Van Eats Media invited us to try out Suika Snackbar’s special package called Suika Me Silly. What a silly name. I was a bit hesitant, but when I checked out the photo gallery on Facebook, I was intrigued.
Suika Snackbar is a sister restaurant of Kingyo Izakaya on Denman Street. Suika is also an izakaya restaurant serving tapa size dishes. The package we tried is a sampling menu featuring 6 dishes, some are on its regular menu, some are not. This package is available at a limited quantity for $16 in the month of October.
Before I start, please bear in mind that the portion size is of sampling size, meaning that this is not what you get if you order the same thing off the regular menu. We watched other diners order some of these dishes and they were about twice our portion size.
First up, the Beef Tataki uses pretty good quality meat. Although the searing was a bit over-done for our liking, the beef slices had really nice marble so they were tender and flavourful. The sauce was a bit zesty and worked well with the meat. Next, we’ve got Corn Kakiage – a technically easy dish. It’s basically seasoned, deep fried corn kernels on a plate, but it’s so much fun to eat. You just keep nibbling the crunchy kernels, one at a time. A great snacking dish.
Mo Po Rice Cake is a fusion dish. They were pieces of Japanese rice cake topped with Ma Po Tofu sauce. It’s probably my least favourite dish of the evening. It’s an interesting concept, but the rice cake was too gooey even though it’s deep fried. I was kind of pulling and chewing it. I would also like the Ma Po sauce to be spicier since it’s a Sichuan dish and they tend to be spicier.
We then had two types of sushi, battera (pressed) sushi. Aburi Shime-Saba Sushi was Mr.‘s favourite dish of the package. The mackerel pieces were nicely seared, oily (good oily) and surprisingly not fishy like most saba dish you get at Japanese restaurant. To me it was not a bad dish but didn’t really wow me. Negitoro Battera was pretty good. The most interesting part was its seaweed sauce. It has a strong dried seaweed taste which you don’t find in a lot of dishes, but at the same time, it kind of covered up the usual negitoro flavour.
Lastly to wrap up the package we had Matcha Brulee for dessert. This is not your regular creme brulee. It’s frozen, matcha-flavoured brulee. At first it tasted like regular matcha ice cream, but after a few bites I started to taste the eggy, custard flavour. It was a nice treat.
In addition to our complimentary package, we also ordered two dishes off its regular menu to give it a more thorough try. First of all, Tonsoku caught Mr.‘s eyes. Why? The menu says “Don’t try, if you never had”. The rebel in Mr. just had to order it. It’s a pork foot served on a sizzling pan. Its crispy skin was from sauteeing the pork foot, not from deep-frying it. The marinate was flavourful, you can taste it in the skin and meat.
The Kakuni Bibimbap was a Japanese twist to the Korean dish. It uses pork belly and dried shrimp to stir with rice in a hot stone bowl. The pork belly and dried shrimp were very fragrant, the flavour was rich, and personally I think it’s better than the tradition bibimbap.
Because it was a Tuesday evening, I wasn’t expecting to see a bustling restaurant scene. In the beginning I felt that they were over-staffed when the dining room was quieter, but it was pretty much full at around 7:30pm and the amount of staff made sense. The service was quite attentive. As with any izakayas, you were warmly greeted with the loud screaming and shouting from the kitchen.
Also to note is the restaurant’s decor. It uses some interesting fixture such as Japanese wine bottle and pipes.
Overall I think Suika’s dishes are quite innovative, although a bit pricey. Japanese izakaya is not meant to be your daily dinner spot anyway, but it’s a nice party, gathering location. I think the Suika Me Silly package is a good way to sample the most of the restaurant at a reasonable price. Since this package is a limited edition, it’s worth a try.
1626 West Broadway, Vancouver