Fusion - Vancouver Restaurants

 

Toratatsu Japanese Tapas Bistro (Denman)

Toratatsu Japanese Tapas Bistro (web site, map, 735 Denman Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada, phone: 604-685-9399) is yet another excellent Japanese Izakaya (tapas) restaurant in Vancouver; this one is run by the same family who previously operated the superb (but now closed) Shiru Bay Chopstick Cafe in Yaletown.

At Toratatsu the Uno family has created a space that looks like a cozy New York bistro, but with a definite Japanese vibe that they say “would fit downtown Tokyo perfectly.” Chef Kodai Uno, 26, trained at the Pacific Institute of Culinary arts and at French restaurant L’Emotion, and is the youngest in a family of professional chefs. He brings a great deal of creativity and skill to his kitchen, crafting modern Japanese tapas with a fusion twist.

itadakimasu, a reviewer on DineHere.ca writes (click here to read review):

I was getting a little tired of Gyoza King and Hapa (which I both still like) so had to try this place. The decor is cool and comfy. The service friendly (always smiling) and the food was great! familiar dishes like Agedashi Tofu but with a twist (yama imo potato on top with tasty sauce). We also had the daikon salad (those are little fish sprinkled on top) which was so good, had to order a second.

My friends and I were quite hungry so we sampled a lot of delicious dishes (some pictured below).

For an order of chef’s special sashimi ($15.80) we chose the saba (mackerel), scallops, and salmon. The mackerel and scallops were seared with a blow torch right at our table, which made for quite the fiery entertainment!

The crab avocado salad ($8.80) was delicate and light, combining two of my favorite ingredients in a most favorable way.

The Ebi Chili Mayo ($8.00, deep fried prawn with Japanese mayonnaise and hot chili sauces) was gigantic and disappeared in a flash.

The Cheese Tofu ($6.80) looked like a fancy dessert cheese with strawberries, slivered almonds, and a sweet glaze, but tasted like a combination of custard, tofu, and a soft brie cheese. We also tried the Ishiyaki Risotto ($8.30) which was a nice sticky rice mixed with some succulent seafood.

My friends also ordered the Smoke Kissed Duck ($8.80), the Tarako Kimchi Udon ($7.80), and the Sashimi salad ($8.80), which looked amazing but I didn’t get a chance to try them. Hopefully next time!

Sashimi Salad from Toratatsu Japanese restaurant in downtown Vancouver ($8.80)

Sashimi Salad from Toratatsu Japanese restaurant in downtown Vancouver ($8.80)

Crab Avocado salad ($8.80) from Toratatsu Japanese Tapas restaurant in the West End of Vancouver (Denman).

Crab Avocado salad ($8.80) from Toratatsu Japanese Tapas restaurant in the West End of Vancouver (Denman).

Chefs special Sashimi ($15.80) from Toratatsu in Vancouver (being seared with a blow torch!)

Chef's special Sashimi ($15.80) from Toratatsu in Vancouver (being seared with a blow torch!)

Another shot of the Chefs special sashimi from Toratatsu Japanese restaurant in Vancouver.

Another shot of the Chef's special sashimi from Toratatsu Japanese restaurant in Vancouver.

Smoke kissed duck ($8.80) from Toratatsu on Denman Street in Vancouver.

Smoke kissed duck ($8.80) from Toratatsu on Denman Street in Vancouver.

Ebi Chili Mayo (deep fried prawn, $8.00) - wonderful!! from Toratatsu Japanese Tapas Bistro in Vancouver

Ebi Chili Mayo (deep fried prawn, $8.00) - wonderful!! from Toratatsu Japanese Tapas Bistro in Vancouver

Ishiyaki Seafood Risotto ($8.30) from Toratatsu Japanese Tapas in Vancouver.

Ishiyaki Seafood Risotto ($8.30) from Toratatsu Japanese Tapas in Vancouver.

Cheese Tofu ($6.80, a nice sweet dessert or appetizer) - with strawberries and slivered almonds. From Toratatsu Japanese restaurant in Vancouver BC Canada.

Cheese Tofu ($6.80, a nice sweet dessert or appetizer) - with strawberries and slivered almonds. From Toratatsu Japanese restaurant in Vancouver BC Canada.

Toratatsu on Urbanspoon

12,633 views - Posted Thursday, May 7th, 2009

 

r.tl regional tasting lounge (Yaletown, downtown)

r.tl regional tasting lounge (web site, map, 1130 Mainland Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada, phone: 604-638-1550) is a recent (and notable!) addition to the upscale Yaletown restaurant and shopping district of downtown Vancouver.

Late on a Saturday night, a friend and I were wandering the misty streets of this former warehouse district, and poked our heads into a bunch of nice looking restaurants such as Capones Jazz Club (which has live jazz every night), George Lounge (a cocktail bar), and Milestones (a chain restaurant with upscale decor). After a glass of wine and a chicken salad at Milestones, we were looking to go some place “cooler” and chill out the rest of the evening.

We meandered over to Mainland Street and were intrigued by the mysterious looking sign that simply said “r.tl”, like some kind of secret code for a fabulous New York hideaway that only a few locals know about. This may be closer to reality than one may think – Vancouver’s food scene is getting to be well known on the international stage, offering some dining experiences that are as every bit exciting and substantial as the most prized eateries in New York and Paris.

While making trips around the world to try new restaurants may be a pastime of the privileged few, r.tl has a new concept that lets the ingredients, recipes, and traditions of fine regional cuisines of the world appear in the easily accessed (and perhaps more affordable) realm of its sleek, laid-back dining room. r.tl is called a “regional tasting lounge” for a reason, as the restaurant rotates its menu every quarter through different culinary locales, choosing two complimentary world regions to accompany the local fare of Coastal British Columbia.

