Although I was determined to only choose $18 menus for Dine Out Vancouver 2013, I still ended up accepting an invitation to Bistro Sakana. They'd had impressive and tasty offerings previously, and I figured this year wouldn't be any different. I was just there this past October for the Taste of Yaletown, in fact.
If you went to the Taste of Yaletown, last year, more than half the Signature Sample Platter will be familiar (how many signature dishes can a restaurant have, after all). The ones that stood the test of time are clearly among their tastiest offerings, and still consistently delicious when prepared by the chefs. Moreover, the samples on the Dine Out Vancouver menu continue their tradition of a wide variety of tastes and textures, making Bistro Sakana still one of the best choices for sheer food experience.
That said, because so many items are the same as before, if you still clearly remember the Taste of Yaletown offerings and want to try something different, you might consider skipping the Dine Out prix fixe menu and just getting the few items that are different by ordering a la carte.
Bistro Sakana Dine Out Vancouver 2013 Menu
$38.00 per person (beverages, tax, and gratuity are extra)
- Wild Sockeye Salmon Miso Chowder - a rich creamy salmon & miso chowder
A Signature Sample Platter including all of the following: (picture)
- Wild Sockeye Jalapeño Aburi "Hakozushi" (2 pieces) - sockeye salmon layered with rice, box pressed, flame torched, and topped with jalapeño slices
- Toro Red Chili Aburi "Hakozushi" (2 pieces) - albacore toro marinated in Junmai sake & miso, layered with rice, box pressed, flame torched, and topped with red chili and key lime slivers
- Teppan Roll (3 pieces) - fresh tomato, Hotate scallop sashimi, fresh bocconcini mozzarella & home-made shiso-basil pesto, rolled up with rice, lightly sauteed and plated with a rim of aged balsamic reduction and unfiltered extra virgin olive oil
- Tuna & Avocado Crepe: Diced albacore tuna sashimi blended with fresh avocado & our spicy wasabi mayo sauce, wrapped in a delicate freshly made savory crepe, and drizzled with our spicy teriyaki sauce
- Triple "A" beef Tenderloin Tataki: Slices of tender beef tenderloin, seared on the edges and served with thin slices of crisp fuji apple, baby arugula, garlic chips, freshly shaved parmesan, and a unique yuzu kosho vinaigrette
- Oka San's Rich Chocolate Brownies - rich dark chocolate brownies served warm with dark chocolate sauce & vanilla bean gelato
Tuna & Avocado Crepe
- This was basically too soft to pick up with your chopsticks, so I recommend using the knife and fork provided to cut it into more manageable chunks. There's a bit of spicy sauce on the side. Not too spicy, unless you can't handle anything more than mild. Just watch out for it if you want to go easy on the heat.
- Overall it was an interesting taste and had a creamy texture on the inside. Definitely worth a try no matter what.
- The recommendation is to eat the beef with a little bit of everything included. It's a bit tricky to do that with chopsticks, so you might want to try the fork here, and maybe chopstick the various bits on to assemble a full bite. Maybe because I didn't quite get enough of everything into every bite, this had a variety of tastes but was strangely uninteresting to me. If you do try it, maybe work more carefully at assembling each portion to get a little of everything each time.
- I seem to remember this being much warmer last time I had it, and it was so much better for it. It's probably the case that the mass-preparation for Dine Out Vancouver left this detail overlooked. That, or our extra orders of stuff threw off their timing.
- When it's warmer, however, you have the drawback of the ice cream melting into yuck much more quickly, so there's definitely a tradeoff there.
- Still composed of large cubes of their extremely delicious brownies. Available on the regular menu if you just want to go for the brownies.
- We also tried a curious crunchy filo prawn item. This was three large prawns covered in what looked like a dense coat of very fine/thin noodles. It came with a lightly sweet dipping sauce and a small side of crunchy red beet (?) cubes.
- Everyone else seemed to like this very much, but for some reason I thought prawns were prawns. And at $12 for 3 prawns, this seemed a bit steep, though I'm sure there was quite a bit of work involved in assembling it, since it's more than just dipping the prawns in batter to make the ubiquitous ebi mayo.
- I remembered this interesting item from two years ago, when a couple of slices were on the Taste of Yaletown platter. Our table had a regular order of this, which was about six (?) slices, topped with a mess of interesting fried and crunchy extremely fine wires of something red that tasted like yam fries. Definitely get some of that on each bite.
- Overall I found this to be best shared. Just a couple of slices are all you need. More and you might get a bit bored with it -- which is probably the same that could be said of whole rolls of sushi. It's really best if you share it and try a few types.