A couple of days before my visit to Vancouver last month, my foodie friend Grayelf told me about one of the newest sushi restaurants to open up on Commercial Drive, Kishimoto Japanese Kitchen & Sushi Bar. After reading the article in the Vancouver Sun about this restaurant, I was intrigued. The chef and owner, Akira Kishimoto, had previously worked at Ajisai Sushi in Kerrisdale and at Zipang on Main Street. I’d been to Ajisai for sushi a couple of years ago and was quite impressed with the quality of their food. Hence, I decided to join Grayelf and her family to check out Kishimoto when I was in town.
We started off with an order of the Tako Sunomono ($5.50) and an order of the Wakame Sunomono ($3.95). The Tako Sunomono consisted of octopus, rice noodles, seaweed marinated in a housemade vinaigrette. The Wakame Sunomono was pretty much the same as the Tako Sunomono except without the octopus. This sunomono was actually one of the best versions that I’ve tasted. Even though the rice noodles were a bit clumpy, I really liked the complexity of flavours in the vinaigrette and was pleasantly surprised to taste a subtle smokiness.
Next up was the Tuna Sashimi ($6.95 for 6 pieces). The tuna was fresh and tasty. We also tried one of the daily specials, the Ahi Tuna and Avocado Wedges ($12.95). The Ahi Tuna and Avocado Wedges consisted of ahi tuna sashimi that were served on avocado wedges and topped with a yuzu miso. This was actually one of highlights of the meal for me. The yuzu miso really made the dish for me. I loved the bright, unique citrus flavour from the yuzu against the creaminess of the avocado. It was a burst of harmonious flavours all in one bite.
When we saw that they had the Salmon Oshi Sushi ($9.75), we definitely wanted to try it. It consisted of sockeye salmon layered with a creamy sauce and was torched and topped with thin slices of jalapeno. I had tried a similar version of this dish at Miku Restaurant before. In fact, the Aburi Salmon Oshi Sushi is actually one of the signature dishes at Miku and definitely one of my favourite. Kishimoto’s Salmon Oshi Sushi was very tasty and I loved the combination of flavours. However, in comparison to Miku’s I personally thought that version from Miku was a bit better as the salmon melted in my mouth more and the rice was softer. Having said that, this dish is a fraction of the price at $9.75 compared to $14 at Miku. For the rest of my dining companions who had not yet been to Miku, they thought this Salmon Oshi Sushi was amazing and easily their favourite dish of the evening. I would not hesitate to order this dish again on my next visit to Kishimoto as it is very tasty and great value. I like how the torching imparts a different flavour to the salmon. We also tried the Nasu Dengaku ($4.95), which consisted of deep-fried eggplant with a sweet miso sauce. The eggplant was tender, soft and flavourful.
We had ordered a bunch of nigiri sushi and rolls. When the platter arrived, we were in awe at the presentation. Chef Kishimoto had used a thin, translucent sheet of daikon wrapped around a tea light candle to create the look of an alabaster candle on the platter. A bouquet of pinwheels were made from thin sheets of daikon and edamame. I have rarely seen presentation so intricate and elaborate at a sushi restaurant, especially for a place where the prices are so reasonable, relatively speaking. From the nigiri selection, we ordered 3 pieices of Maguro ($1.25 each), 2 pieces of Unagi ($2.00 each), 2 pieces of Tamago ($1.50 each), 2 pieces of Toro ($2.00 each), and a piece each of the Hokki ($1.25) and Hamachi ($2.00). For rolls, we ordered a Chopped Scallop Roll ($3.75) and a Vegetable Roll ($3.50). The Chopped Scallop Roll contained scallop, cucumber, tobiko and mayo while the Vegetable Roll contained cucumber, avocado, radish sprouts, red cabbage, lettuce, spinach, red & yellow peppers, and shredded carrot.
We also tried the Mamenoki Roll ($7.95). It consisted of edamame, cornflakes, carrot, asparagus, mayo, and was topped with avocado. Again, Chef Kishimoto used edamame and tomato spaghetti noodles to create a whimsical presentation. When Grayelf saw there was Okonomyaki ($8.50) on the menu, she was excited to try it. Okonomyaki is a Japanese savoury omelette/pancake containing flour, grated yam, dashi, eggs, shredded cabbage, and may contain other ingredients such as green onion, meat, seafood, vegetables, and sometimes even cheese. The Okonomyaki at Kishimoto is prepared Osaka style and is filled with cabbage, green onions and tempura bits.
For cooked items, we also tried the Salmon Kama ($7.50) and the Ebi Harusame ($6.75). The Salmon Kama consisted of grilled salmon cheeks with garlic chips and ponzu sauce. The Ebi Harusame consisted of Japanese style popcorn shrimp with scallions, garlic and chili served on top of harusame noodles. This wasn’t quite the version we were hoping for. We were hoping that the shrimp would be rolled in chopped harusame noodles as a unique crispy coating instead. The “popcorn” shrimp was just ok. I would have liked the batter to be more crispy and light. I thought there was a little too much batter coating the shrimp.
We finished the meal off with housemade Yuzu Ice Cream ($3.95). Yuzu is a citrus fruit indigenous to East Asia. It has the appearance of a small grapefruit and a unique, tart flavour resembling that of a grapefruit crossed with a Mandarin orange. The Yuzu Ice Cream was delicious. I loved how the tartness from the yuzu is offset by the creaminess of the ice cream.
Overall, I thought the food at Kishimoto was very solid and well-executed. The prices are inexpensive considering the quality of food delivered. I’d definitely be back to Kishimoto again and I can’t wait to have the Yuzu Ice Cream for dessert again. I think the secret is already out as the place was really busy when we went. I’d definitely recommend that you make reservations before attempting to go, especially on a weekend.
Kishimoto Japanese Kitchen & Sushi Bar – Vancouver, BC
2054 Commercial Drive