Saturday, January 14, 2017

Episode #212: Kibo Restaurant and Lounge

Vancouver (Yaletown), $$$$ (Luxury)

Groupons are wonderful things, but unfortunately, they also have expiry dates. A while back, I managed to snag a Groupon for Kibo Restaurant and Lounge during one of Groupon's extra 20% off sales. While $26 for a dinner for two in the heart of Yaletown's wallet-destroying restaurant district sounds too good to be true, it was why I made every effort I could to get Tamsen to join me after our escape games to take advantage of this fabulous deal. It turns out that escape rooms get quite busy during winter break, and we couldn't make it to Kibo until 8:15 p.m. By then, Yaletown was dead quiet, and the only signs of life were the faint roaring sounds and lit skies coming from the Contact Winter Music Festival.

Kibo Restaurant and Lounge is an upscale izakaya with many fusion dishes and an extensive array of cocktails. Tamsen suggested that I try one of their saketinis, but since I wanted to get home alive, I politely declined. There are some traditional Japanese items on the menu too, and these tend to be on the higher end in terms of price, much in line with other Yaletown restaurants.

Miso Soup - B+

We were started with two bowls of Miso Soup garnished with green onion, tofu, and wakame. They used darker miso paste here for a richer flavour, though it was a bit high in the salt content.

Salmon Tartare - A

The most innovative dish of the night was the Salmon Tartare, an amalgamation of salmon, onion, cilantro, avocado, and oba tempura. The tempura oba leaf was very well executed with just the right amount of crispiness. The savoury marinated salmon was also an excellent contrast to the tart zing from the minuscule pieces of cilantro. The well-integrated contrasting flavours and textures made this dish my favourite of the dinner.

Japanese Short Ribs - A-

The marinated BBQ short ribs were tender and had a delicious, smoky flavour. There were five pieces in total, and the marinade was neither too salty nor too sweet.

Chicken Karaage - A-

The Chicken Karaage was served piping hot and was juicy and tender. There was a good mix of spices on the batter, and I enjoyed this karaage almost as much as the one from Mogu Japanese Street Eats.

Aburi Block Sushi - B+

The Aburi Block Sushi came with thin slices of salmon, boatloads of spicy mayonnaise, and jalapeño pepper on top. Although the spicy mayo gave the sushi a creamier texture, it was too much for Tamsen and got him desperately asking for water. It also made it hard to taste the salmon underneath. However, the rice was well-prepared and packed correctly.

Tarako Udon - A-

Our final dish, the Tarako Udon, consisted of pan-fried udon noodles with bacon, scallop, prawns, and cod roe. The udon noodles had a nice rebound, and the seafood-flavoured sauce went well with the toppings. I suppose this was supposed to be our filler, but it was only enough to make one of us full.

The service was friendly, and the food did not disappoint. By the time we were finishing up, we were the only diners left in the restaurant. However, Kibo isn't always so empty. On another occasion, I went back with a group of 10 for some drinks on a Friday evening, and they were so crowded that there was no way they could accommodate us even if we all split up.

Kibo Restaurant and Lounge Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Curiously Carmen said...

I've always been hesitant buying Groupons from restaurants but this place sounds decent! I'll have to purchase a Groupon here if it pops up again!

Raymond Zeng said...

The Groupon is still available!

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