Bars/Lounges · Beer · Fusion · Restaurants · Seafood · Special Occasion

Nights & Weekends – Pop-Up Restaurant and Bar

It’s my birthday week! L picked me up from the airport and told me I had one hour to get ready for our dinner reservation. His colleague M emailed him an article about a pop-up restaurant – Nights & Weekends. What interested L was that co-chefs Bern Glatz and Nick Berenyi collectively worked at Ten Foot Henry, Anju, Mercato, Bar Von Der Fels, and Una Pizza + Wine. He figured since we like all those restaurants, we would enjoy Nights & Weekends. As always, L is correct. For this post, let’s listen to “I Want To Hold Your Hand” by The Beattles.

On Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, Nights & Weekends takes over the space at Shiki Menya. The restaurant is dimly lit, with the exception of the glow of the pink neon sign. The tunes are rocking and the vibe is intimate.

kitchen

Initially, I was skeptical when the bartender informed us they only sell four wines – bubbles, rosé, white and red ($12 glass, $48 bottle). After sampling three of the four wines, I realized you don’t need a large selection if each bottle is well chosen. Kudos to Katie, an employee from Vine Arts who selects all the wine for Nights & Weekends.

bubbles

L ordered a pint of Asahi ($7) while I requested a glass of French bubbles ($12). I found the bubbles tight and clean tasting.

eggs

We ordered two servings of the Tamago ($4). The egg was cool and soft. As I slurped the egg back, it felt like I was eating an oyster. I enjoyed the restrained use of black sesame and chili oil. However, L’s portion received all the scallions. Luck of the draw.

egg close upThe Waygu Beef Tartare ($14) is a winner. L appreciated how the focus of dish was the meat rather than competing flavour of secondary ingredients. The beef tasted supremely fresh. I didn’t even want to use the potato chip because it would take away from the flavour of the waygu. As I chewed, I savoured the texture of the beef.  Oh so good.

tartare

The bartender recommended I try the Russine (2017) rosé with the wagyu tartare. He described this wine as a winter rosé. I was reluctant to try it because too often, I find rosé tart, sweet or fake tasting. He didn’t steer me wrong. The wine was heavy for a rosé and a little dry.  I would order this again.

rose

The Poached Tiger Prawn ($10) was the star of the night. This sandwich was off the hook. The kewpie sauce was light and just enough to bind and coat all the ingredients together. The pea shoots helped to cut into the mayo. The tobiko added a pop of the sea.

prawn

The prawns were plentiful and sweet. With each bite, proportionally, there was more shrimp than bun. We liked how the bun was squishy and mushable against the crunchy prawns.

brawn bite

The Handmade Pasta ($18) was unique. What I liked was the firmness and bite of the noodles. The combination of the cheese, guancialle (cured meat), dashi, gachujang (Korean red chili paste), mushrooms and nori reminded me a little of Kraft cheese, but in a good way.

psata

I drank one more glass of wine because I was having so much fun and I didn’t want to leave. The Maggiorina Vino Rosso (2018) was interesting. The wine hit my tongue hard but then mellowed out.

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In my opinion, this little pop-up restaurant competes with the best restaurants I’ve tried in this city and elsewhere. I love it so much, Nights & Weekends is making it on my list of favourite restaurants in Calgary. Hitting the Sauce gives Nights & Weekends two fat thumbs up.

Nights and Weekends Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Deli · Japanese · Restaurants · Sushi

Zipang Sushi Bar

I’ve been helping out a new colleague at work – Cayenne. She wanted to take me out for lunch as a thank you. I told her it was unnecessary but she insisted. Cayenne picked one of her favourite restaurants – Sushi Bar Zipang. For this post, let’s play something that suits this extreme cold weather. What will it be? Coldplay? Vanilla Ice? Nope, let’s listen to “Put Your Back Into It” by Ice Cube

Warning – vulgar language. 

Originally Cayenne reserved a table but when we arrived, we saw it was right next to the door. The owner/chef saw Cayenne, came out and immediately gave us a better table. Throughout our meal, extra special attention was paid to her. Damn girl! I had no idea you were a VIP.

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Cayenne ordered the tempura and sushi lunch special ($16.99). Ayecaramba ordered ebi fry and a California roll ($16.99). I picked the sushi lunch special ($18.99), which included a tuna maki roll, two pieces of ebi, tuna and salmon nigiri.  All lunch specials include miso soup, salad or rice.

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My miso soup was full of salty goodness. There were lots of tiny cubes of tofu and seaweed floating around.

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The salad was not your standard greens with a splash of dressing. We received baby corn and all the vegetables were fresh and crunchy.

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I was so intent on taking pictures of everyone else’s food, I forgot to take a picture of my own. Cayenne’s tempura was light and crispy. She oohed and ahhed over it and told us this is one dish she always orders at Zipang. Nice portion size too, she received two pieces of shrimp and three vegetables.

sushi.jpgThe sushi tasted fresh. I thought the rice was good, sticky in texture, the grains were firm, and the amount of vinegar and sugar in the rice was in my opinion, a taste bud pleasing balance.  Out of all the sushi, the salmon was my favourite, buttery and cool.

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Ayecaramba enjoyed her ebi and California rolls. I noticed she didn’t eat her potato salad. Tsk tsk. The Japanese make the best potato salad.

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After lunch, I bumped into Karplop at a meeting. She told me she stopped going to Zipang because she found the food inconsistent. After she heard about my experience she said she would try Zipang again. Her go-to spot is Roku in Royal Oak. I told her I found the food at Roku inconsistent. Ha. We can talk this forever, comparing notes on our experiences and inside tidbits.

Sushi Bar Zipang Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato