I blogged about the VANEATS dining package Kingyo Craze in the post Kingyo Izakaya Part 1. Now this post is about the dishes on the regular menu that my friends and I ordered in addition to Kingyo Craze.
If you have not been to an izakaya, it helps to know – an izakaya (居酒屋) is a type of Japanese drinking establishment which also serves food to accompany the drinks. They are popular, casual places for after-work drinking. (source: Wikipedia)
Izakayas is my favourite type of restaurant because I like the creative Japanese dishes. You usually order from two menus – the specials menu, called a fresh sheet, and the regular menu with izakaya staple items such as ebi mayo (deep-fried shrimps) and chicken karaage (deep-fried chicken nuggets).
This is the fresh sheet of Dec 3. Every izakaya updates their fresh sheets at different times. Some izakayas will update a small fresh sheet menu everyday, every few days or every week while others update less often than that. (If anyone knows how often an (any) izakaya updates the fresh sheet, I’d like to know, thanks!)
My friends and I had a hard time deciding what to order so we asked the host at Kingyo Izakaya (Roy) for suggestions. He recommended his personal favourite, the beef rib, and the ebi mayo. We were sold because those two choices sounded pretty good. So four of us in the group shared 5 dishes of the Kingyo Craze package, plus three items from the regular menu and fresh sheet.
It surprised me how small the dish was. I have ordered kakuni dishes at other izakayas but it was the first time to see a kakuni dish with business card dimensions. I rarely eat pork fat by itself but after cutting the pork belly into four pieces, it was a very small piece that I can take.
This dish actually tasted pretty light – as in it melts in your mouth without tasting any greasiness. The sauce was a little sweet and was not salty, although I didn’t taste any potato and coriander flavours from the sauce. I enjoyed eating the skin (for collagen!) because it was pretty soft and easy to chew.
I strongly prefer pork belly with a higher ratio of lean meat to fat. With that preference, the size of the dish and the high price, I would not recommend this dish. Hearts: 4.0/10
Ebi Mayo is a staple item in izakayas; I don’t think there is any izakaya that does not serve this. Because I eat this so often, I have a high expectation of this dish, especially at a pricier izakaya like Kingyo. Presentation-wise, I was hoping it would have more creativity. The batter tasted a little too oily and stale – perhaps it was the choice of flour in making the tempura.
I did not read the description of the sauce on the menu when I ordered it, so it took me by surprise to eat something spicy all of a sudden since the previous dishes were sweet or mild. However it was not too spicy and the spiciness went away quickly. Overall I think the dish is not bad, but Kingyo can definitely do better. Hearts: 7.1/10
This is the star of the night. The meat was really easy to separate from the bone because it was so tender. The short rib has a really sweet flavour and I think mirin must have been used to help create this. This dish is almost like osso bucco, except sauteed in a sweet soy sauce. I liked this dish a lot and ended up eating the last few bites because it was too sweet for my friends.
Of course, I eat savoury meat and it was not sweet that it tasted like a dessert. I was delighted to eat this dish for some flavourful, real meat, after eating the fatty pork belly and deep-fried shrimps. Hearts: 8.4/10
Frozen grapes (free) were given at the end of our meal. It’s a little sweet thing that the Kingyo Group does – at both Kingyo and Suika.
- We also ordered Sencha tea to drink, which costs $1.80 for all of us. I asked in advance whether the tea is charged and if it’s per person or per group. Certain izakayas like Guu Garden charges tea by head counts, so if you mind, make sure to ask before assuming tea is free.
- My friends and I agree this is not the best izakaya we have been to. Just considering the dishes from the regular menu and fresh sheet, we think there is room for improvement, especially if Kingyo prices their food higher than other izakayas.
- Get the Short Rib if you have a hard time deciding what to order.
871 Denman St, Vancouver
-By Jenny Shen, Eat With Jenny