Apparently it was my turn to choose the restaurant this time, since the last time I dined with Eric and Gawa, Gawa chose Golden Pair for our lunch together. Usually I like to try somewhere new, but I decided to lunch at Suika, which I’d visited several times already. It was at a relatively convenient location, had plenty of pescetarian options for Gawa, and of course, I love izakaya food. I was unaware they had a separate lunch menu, but as it consisted more of individual meals rather than tapas, this worked out fine.
Gawa is probably the most supportive friend I have–well, for the blog, anyways. She insisted on ordering an appetizer so I’d have more to talk about, and this appetizer was the Tako Wasabi. The three of us had never tried this dish before, and didn’t really know what to expect. I personally didn’t enjoy this very much. The wasabi flavour was very strong, although the mild, unsalted seaweed helped to tone it down. The tako itself was not too fishy, and nicely chewy, but I personally couldn’t eat very much of it. I suppose it’s all dependent on preference, though.
As part of our lunch, we were also presented with a complimentary Salad, which was dressed with some kind of sesame oil dressing. At first the three of us were confused, as the waitress dropped it off with not much comment, but it appears that they provide all their customers with complimentary salad at lunch time. Yay! The lettuce was very fresh, and had a natural sweetness. The dressing was a very typical one found at many Japanese restaurants, but we enjoyed it nevertheless.
Onwards to the entrees…I ordered the Ebi Chili Bowl, which is one of their set meals. The set meals are accompanied by a bowl of miso soup and some kimchi. We all enjoyed the miso soup, which had a great depth of flavour–obviously it included some fish broth rather than just water. Besides the usual scallions and tofu, the miso soup also contained lotus roots, and had quite a strong miso flavour. The kimchi was quite odd and didn’t taste anything like regular kimchi, and was a resounding no for me. But anyways, onto the prawns…they were a good size, and were covered in a sweet and spicy sauce that was an adequate balance of the two flavours. I would have liked more lettuce however, and could have done with less or even no tartar sauce, as I got sick of it quite quickly. Still, this was a solid meal, and I wouldn’t mind ordering it again.
For her main course, Gawa opted for the Negitoro Bowl, which included some pickled daikon in the rice, providing some needed crunch. While she enjoyed her lunch on a whole, Gawa commented that she would have enjoyed some sauce, possibly some soy sauce, which wasn’t provided for us at the table. She also thought that the toro itself was a little too fatty, although that’s probably just personal preference. Still, I thought her bowl was a great mix of ingredients, as opposed to simply being the toro and rice.
Eric chose the Seafood Bowl, which was accompanied by the same kimchi and miso soup as above. Like Gawa’s, his bowl contained a large number of ingredients, including shrimp, mountain yam, salmon, scallops, and another type of sashimi that we were unable to identify. There were also small pieces of eel and crab meat mixed in with the rice. Eric was satisfied with his variety of ingredients, but he also commented that he would have appreciated some tea to go along with his lunch–now that I think about it, I found it odd that we weren’t offered complimentary tea. Still, his lunch looked fresh and satisfyingly fishy, in a good way.
So, that’s the end of our lunch at Suika. I was pleasantly surprised by their lunch menu, which has a good variety of dishes in addition to the ones we sampled, and is perhaps a little more affordable than their dinner menu. The service was friendly and efficient, and I found our lunches to be creative, satisfying, and delicious. Suika is definitely one of my favourite restaurants in Vancouver, as it offers a somewhat more polished venue for izakaya fare than, say, Guu Original, and the restaurant itself is easily accessible by public transit. If you’re in the mood for izakaya food but not in the mood to travel downtown, Suika is definitely a safe bet.
1626 West Broadway