If you’ve read one of my previous posts (found here), you’ll recall that my unorganized friends and I didn’t manage to secure a table at Suika last Sunday night. The next day, a reservation was made for the following Friday (lesson learned).

Suika is on W Broadway at Fir. You can take the 99 to Granville and the walk to Suika will take you about five minutes. Suika is owned by the Kingyo group. It’s the less expensive, more casual version of its big sister, Kingyo. The word “suika” means “watermelon” in Japanese. I’ve heard so many good things about this izakaya for so long that I’m embarrassed that it has taken me until now to try it!

The restaurant’s interior is dimly lit and very trendy. It’s thoughtfully decorated from the bonzai tree greeting you at the door to the bottle chandelier hanging, eliminating the dark restaurant. I didn’t get up to explore but from my table, I could see the busy sushi bar and past that, a bar with Japanese drama projected onto its wall. I’ve also heard that Suika has must-try restrooms but I completely forgot to visit them.

Suika’s infamous bottle chandelier. It’s hard to come here without taking a photo of these.

I love izakaya because of share plates; you get to try everything! There were six of us there. We started with Tuna-Avocado ($6.00), Tuna sashimi and avocado with plum & seaweed sauce. Honestly, I wasn’t too impressed with this dish. The sashimi looked mushy and the avocado was definitely mushy. On top of that, the plum and seaweed sauce did not work for me at all. I did not enjoy this dish very much. Next!

Our next appetizer was selected by Fiona from the fresh sheet: Sockeye Salmon Carpaccio ($7.80), Thinly sliced sockeye salmon with sesame soy dressing, yuzu zest, garlic chips & wasabi mayo. This was definitely my favourite dish of the night! To be completely honest, initially, “salmon carpaccio” did not sound very appealing to me. I can make salmon carpaccio at home! But man, I definitely am glad Fiona suggested this! The slices of salmon, although thin, were generous. The yuzu zest really brought out fresh, refreshing flavours from the salmon and the sesame soy dressing made it very flavourful. For only $7.80, this plate is definitely worth the value. I would have rather ordered two orders of this over the Tuna Avocado, which was only $1.80 less.

I picked this dish, Negitoro Battera ($9.80), Pressed sushi with tuna belly, scallions, avocado & sesame topped with home made soy dressing & seaweed sauce. This was another miss for me. It’s served with the same seaweed sauce that came on the Tuna Avocado. It really reminds me of swamp water. I don’t even want to write about this dish. You can hardly taste the negitoro. Or the avocado. I didn’t even know there was avocado in this dish. It just wasn’t very good. Out of all the dishes we ordered, Nicole said that this was her least favourite. I’d agree with her but I already said that about the Tuna Avocado, didn’t I? Nicole found the seaweed sauce overpowering and the tuna to be flavourless.

Angelica ordered the Chicken Kara-age ($7.80), Famous Japanese “o-sho” style deep fried chicken served with sansho jio (Japanese salt & pepper) because she is a carnivore (and by that, I mean she literally only consumes meat products). The colour of the chicken was a little darker than I was used to but it tasted perfect. For 6 pieces at $7.80, I found this a little pricy. I liked the chicken karaage at Guu better, where it is served with Japanese mayo. Here, it is served with sansho jio which I could not really taste on my chicken.

We also tried Chinese Poutine ($6.80), French fries topped with spicy ground pork sauce, mozzarella, chili oil, sansho and minced cilantro. My friends all seemed to enjoy this dish but I didn’t find it as anything special. It wasn’t bad but $6.80 for fries is a tad expensive and with seven bucks, I’d rather order a large sized poutine at New York Fries in the mall! Nicole said it was interesting but she doesn’t know if it’s something that she would order again.

This is the Asari Yaki Udon ($9.80), Pan fried thick noodles with manila clams & citron pepper. It was dressed with seaweed and sesame. I actually quite enjoyed this dish. I loved the subtle flavours of the clams and the creamy taste of the sauce. The udon noodles were done perfectly. But Nicole thought that the udon could have used more flavour and more clams. Personally, I enjoyed the lightness of this dish. I avoid sodium as much as I can and now I seem to find everything too salty!

The Kakuni Bibimbap ($9.80), Stewed pork belly, sweet dried shrimp & scallions on rice served in a hot stone bowl. Hot hot hot!!  This was a hit for me. A big, hot steamy bowl of hit! Our server brought the hot stone bowl, briefly presented it to the table before she mixed it in for us. Originally, it looked very tasty. But don’t let this photo fool you. This rice bowl was flavourful and savoury! It carried its sweet aromatic marinade into the air over the table. The pork belly was soft and tender. I couldn’t get enough of it! I did not notice any sweet dried shrimp taste. Nicole agreed: she found the pork really well made and tender. We both wish that the serving size of the pork belly was larger! Everyone seemed to enjoy this dish.

I’m glad to have finally tried Suika! Despite a few misses, I enjoyed my dinner at Suika and I wouldn’t hesitate to return. It’s a great alternative to Guu if you’re in the mood for izakaya. But be sure to place a reservation. This restaurant sure is popular.

Thanks for eating with me!

Suika on Urbanspoon

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