UPDATE: As of May 1, 2012, Sushi Kimura has been sold and Kimura-san is no longer the chef there.
Sushi Kimura is one of my favourite restaurants in Vancouver. I’d been there for omakase four times already on previous visits to Vancouver (Visit #1, Visit #2, Visit #3, Visit #4). When I was visiting again back in November, I made it a point to go for lunch at Sushi Kimura. That is because I found out that Kimura-san makes Okonomyaki on weekends during his lunch service. 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. I had never had Okonomyaki before and tried it for the first time at Kishimoto Japanese Kitchen & Sushi Bar. I was curious to see how Kimura-san’s version compares. Also, I wanted to go for lunch at Sushi Kimura because I wanted to try ordering a la carte. Normally for dinner, I would never want to pass up an opportunity to have omakase so I never really get a chance to order items off the menu that I’m curious about. It didn’t take much convincing to get Grayelf to join my friend C and myself for lunch at Sushi Kimura.
We started off with one of the special Miso Ramen Set ($13.50), which came with a bowl of Miso Ramen as well as an Okonomyaki. One thing to note is that these Ramen Sets are only available on weekends. The Miso Ramen came with a few slices of chashu pork, corn, half a hard-boiled egg, some sprouts, some wakame (seaweed) and some negi (chopped spring onion) on top. The light miso broth was flavourful and the ramen noodles were fairly firm, just the way I like them. Although the ramen was pretty tasty, we ordered the set not so much for the ramen but mainly for the Okonomyaki. The Okonomyaki was topped with a slightly sweet okonomyaki sauce, Japanese mayo, katsuobushi (bonito flakes), and aonori (seaweed flakes). Compared to the version from Kishimoto, I liked this version at Sushi Kimura much better as it was crispier. It was actually one of the highlights of our lunch and I’d definitely be back again on my next trip to Vancouver to have this Okonomyaki.
Next we ordered one of the signature items at Sushi Kimura, the Spicy Tuna Sashimi on Crispy Rice ($4.50 for 2 pieces). The Spicy Tuna Sashimi on Crispy Rice is almost like a Japanese version of a crispy taco. The crispy sushi rice cracker is first lined with a ooba leaf to prevent the cracker from getting soggy. It is then topped with finely chopped spicy tuna sashimi and slices of jalapeno and is finished with a variety of sauces. I didn’t know what I was missing out on until I tried it for the first time during this lunch. After the first bite, I knew what all the hype was about as it was like a flavour explosion in my mouth. This was actually my other favourite item of this lunch along with the Okonomyaki.
We then tried two types of tempura. The Okra Tempura ($2.50), which is on the regular menu, and the Shishito Pepper Tempura ($5.50), which was one of the daily specials. The okra and shishito peppers were coated in a light tempura batter and fried to perfection. Amazingly, the okra did not taste slimy at all and the peppers were still toothsome. I thought these were a nice change from the typical vegetable tempura and I would definitely order these again on my next visit.
Next up was the Sautéed Eggplant with Miso Sauce ($3.00). The eggplant was perfectly toothsome and not mushy. But I did find the accompanying sauce to be a touch on the thicker side.
Grayelf wanted to try the Yaki Onigiri with Salmon Flakes ($2.50 for 2 pieces). The Yaki Onigiri are grilled rice cakes. These were actually my least favourite item of this lunch. I wish the rice cakes would be a little more crispy on the outside. In general, they were a bit chewy and on the bland side. Also, I found the salmon flakes to be quite dry.
Since I’d never tried any of the Yakitori (Grilled Chicken on Bamboo Skewers) at Sushi Kimura, I decided to try the Nasumaki ($3.00 for 2 skewers), which consisted of eggplant wrapped in chicken breast along with green peppers. The chicken was tender and the eggplant was toothsome. Overall, these skewers were tasty and I would order them again.
The last item we tried was the Satsuma age ($4.50). The Satsuma age was one of the daily specials and is not part of the regular menu. It was basically a fried fish cake and was topped with grated daikon and ginger. I liked that the fish cake had a nice springy texture to it.
Kimura-san surprised us with a complimentary dessert. The dessert consisted of a fruit salad containing honeydew, cantaloupe, strawberries, and persimmon. It was served with an ice cream that Kimura-san had made by hand as he does not have an ice cream maker. The flavour of the ice cream was really complex and unique as he had reduced balsamic vinegar and mixed it with caramel. The fruit salad and ice cream was topped with a creamy sauce made of tofu and mascarpone. It was definitely a creative dessert.
Overall, I enjoyed our lunch at Sushi Kimura. The real standouts for me were the Okonomyaki, the Spicy Tuna Sashimi on Crispy Rice, as well as the Okra Tempura and the Shishito Pepper Tempura.
3883 Rupert Street