Friday, May 15, 2015

KiBo Restaurant and Lounge revisit

KiBo Restaurant and Lounge on Urbanspoon It's been over a year since I first tried KiBo Restaurant and Lounge. This time I went during a weekday happy hour when all the nearby Yaletown restaurants were basically dead -- which means you can expect dedicated service instead of harried servers rushing around a busy restaurants.
So, service at KiBo was ace -- even though we were also using a Groupon. Beautiful day out, not too hot, so we sat on the patio instead of the lounge-like interior which hadn't been dimmed and lit for after-sundown service since it was still broad daylight out.

Chicken Karaage ($7) Deep fried chicken wings
  • Ten wings for $4 during happy hour.
  • Reasonably sized wings (not the super-small ones you sometimes get at wing places).
  • Moderately thick and fun-crispy batter on the wings, but not really tasty on their own. If they were seasoned, it didn't stand out particularly.
  • We were offered hot sauce for the wings but declined. I think the wings needed something, though.
  • Came piping hot but I recommend against eating them right away when they are too hot, as you are focussing too much on the heat to really savour whatever flavour they have.
Ika Sugatayaki ($11) Whole BBQ marinated squid in our signature sauce
  • Still as good as I remembered it.
  • Citrusy dip provided is not really necessary since there is a lovely grilled flavour mingled with the seared-on sweet sauce.
  • Comes pre-sliced, but some slices not fully cut through, so picking up one could end up pulling the neighbouring two slices as well.
Oysters ($1 each during happy hour, minimum order of 3)

Japanese Short Ribs ($7) BBQ short ribs marinated in a signature sauce
  • Done in the same way as the squid and just as delicious.
  • Really thinly cut (about 3 mm thick?) ribs.
  • Really too cling-to-the-bone to get all of the meat unless you use your fingers.
Kibo Roll ($14) Avocado and cucumber topped with sliced seared tuna and salmon with Kibo sauce
Mango Roll ($13) Prawn, avocado, smoked salmon and basil with mango on top
Volcano Roll ($12) Deep fried roll with spicy tuna and avocado

Sushi was okay. Something about them felt strangely plain to me, and for that reason they also felt overpriced by about 50%.

Our order (plus one more makizushi roll I can't remember at the moment, but probably the California Dream) came out to $80.85 after tax and tip. After factoring in a $11-for-$30-value Groupon, it was still around $20 per person before tip, which is acceptable for dinner.

After taking into account the fact that you are in a swanky Yaletown location, KiBo prices are okay. Still, go during happy hour if you can for more reasonable pricing. If you are a heavier eater or especially hungry, go to somewhere like Sushiholic or Sushiville instead to get more sheer quantity for your money. Otherwise you may still walk away hungry.

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