Currently r.tl is featuring Portugal and France along with the BC region. My friend and I were really amazed by the taste of the Pacific mussels we ordered, which were served in a kind of corn-chowder sauce with some chorizo sausage (around $11). The drinks list at r.tl is extensive, including a selection of hand-picked, rare wines and cocktails from around the world.

I was fortunate to visit another time to try some of their Canapes (pictured below) which are miniature versions of some of their larger dishes.

Check out the restaurant’s web site for their menu and more info.

Negroni (drink) - A bitter drink thats great preparation for a meal and an Apertif. Tanqueray gin, Campari, Cinzano Rosso on the rocks.

Negroni (drink) - A bitter drink that's great preparation for a meal and an Apertif. Tanqueray gin, Campari, Cinzano Rosso on the rocks.

Nicoise Salad - fresh micro greens, quail eggs, haricot vert nicoise olives, fingerling potato and seared albacore tuna

Nicoise Salad - fresh micro greens, quail eggs, haricot vert nicoise olives, fingerling potato and seared albacore tuna

Prawns Piri Piri - pan seared wild sea tiger prawns with traditional Portuguese chili sauce

Prawns Piri Piri - pan seared wild sea tiger prawns with traditional Portuguese chili sauce

Pate au Foie Gras de Canard - Duck liver pate with pickled red torpedo onions

Pate au Foie Gras de Canard - Duck liver pate with pickled red torpedo onions

The bar at r.tl regional tasting lounge in Yaletown, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

The bar at r.tl regional tasting lounge in Yaletown, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Dining room at r.tl regional tasting lounge restaurant in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Dining room at r.tl regional tasting lounge restaurant in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Crab cakes from r.tl restaurant in Yaletown.

Crab cakes from r.tl restaurant in Yaletown.

Duck Liver Pâté and baguette

Duck Liver Pâté and baguette

r.tl regional tasting lounge

r.tl regional tasting lounge

The entree sized version of the salad, La Petite Salad Niçoise, with fresh micro greens, quail eggs, haricot vert niçoise olives, fingerling potato, seared albacore tuna

The entree sized version of the salad, La Petite Salad Niçoise, with fresh micro greens, quail eggs, haricot vert niçoise olives, fingerling potato, seared albacore tuna

R.tl on Urbanspoon

13,593 views - Posted Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

 

ShuRaku Japanese Restaurant (downtown)

ShuRaku Japanese Restaurant (map, web site, 833 Granville Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada, phone: 604-687-6622) is a new Japanese restaurant downtown (at the former location of Kitto Japanese Restaurant) that is getting rave reviews for its outstanding, upscale Japanese cuisine.

oishii, a reviewer on UrbanSpoon writes (click here to read review):

The menu has a wonderful array of tasty dishes and they have wonderful drinks to go along with the food.  The service is attentive and the ambiance is divine due to the gorgeously designed interior.  Definitely a place to check out!

We went all out and ordered a huge feast, including a bottle of Dreamy Moon Sake (not pictured, $34). Below are pictured some of the items we ordered. The food was very creatively and artistically presented, and tasted great, but I wasn’t entirely full after the meal. Maybe that was a good thing – better than being too full, I guess! I think that ShuRaku is one of those places that favors quality over quantity.

The meal was a treat for the senses and tastebuds. One of my friends commented that he thinks that ShuRaku is better value than (but nearly at the level of quality as) Vancouver’s famed Japanese restaurant, Tojo’s. ShuRaku is a place I would bring an out-of-town guest who I wanted to impress, and not entirely break the bank while doing so.

Roulette Roll ($12) from Shuraku Japanese Restaurant in Vancouver.

Roulette Roll ($12) from Shuraku Japanese Restaurant in Vancouver.

Enoki Mushroom and pork ($5.60) from Shuraku Japanese Restaurant on Granville in downtown Vancouver.

Enoki Mushroom and pork ($5.60) from Shuraku Japanese Restaurant on Granville in downtown Vancouver.

5 kinds of Sashimi ($24) from ShuRaku Japanese Restaurant in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

5 kinds of Sashimi ($24) from ShuRaku Japanese Restaurant in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Deep fried prawn (came with Sashimi) from ShuRaku Japanese Restaurant in Vancouver.

Deep fried prawn (came with Sashimi) from ShuRaku Japanese Restaurant in Vancouver.

Fresh oysters ($12 for 5 oysters) from ShuRaku Japanese Restaurant in Vancouver.

Fresh oysters ($12 for 5 oysters) from ShuRaku Japanese Restaurant in Vancouver.

Ika Sumi Pasta ($8.75) - a salad made with squid ink pasta and fresh vegetables, from ShuRaku Japanese restaurant.

Ika Sumi Pasta ($8.75) - a salad made with squid ink pasta and fresh vegetables, from ShuRaku Japanese restaurant.

Salmon Foie Gras appetizer ($7.00) from ShuRaku Japanese Restaurant in Vancouver.

Salmon Foie Gras appetizer ($7.00) from ShuRaku Japanese Restaurant in Vancouver.

Beef Asparagus ($6.25) from ShuRaku Japanese Restaurant in Vancouver.

Beef Asparagus ($6.25) from ShuRaku Japanese Restaurant in Vancouver.

Another shot of the 5 kinds of Sashimi (with glowing ice cubes that give it an interesting lighting effect) from ShuRaku Japanese restaurant

Another shot of the "5 kinds of Sashimi" (with glowing ice cubes that give it an interesting lighting effect) from ShuRaku Japanese restaurant

A nice dessert, the marble cheesecake ($6.99)

A nice dessert, the marble cheesecake ($6.99)

ShuRaku on Urbanspoon

14,692 views - Posted Thursday, January 8th, 2009