi establishment like this. That said, I thought this could have used a jolt more flavour, but that's probably just my uneducated western palate not appreciating the more subtle tastes.
  • Chocolate Salted Caramel Walnut ($10) chocolate cream, praline wafer, caramel pâté, caramelized walnuts, coffee caramel glaze, cinnamon chantilly cream, fresh pear, coffee, vanilla & caramel sauces, coffee ice cream
    • A rather small looking square of caramel on chocolate and wafer, but it has a richness, plus there's a very nice and aromatic coffee ice cream scoop on the side. Overall, the portion was not tiresome to get through (as some too-large portions of chocolate dessert can actually be), and the quality of the goodies here makes $10 not a bad price.
    • If you dislike toffee's chewy stick-to-your-teeth quality, this you might want to try this as you get toffee flavour without the troublesomeness.
  • Pot of tea ($3).
    • It's not tea bag tea, but brewed loose-leaf.

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