Gyoza KingPosted: 11/22/2012
Gyoza King is one of those restaurants I’ve always meant to visit but ended up putting off for years (also in that lineup: Las Margaritas, The Naam…). Lucky for me, SB and I went on an impromptu shopping trip down Robson Street one Friday night, and we were out of ideas for a restaurant to visit. While on the bus, I randomly came up with Gyoza King, and he, having visited it previously for lunch, agreed. After a somewhat disappointing shopping excursion, we were seated promptly and began perusing the menu for eats.
Also, this is the first post with photos from my new camera! I know next to nothing about photography, but ended up purchasing a Nikon D5100 as my starter camera. In terms of the blog, this means better photos (hopefully) but I’m still on a learning curve, so please excuse any less-than-excellent photos!
On the topic of less-than-excellent photos…my photo of the Tuna Toro Sashimi ($10) was much too embarrassingly blurry to post. Too bad because it was probably our favourite dish of the night. The sashimi came in the form of about five thick slices, on a bed of onion slivers doused in what they called “sweet sauce”, which tasted like a typical Japanese ponzu dressing. SB and I really enjoyed the toro, as it was not too fishy, although he and I both thought that it had been seared a little too much. I suppose toro is nothing special, but it was enjoyable nonetheless.
Next up, since we were at Gyoza King, it was mandatory that we try the gyoza. I chose the Nira Gyoza ($5.25 for 6, $7.25 for 10), accompanied by soy sauce for dipping. SB wasn’t too impressed by these, and I suppose that considering that the gyoza is their specialty, it wasn’t all too exceptional. These had a nice crispy exterior though, and were fried nicely without being too greasy, with a savoury pork and chive filling. The filling was moist and flavourful, which I liked. For some reason, of the six gyoza that we ordered, the three on the left were enjoyably crispy, while the three on the right were a little too gummy.
Being incredibly hungry (as always), SB ordered the Negitoro Don ($9). I feel that SB is becoming somewhat of an expert on negitoro dons. Every time we visit a restaurant where it is an option, he’ll order it. Well, drawing on his expertise, SB noted that the rice wasn’t sushi rice, which detracted from his whole experience. He also wasn’t impressed with the toro, which simply tasted like a more mushed up tuna. Strange considering we had perfectly enjoyable toro sashimi just moments before. He also found the portion size too small considering the price.
Being in the mood for noodles, I decided on the Salmon Yaki Udon ($9) off their sheet of specials. Although the noodles were nicely chewy, they left behind a pool of water beneath them, which wasn’t exactly appetizing to look at. There was also an obvious lack of ingredients, with only two small bunches of enoki mushrooms. The pieces of salmon, meanwhile, were pathetic, being incredibly bland and not adding anything to the dish.
We also shared the Okonomiyaki ($6.50), a type of Japanese pancake made primarily of cabbage, among other ingredients. I was against ordering this at first, because I’m trying to stay away from deep-fried foods as per my diet, but I eventually succumbed. Still, this didn’t measure up to my expectations. It wasn’t crispy like I expect my delicious deep-fried guilty pleasures to be, and the portion size was rather small. Also, there was way too much sauce drenching this small half-pancake, which only added to the mushy texture. I definitely would not order this again and preferred the okonomiyaki at Guu, despite their overuse of mustard.
Lastly, SB added an order of Spicy Salmon Sashimi ($9). I’m not sure what we were expecting, but this wasn’t it. This reminded us a lot of Sushi Garden, our neighbourhood sushi joint. Don’t get me wrong, we both like Sushi Garden, but it is Korean-run, and we simply expected something more authentically Japanese from Gyoza King. The sauce here was quite spicy, but had no other distinct or redeeming flavours. The portion size was also quite small, with only two pieces of cucumber. The salmon was of a standard quality and nothing special.
All in all, both of us were quite disappointed by our meal at Gyoza King. It was strange, since we’d heard so many positive reviews of the place and SB himself had had an overwhelmingly positive experience previously. The items we sampled were edible but had obvious issues, and none of the dishes were memorable. Although the service was friendly and efficient, I felt that the food was actually quite mediocre. Despite having ordered a variety of dishes, SB was still quite hungry and managed to polish off a chicken teriyaki don at Donburiya across the street. Next time, I would rather visit one of the many other izakayas in the area, like my beloved Guu.
1508 Robson Street