Hi GenkiPosted: 12/04/2012
The conditions for this meal at Hi Genki: it’s my parents’ anniversary, and they’re not in the mood to go for anything too heavy. Also, they want to have lunch and then go shopping at Metrotown after. Being the family encyclopedia for restaurant-related information, I suggested we try Hi Genki, a Japanese restaurant located inside the Nikkei Home, an assisted living facility next to the National Nikkei Heritage Centre.
In high school, I spent a fair number of my Saturday mornings volunteering at a care facility, and the food there didn’t look very appetizing, consisting mainly of purees and such. As a result, I didn’t feel exactly enthusiastic about food prospects at an assisted living facility, but blog reviews of Hi Genki seemed too positive to ignore. Plus, they have their food displayed (with prices), so that helped dispel my anxiety about the food. Judging from the plastic wrap, this is the actual food, and not some plastic model like they have at some restaurants. Pretty neat!
To share, we started with the Salmon Salad ($4.50) off their sheet of specials. This was served with some kind of citrus soy dressing, which we chose to keep on the side as a sort of dip for the salmon. This was a great salad, with the veggies being crisp and fresh. The salmon was a bit too dry, but dipping it in the dressing gave it enough moisture and flavour. The salmon itself was not too oily, having been grilled. My parents appreciated that this was a healthy choice that was still enjoyable for all of us.
My parents have been quite health-conscious lately, so I was a bit worried that they wouldn’t be able to find anything appropriate on the menu. Fortunately, my dad found something he wanted on the sheet of specials: the Oden Tei ($9.95). This was a huge portion of oden (Japanese fish cakes) with potatoes, tofu skins, and radish, served with a bowl of white rice. The broth was not too salty, with everything tasting quite mild. My dad especially liked the taste of the oden itself. A lot of the time, Korean fish cake is filled with MSG, and is made up mostly of flour rather than the fish itself. Here, my dad was sufficiently satisfied with the fish content. The dish, as a whole, had an excellent variety of ingredients, and was a bargain for the price we paid.
My brother and mom ordered two very similar dishes, so I’ll just talk about them together. She had the Oyako Don and he the Gyu Don (both $7.95), both bowls of rice, steamed egg, onion slivers, and daishi broth, with chicken and beef, respectively. They both enjoyed their meals, with my mom pronouncing that she enjoyed how clean her oyako don was. By “clean”, I’m pretty sure she meant that the chicken wasn’t gamy, which is a common complaint she has about chicken. The gyu don had very tender beef, and the ingredients all complemented each other nicely. Often when I order an oyako don, the daishi broth pools at the bottom, leaving the last of the rice too soggy and salty to enjoy, Here, even when they were both nearly done, the amount of sauce was fine for the amount of rice left, and they both finished all the food left in their bowls. The key point about any oyako don is that it is supposed to be simple, and this was perfect.
I, meanwhile, went for something boring in the Kitsune Udon ($6.95). This was nice and simple. The noodles were satisfyingly chewy, but I found the aburaage (deep-fried tofu pockets) a little too sweet. They didn’t fit in with the mild broth. Also, there were some lemon rind bits floating in the broth, and biting into them left a very unpleasant aftertaste. I would say that I enjoyed the other dishes more than my udon, even though it was still quite good.
That concludes our lunch at Hi Genki. Despite being in an odd location, the food here is great and authentic. Trendy it is not, but it’s a perfect place to visit with family, especially with children. The tables are nicely spread out, and the waitresses are friendly enough without being overbearing. We had a great experience here, and will definitely return.
6680 Southoaks Crescent