Rajio is a sister restaurant of Kingyo and Suika Snackbar, located in Kitsilano near West 10th and Alma. With an invitation from the team at VANEATS, we checked out their latest Rockin’ RAJIO package.
As soon as we were seated, we were given a bowl of Cabbage Salad to start. It’s given to each table for free at the start of the meal. It came with a simple soy-based dressing. I ordered myself a Honey Pom-Pom Mojito while Mr. grabbed a Sapporo. The Honey Pom-Pom Mojito was refreshing, sweet with tartness from the pomegranate juice and prominent minty flavour.
The 4-item menu started with our choice of Cold Tapas. With an exception of two items, you can basically choose from either the list on the regular menu, or from the fresh sheet. We went for the Seafood Marinated Mekabu Cold Tofu on the fresh sheet. The kelp marinate gave the scallop and topshell bits a savoury taste, which made the otherwise “blank canvas” tofu quite flavourful. The ikura (salmon roes) added extra saltiness to the dish, as well as a bit of a crunch. For some reason it reminds me of Chawanmushi, except this is in a cold form, and it’s tofu instead of steamed egg custard.
Continuing with another cold dish we had the Mini Carpaccio of Salmon, Tuna and Hamachi. The fish pieces were buttery, and would just melt in your mouth. I did enjoy the flavour from the sesame soy dressing, and the crunch from the cracker-like sprinkles and tobiko (flying fish roe). I found the hamachi pieces to be a bit fishy, but it’s quite good overall.
Onto the hot items, the Kushikatsu Set consisted of 6 deep fried skewers. These are pre-selected by the chef, and on that day we were given 2 each of lotus root, scallops and chicken. You are given 5 different condiments to go with your skewers: onion sauce, kabayaki yuzu sauce, kushikatsu sauce, tartar sauce and lemon salt. I personally preferred the kabayaki yuzu and kushikatsu sauce. Kabayaki yuzu is like a spicy teriyaki sauce, where kushikatsu is more of a sweet soy. These skewers are perfect to go with drinks, and the regular menu offers a lot more options.
The last item in the package is the Pork Ribs with balsamic vinegar, sweet & sour sauce. It’s similar to the Beef Short Rib I had at Suika, except these were pork ribs. Oh my, they were so soft and tender, fell right off the bones. They were so soft that Mr. was able to chew off part of the bone (yeah, don’t ask!). Because the ribs were deep-fried then drizzled with sauce, parts of them were still crispy on the outside while tender inside. Definitely recommend it!
In addition to the Rockin’ Rajio package, we also ordered the Aburi Yellowtail Sushi. The thick-cut yellowtail was lightly seared on the outside, yet soft and buttery inside. It’s absolutely delicious, and just hit the spot.
On a Tuesday evening, honestly we were surprised to see a full house at the restaurant. In fact, most of the tables were reserved for various sizes of dinner parties. The interior decoration was quite interesting, especially the wall of lights featuring popular cartoon characters that no doubt bring back some childhood memories. The staff were friendly, although the atmosphere is a bit more laid-back and less energized and intense like Suika or Kingyo.
Because this belongs to the same restaurant group as Kingyo and Suika, you know this is the quality of food and service that you can trust. For $18, I thought the Rockin’ RAJIO was of decent value, although it probably has just enough food for one person. This will be a good introduction to Rajio, and you can always order the other mouth-watering items off the regular menu.
Rajio Japanese Public House
3763 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver