Shokai Tasting Menu at Miku Restaurant, VancouverJanuary 11th, 2013 by Michael Kwan
Miku is decidedly upscale and incredibly chic. They’re not trying to be as authentic as possible to Japanese cuisine, but rather they’re trying to be creative and innovative with their menu. The decor is much the same way, looking more like a hip lounge than a sushi restaurant, complete with plenty of mood lighting.
The only part of the restaurant with “normal” lighting is the sushi preparation area. It is here that you can see them take out the blowtorches for Miku’s signature “aburi” sushi. These are nigiri pieces that have been torched slightly, giving you an almost barbecue smokiness. Then, instead of soy sauce and wasabi, each individual piece is topped with a different house made sauce.
Since this was our first time at Miku, we decided to try the taster menu. The Miku Shokai ($80/person) offers “an introduction to the Miku experience through an assortment of our trademark dishes from the kitchen, sushi and pastry chefs.” It’s certainly not cheap, but you get a pretty good variety, including fresh sashimi, ebi fritters (which was similar to an ebi mayo), and a sampling of the aburi sushi.
Shown above are the Ebi Fritters. They are Sapporo beer-battered tiger prawns with a chili cream sauce. The batter was very delicate, making for a nice light crisp. The dash of paprika was a nice touch too.
The Saikyo Miso Sablefish was remarkably flavorful with the marinade making its way through the entirety of the fish. I particularly like the crispy skin. It was accompanied by eggplant, spinach, yuzu dashi broth, and a yuzu miso foam. The broth was very good too.
The pesto-based sauce on the ebi nigiri (prawn) was quite different, making the piece of sushi almost taste like it belonged in an Italian restaurant.
This is Miku’s signature Aburi Salmon Oshi Sushi. You get “local salmon pressed and dressed with our chef’s own soy & Miku sauce, topped with jalapéno.” The fatty salmon works very well with the aburi treatment, especially since there was some salmon in the middle of the pressed sushi rice too.
When you dine at Miku in the evening, especially with those lights changing colors above you, it almost feels like you are eating your dinner at a quiet nightclub. This is not your regular sushi restaurant and it is priced accordingly. No, it’s not cheap, but the quality of the dishes is definitely up there and they are more creative.
It is absolutely true that you are paying for that atmosphere and ambiance. With a couple of drinks, taxes and tips, dinner came to about $230 for two people. If you have that kind of money to spend, Miku does offer something different. I wouldn’t come here on a frequent basis, to be sure, but as an extra special treat, it’s worth considering.
If you want something even more special, you can opt for the $100/person Miku Omakase. Here, the chefs will put together a special menu that goes beyond Miku’s regular items. The Omakase requires 72-hour notice.
Filed under Food and Drink.