I recently found out about the deals on VANEATS.ca from a friend and ended up purchasing the Ebisu Flair package as a sort of trial run. $20 for a meal for two…sounds good to me! So on the night of St. Patrick’s Day (and a Canucks game night, no less), Cindy and I trekked down Robson Street to redeem our meal for two.
We were seated at a strange sort of table near the entrance of the restaurant where I could see all these “celebrity” photos up on the wall. The only one I really recognized as Yev Kassem, who played the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld…but anyway. I informed the waitress we’d purchased the Ebisu Flair package and soon enough our dishes started arriving.
The first to arrive was the Aigamo Duck Salad. I personally love duck and don’t get to eat it enough, so I enjoyed this. The duck wasn’t exactly tender, but a bit chewy. It wasn’t overcooked, as you can see. The VANEATS website describes the salad dressing as “citrus infused ginger”, but it tasted a lot like soy sauce to me. Not that I mind–it reminded me of the dressing my mom puts on our salads at home. Besides the greens, there were also sauteed button mushrooms, peppers, orange slices, and crispy wonton strips which added a nice texture. I thought the unusual ingredients made for a unique salad–after all, most salads can be quite forgettable.
Our second dish was the Crunch and Munch Roll–prawn tempura, cucumber, and tobiko on the inside, with avocado and unagi on the outside, with what the website calls an “unagi & wasabi cream sauce”. To be honest, I couldn’t taste much depth in the sauce–it tasted like regular old mayo to me. Maybe I was just too hungry? I thought this was the requisite roll of the preset menu. It was decent, but not something I would probably order a la carte (the price is quite steep as it usually is for specialty rolls). To their credit though, the sushi rice was vinegary and sweet, and also the right consistency, and the ingredients worked well together.
The next two items arrived together on one longer plate. First, the Tiger Mayo–two tiger prawns deep fried with tempura batter and served in a sweet, mayo-based chili sauce. The prawns were a respectable size and arrived warm enough, but the sauce reminded me unpleasantly of nacho cheese… not that I don’t like nacho cheese, but it wasn’t exactly the taste I was looking for. I think I would have preferred the sauce to be served in a separate dish on the side as a traditional sort of dipping sauce, instead of the way it was served here. The way it was served, you got way too much sauce for your first bite, and not enough to balance out the rest.
Arriving with the Tiger Mayo was the Salmon Carpaccio. I generally love carpaccio so I was really looking forward to this. I liked the contrasting texture of the smooth salmon with the crunchy onion and garlic chips. The sauce was once again, soy based. This was a good dish as long as I got a balanced portion of the different ingredients in each mouthful. Still, I found that the flavours were getting quite repetitive, especially with the sauces. Everything seemed to remind me of soy sauce…and Cindy agreed. Considering it was Ebisu who put together this dining package, I would prefer that they make sure to select dishes that would illustrate the range they’re capable of.
For the dessert portion of the meal package, we got a Mars Attack: two Mars bars deep-fried in what appeared to be tempura batter, with two scoops of vanilla ice cream and whipped cream, with rice krispies at the bottom. Apparently this is supposed to be served with chocolate syrup and strawberries, as I saw on Foodology’s post, but this is what was served to us. I found this rather difficult to eat–we both ended up eating the Mars bars and the ice cream separately, when the flavours would have complemented each other if we’d eaten it together. The deep frying of the Mars bar didn’t really add to the texture of the dish. I suppose for some people it’s a novelty, but I’d already had deep-fried Mars bars at The Eatery a while back, so it wasn’t like I was experiencing something very new.
All in all, Cindy and I both categorized our meal at Ebisu as being good, but nothing spectacular or particularly memorable. As noted before, the flavours were rather repetitive. Still, the dining package is quite a good deal, as a meal for two for $20 is hard to come by nowadays, especially considering the location downtown. It’s well worth your while scoping out the deals on VANEATS!
Ebisu on Robson
827 Bute Street