It’s no secret that Miku Restaurant is one of my favourite restaurants in Vancouver. I go there for a meal almost every time I’m in Vancouver. I’ve posted about them a couple of times already (Post #1, Post #2) but on each visit, I’ve had the opportunity to try different items on the menu. On this recent visit back in June, since uni (sea urchin) was not in season, the signature Miku roll, which is one of our favourite items, wouldn’t taste the same without it. Hence, this was a perfect opportunity for us to order all three varieties of oshi sushi from the menu to do a bit of a sampling. In all my previous visits, we’ve always just stuck with the Aburi Salmon Oshi Sushi as it is the item we look forward to most at Miku.
Like always, we started our dinner off with an order of the Ebi Fritters ($10). My friend C loves ebi fritters and Miku’s version is pretty tasty. The beer-battered tiger prawns are topped with a chili cream sauce.
Then came our platter of Aburi oshi sushi. Oshi sushi or “oshizushi” is also known as “pressed sushi” and is a specialty of Osaka, Japan. The sushi is formed in a wooden mold called “oshibako”. The chef first lines the bottom of the wooden mold with toppings and then puts a layer of rice over top of the toppings. He then presses the lid of the mold down to create a compact block. The sushi block (consisting of the rice and toppings) is then removed from the mold and cut into bite-sized rectangular pieces known as oshi sushi. The oshi sushi pieces are finished Aburi-style, where they are lightly flame-seared with charcoal to enhance the natural flavors of the fish.
We got two orders of the Aburi Salmon Oshi Sushi ($14 per order) as my friend C and I just can’t get enough of it. In fact, we like it so much that we each wanted an order to ourselves. This is definitely a must try item at Miku. The Aburi Salmon Oshi Sushi consists of local salmon pressed and dressed with soy and the creamy Miku sauce along with thin slices of jalapéno and cracked pepper. To me, of all the different types of fish that could be flame-seared or done Aburi-style, I find flame-seared or Aburi salmon to be the most interesting and unique. The searing with the torch actually changes the flavour characteristics of the salmon. Aburi salmon actually tastes more creamy and buttery than regular salmon and has a smoky charcoal flavour to it. I like how the seared salmon along with the creamy Miku sauce just melts in my mouth.
The second oshi sushi we tried was the Aburi Saba Oshi Sushi ($10). This was our first time trying this. It consisted of house cured mackeral, pressed and dressed with some Miku miso sauce. Even though I’m a huge saba fan and this saba tasted very fresh, I didn’t think it had much of a wow factor compared to the Aburi Salmon Oshi Sushi. The Aburi-style searing didn’t really transform the saba into anything really memorable. I’m glad I got to try it anyways as I’ve always been curious as to what it tasted like.
Last, but no least was the Aburi Ebi Oshi Sushi ($13). Again, this was a new item to us even though it has been on Miku’s menu for some time. We’ve always passed this up in favour of the Aburi Salmon Oshi Sushi as that is the item that everyone raves about. The Aburi Ebi Oshi Sushi consisted of ebi pressed and dressed with house made ume sauce and finished with lime zest. Normally, I’m not even a fan of ebi (cooked shrimp on sushi) so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’m really glad we decided to try it as this tasted amazing! I don’t think the ebi itself lends well to flame-searing as it doesn’t contain much fat. It is the flame-searing of the creamy house made ume sauce along with the lime zest really makes the dish while the ebi is there more for texture. For me, the Aburi Ebi Oshi Sushi has become a must order item on future visits along with the Aburi Salmon Oshi Sushi.
We kind of overdosed on oshi sushi during this meal. It was very filling because each piece of oshi sushi contained a lot of rice. In hindsight, it was probably not a smart idea to order all three varieties. However, I have no regrets as we got to try all three varieties side by side to compare. There is no doubt the Aburi Salmon Oshi Sushi is still my top favourite with the Aburi Ebi Oshi Sushi being a close second.
#2 – 1055 West Hastings Street (Guinness Tower)