Every year, the festival I look forward to most is undoubtedly Vancouver's Dine Out Festival. This year, I was "fortunate" enough to hit what you could call the "un-jackpot" by catching a cold right at the start of the festival. After an uneventful week of having to dream about sushi instead of eating it (yikes!), I finally recovered enough to make it to Miku Restaurant. Situated beside Canada Place overlooking Burrard Inlet, Miku has one of the most fantastic views of any restaurant in Vancouver.
Miku is well-known for its innovative modern Japanese dishes, particularly their Aburi sushi. The interior of the restaurant is very large, but despite this, they are virtually always busy and getting a table during peak hours is more often a challenge than not. Well, it always feels nice to know that there are an abundance of wealthy people in town, right? Either way, there were enough servers to handle the situation efficiently and my first dish arrived just as I finished copying the Dine Out dinner menu into my notebook.
The Miku Zen consisted of four small courses (seasonal items), meant to be consumed from right to left. I like how the servers at Miku take the time to introduce each item to you (and not in rapid fire!).
Aburi Maguro Sashimi - A
The Aburi Maguro Sashimi consisted of seared big eye tuna, tuna tartare and wasabi-masatake sauce. The tuna had more flavour to it than any other big eye tuna sashimi I have had, and it was a buttery, savoury flavour like miso. The sashimi has a slight tinge of spiciness from the wasabi.
Jidori Chicken Nanban - A-
The Jidori Chicken Nanban consisted of fried chicken dressed with sweet and sour soy, house made tartar sauce and basil-citrus slaw. I really enjoyed the dressing, which reminded me of a light pesto sauce. The chicken could be more tender, but the meat inside had sufficient moisture.
Pan-Seared Alaskan Scallop - A-
The Pan-Seared Alaskan Scallop was accompanied by a yukon potato purée and puttanesca (a tangy Italian dressing typically used with spaghetti). The flavours of the scallop were brought out very well and the scallop itself was quite juicy. However, I felt that the puttanesca was a little too strong to be the optimal pairing for the scallop.
Saikyo Miso Sablefish - A+
The eyecatching, bubbling Saikyo Miso Sablefish was perfectly grilled to a silky, smooth texture and had an irresistible buttery flavour. It was accompanied by yuzu-miso reduction, kale goma-ae and yuzu foam. The yuzu foam has a bright, citrusy flavour that does not overwhelm the sablefish.
Next to arrive was a plate of six pieces of Miku's Signature Sushi. Interestingly, the Miku Roll failed to make it to this plate of signature sushi.
Coal Harbour Roll - A-
Aburi Salmon Oshi - A+
The Coal Harbour Roll consisted of red tuna, Hokkaido scallops, asparagus, wasabi pickles, hamachi, shiso, moromi-miso and spicy negi-shio sauce. The flavour of the red tuna was the highlight of the roll and the scallops had a noticeably smooth and soft texture. The wasabi pickles and spicy negi-shio sauce provide a little spice to the roll. The Aburi Salmon Oshi is a must-try and I have had it every single time I have visited Miku (I lost track of how many times). The high-quality rice and very soft texture of the oshi sushi sets it apart from any other Aburi Salmon Oshi I have had. The searing of the top layer gives the oshi sushi a mouthwatering smoky flavour.
Aburi Tuna Oshi - A
Aburi Ebi Oshi - A+
Sunrise Roll - A-
The miso glaze that accompanied the Aburi Tuna Oshi did a good job of accentuating the flavour of the tuna. The seared pesto dressing on top of the Aburi Ebi Oshi was a perfect pairing to the delicious, juicy prawn. The Sunrise Roll, which consisted of wasabi marinated tuna, cucumber, red tuna, pickled wasabi, golden tobiko and wasabi aioli, had a mild creamy flavour and the different layers of tuna was a delight.
Manjari Chocolate Orange Cream - A
The finale to the Dine Out dinner menu was the Manjari Chocolate Orange Cream, which consisted of caramel crisp, orange reduction and vanilla ice-cream accompanied by an orange-flavoured chocolate bar. The chocolate bar had a nice crispy layer at the bottom, and I also enjoyed how the ice-cream absorbed some of the flavour from the orange-flavoured crumbs lining the back.
With first-class service and consistently high-quality and inventive dishes, Miku has remained on my list of favourites for a long time. Memorable dishes from previous visits not included in the Dine Out Dinner Menu include the Miku Roll (an Aburi style roll) and the Ebi Fritter, the best battered prawn I have had to date. The most unfortunate part of my visit was that by the time I headed to the exit, the mint chocolates sitting in the bowl on the hostess' booth were all gone! Next time, I'll know better and snatch one of those before I head over to my table.