Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Episode #172: Aki Japanese Restaurant

Vancouver (West End), $$$$ (Luxury), $$ (Moderately Priced) with the lunch combos

I often like to actively participate in my classes because it helps me remember the information and keeps me from getting distracted. However, participation does not come easily if you had completed the pre-requisites for a course two years ago and have my memory. Combined with the fact that the lecture was held in the morning, my attempts to participate turned into awkward staring sessions with the prof and an abundance of laughter from my classmates. Well, at least I was entertaining. I contemplated ways to increase my memory and IQ, and of course, the solution was staring at me in the eye: a delicious round of sushi.

After the lecture, I did my usual and sleep-travelled to Aki Japanese Restaurant, a well-known authentic Japanese restaurant situated right next to Coal Harbour. Aki's current location has a trendy upscale interior, and it was filled with the scent of lemon meringue pie when I walked in (I'm not sure why). The menu focused on traditional Japanese dishes, and the lunch combos were noticeably cheaper than the standard items. In order to get the weirdest look possible from the waitresses, I decided to order two lunch combos.

Miso Soup - A-

Each of my combos came with a Miso Soup, and fortunately, both were well-prepared. The Miso Soup came with seaweed, green onion, and tofu. It was served at just the right temperature and had a well-balanced flavour.

Next to arrive was the Sushi Combo.

Tuna Sashimi - A-
Salmon Sashimi - A

The sashimi was cut into tiny pieces that were each barely the size of a Pink Pearl eraser. However, both of types of sashimi were very fresh. The salmon had a pleasant buttery flavour, while the tuna had a delectable smooth texture.

California Roll - B+
Salmon Roll - B
Cucumber Roll - B
Tuna Roll - B+

Next up was the standard maki sushi, a place where miracles rarely occur. The California Roll had a good balance of flavours but was slightly dry. The hosomaki rolls on the right were standard fare too. I enjoyed the rich flavour of the seaweed and the decent projection of flavour from the inner ingredients, but there were also issues such as a small bland clump of rice that I found in the Salmon Roll.

Ebi Nigiri - B+
Tuna Nigiri - A-
Tai Nigiri - A-
Salmon Nigiri - B+

With the nigiri, the sushi rice was a touch dry for my liking, but the toppings exhibited ample freshness. The Ebi Nigiri was sweet and had a nice crunch to it. The Tuna Nigiri featured soft, melty tuna, and the Tai Nigiri was also delightfully soft. 

Perhaps Aki's most famous dish is its black cod, so I felt compelled to order the Black Cod Lunch Set. At this point, I received strange looks from not only the servers, but from the diners beside me as well. With my notebook out and everything, I took up the entire dining space next to me (I was sitting at the sushi bar). Go me...

Ebi Sunomono - B+

The Ebi Sunomono was especially sweet and came with soft baby shrimp. The sunomono was on the milder side, and it was very light on the vinegar. The "soup" was quite drinkable. I would prefer a little more punch from the vinegar. 

Marinated Black Cod - A-

The Marinated Black Cod was a hit and a featured a delicious grilled flavour. You can take a large chunk and have the juiciness of the cod melt in your mouth. It wasn't the best black cod I've had though, and it would benefit from a slightly stronger miso flavour. 

Overall, the service was very friendly and professional. This is my second visit to Aki (the first was before I started this blog), and this visit confirmed my initial impression that Aki was consistent but did not provide any surprisingly outstanding dishes. What was surprising though was the fact that I had consumed both combos and taken all my notes and photos in the span of just 25 minutes. That is faster than the time it takes me to figure out how to operate the washing machine. I believe I have finally eaten enough sushi to activate my super saiyan food blogging abilities.

Aki Japanese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Selina said...

"In order to get the weirdest look possible from the waitresses, I decided to order two lunch combos." I can totally relate LMAOO!!!

Are you taking summer courses? :D

Raymond Zeng said...

Selina, you're like a more epic version of me when it comes to the amount of food ordered!

I'm taking one course and TAing one course this summer. My brain can't handle any more lmao.

LotusRapper said...

Um .....


Raymond Zeng said...

Lol "my brain is full" might actually explain my stupidity and forgetfulness as of late.

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