I took L out for Valentine’s Day. I picked Sukiyaki House because he knows the owner’s son and he’s heard a lot about the restaurant’s legendary special dinner events. For this post, let’s listen to L’s favourite Japanese band, Tokyo No.1 Soul Set.
When I received a call from the restaurant to confirm my reservations, I was reminded of the complimentary customer parking available after 6:00 p.m. We were planning to Uber but when we learned of this awesome perk, L decided to drive. Sukiyaki House is a sleek, upscale Japanese restaurant in the downtown core. The picture below is of the washroom’s sink.
Within ten minutes of being seated, L waved at three people he knew from his place of employment, each sitting at different tables. Note to self – do not go nuclear.
I ordered a glass of Leiz “Eins-Zwel-Dry” Riesling ($11.00) and L predictably ordered a pint of Asahi ($7.00). We picked the Valentine’s Menu for Two ($95.00) plus a Sunset Cone ($6.00), Shake (Atlantic salmon, $2.60), Shake-Sockeye (Sockeye salmon, $3.00), Special Scallop ($3.50), Tako (steamed octopus, $2.80), Amaebi (sweet prawn + fried shrimp head ($3.50), and Hokkigai (surf clam, $2.80).
The nori in the Sunset Roll was crisp, layered with smoked salmon, scallop, cucumber, romaine lettuce, capelin roe and mayo. The flavours of all the ingredients were clean and simple.
The generous portion of Spicy Black Tiger Prawns pleasantly surprised me. The prawns were large and crunchy, lightly battered with a hot kick to it. A squeeze of lemon made this dish pop. I would order this again.
We enjoyed our extra order of nigiri. Each piece contained well-seasoned rice with the proper proportion of fish to rice. I found the fish quality superior to Zipang and Red Ember, and I like those restaurants.
We started off with the Chef’s Choice Fish Carpaccio. The arugula was crisp and peppery. The ponzu was light and bright. Make sure you eat the fish with all the ingredients in one bite. Delicious.
The oshizushi was different than my Vancouver experiences at Miku. Sukiyaki House is more delicate and healthy tasting, the use of torch more subtle and there’s less of a reliance on a heavy mayonnaise glaze. The ikura was slippery, slightly salty and fresh tasting.
Our server forgot our organic miso soup. I’m glad I reminded her because this is one of the best miso soups I’ve tried. The miso wasn’t overly salty, filled with oyster mushrooms and enoki.
The dishes were really coming fast when we received the Beef Tataki. Our server asked L to finish the last piece of oshizushi so she could move the plate to make room for the tataki.
The beef tataki was a stunner. The beef was a brilliant ruby red. I could taste citrus in the sauce. The daikon was cool on the tongue. Excellent.
We shared six pieces of assorted nigiri. The best of the bunch was the ebi shrimp. The shrimp was noticeably sweet with a pleasant crunchy texture. This is normally my least favourite nigiri. However, when I return to Sukiyaki House, I’ll have to order it again.
Dessert consisted of spinach sponge cake parfait. The fresh strawberries and the crunch of drizzled hardened chocolate was out of this world delicious. I liked the tartness of the kumquat and grapes. The addition of cornflakes gave a nice contrast to the rest of the ingredients.
I’m not surprised I enjoyed the food so much. My previous favourite sushi restaurant was Sushi Club, which closed a few years ago. One of the owners and chef of Sushi Club – Steve-San – is now at Sukiyaki House. The head chef is Koji Kobayashi who was professionally trained in ‘kaiseki’, the highest form of Japanese dining. There’s also a third chef who previously worked at Shokunin.
My work friends are coming with me for lunch at Sukiyaki House for Big Taste of Calgary. L and I plan on returning to try the entire menu. Sukiyaki House is a tiny bit pricier than other restaurants, but the ambience and quality of the food make it more than worth it. Hitting the Sauce gives Sukiyaki House two fat thumbs up and this fine ass Japanese restaurant makes it on my list of favourite restaurants in Calgary.