Monday, November 18, 2013

Sweet grilled squid at Kibo Sushi

KiBo Restaurant and Lounge on Urbanspoon Before I got the $30 for $60 Groupon, I didn't know about Kibo Restaurant and Lounge's half-priced happy hour. Definitely go for happy hour if you can fit it in during that time. Otherwise, the Groupon is a great deal, but it is only for tables of four or more. If your friends are flaky, you could be stuck.

It's a huge restaurant! With a huge patio!
Inside, it's dimly lit and has a cool lounge vibe. Definitely a nice "date night" sort of place. Sadly the dessert selection is lousy (deep fried banana and ice cream makes up their entire dessert selection), but for late-night you can still zip over to the Hamilton Street Grill for their should-be-famous gingerbread pudding (still a steal at $8) or Bistro Sakana for their deeply chocolatey brownies.

I should say that I still find savouring sushi challenging. For the most part, sushi is sushi unless they do something to really stand out, like the refreshing fruitiness of the rolls at Honjin Sushi. And I have no appreciation for sashimi. It's just raw slabs of stuff, right?

Caterpillar Roll ($13) Unagi and cucumber roll with sliced avocado and smoked salmon on top
  • One of the three server recommendations for what to order.
  • This was a beautiful green roll, that looks like a juicy green caterpillar. Otherwise, to me this just tasted okay (but see note above!).
Hamilton Roll ($14) prawns and cucumber topped with sliced tuna, salmon and avocado with special sauce
  • One of the three server recommendations for what to order.
  • Definitely do not use soy sauce and wasabi on this until you've tried the special sauce. It's way better with a bit of the reddish sauce on the plate.
Volcano Roll ($12) deep fried roll with spicy tuna and avocado
  • Interesting to look at and fun to eat if you like some crunch to your snacks.
  • Don't be put off by "spicy" tuna. Nothing spicy here.
Ika Sugatayaki ($11) whole BBQ marinated squid in our signature sauce
  • One of the three server recommendations for what to order.
  • Grilled squid is not just grilled squid at Kibo Sushi. You definitely want this: The signature sauce seared onto the squid makes all the difference, giving the seared/grilled flavour a slight sweetness.
  • Grilled till there's a slight crunch instead of chewiness. This dish impressed even the member of our dining party who normally didn't like chewy mollusks.
Shiitake Butter Yaki ($9) Japanese mushroom with seafood in foil
  • Fish on mushrooms, sitting in butter. Wrapped in foil and steamed that way.
  • This turned out to be rather boring -- Just steamed fish and steamed mushrooms. All the butter melted (of course) and flowed to the bottom, so if you want any butteriness you need to remember to dab your fish or mushroom in the sauce on the bottom.
The nice ambiance on the inside is probably Kibo Sushi's best feature. The grilled squid was the surprising stand-out, but for unsophisticated sushi palates like my own, the rest might be sort of ho hum.

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