Last night for a friend’s birthday we went to Suika Japanese Izakaya, located at 1626 West Broadway (at Fir). Opened by the same people who opened Kingyo on Denman Street, this is a new izakaya that opened in September.
No actual website, but they are on Twitter (@suika1626), Suika has a regular menu and a page of daily specials offered to its customers. Upon stepping into the restaurant, the ambiance is that of mainly local izakayas in town. A wooden finish, with ample seating, bar and private lounge area for large groups, this restaurant was fairly busy (no waits though) for a Sunday evening.
As with other izakayas, Suika specializes in tapas unique to Japanese cuisine. Some dishes resembled fusion of other food such as Korean and Chinese. As we had a large group, we split our table into two and each group ordered various dishes to share. The group I was in consisted of 5 people and we ordered the following, which was enough to fill us up (and our group had 3 guys, 2 girls): My Ebi-Mayo, Grilled Sable Fish, Agedashi Ebiten Tofu, Kakuni Bibimbap, Ma-Po Rice Cake, AAA Beef Filet Steak, Smoked AAA Beef Tataki, and Sockeye Salmon Carpaccio. For myself to end the meal, I ordered the Sweet Potato Creme Brulee. The bill total came to $89 with taxes, and split that 5 ways we each only paid $20.
My Ebi-Mayo consisted of 6 deep-fried cilantro battered tiger prawns with chili mayo. Although not as large as some Ebi-Mayo dishes at other izakayas in town, this dish was well prepared and the outside batter did not seem too heavy. The Agedashi Ebiten Tofu was another excellent battered dish. It consisted of deep-fried tofu and prawns in a soy broth with shrimp infused oil and dried baby shrimp. The prawns gave it an extra flavour in the otherwise typical Japanese dish.
The Grilled Sable Fish was not an outstanding dish. It came with a side of grated radish. The lime that came with the fish was not too fresh and was hard to squeeze out the juices for the fish. I’ve had better Sable Fish elsewhere.
Two daily special dishes ordered were the Smoked AAA Beef Tataki and the Sockeye Salmon Capaccio. Both were very fresh and came with sauces that complimented it nicely. Would order these two dishes again if it showed up on the menu.
However, the most unique and delicious dishes of the night to turn up on Suika’s menu were the Kakuni Bibimbap, Ma-Po Rice Cake, and the AAA Beef Filet Steak. The Kakuni Bibimbap consisted of stewed pork belly which melted in your mouth, mixed with sweet dried shrimp and scallions on rice served in a hot stone bowl. Our whole group really loved this dish. The Ma-Po Rice Cake took the Chinese Ma-Po Tofu dish and instead changed it to have deep fried rice cake with spicy ground pork sauce dusted with Japanese peppers called Sansho. The deep fried rice cakes were really chewy but tasted really delicious with the spicy ground pork sauce. I don’t really like a lot of spice, but this dish was perfect. The AAA Beef Filet Steak would have to be my favourite even though it’s not a very Japanese dish. It consisted of a fairly decent sized beef filet steak sliced with fresh garlic served on a hot stone plate, where you can cook it to your own preference, complimented with a shichimi spice soy onion sauce. The beef’s tenderness complimented with the spice soy sauce melts in your mouth upon touch.
The Sweet Potato Creme Brulee was a daily special, not likely to be a regular on its dessert menu, was very smooth and well made dessert. The taste of the sweet potato is really distinct and for those who like sweet potato, would enjoy this dessert a lot.
The only thing negative about the evening was that my other friends, in the second group, ordered the DIY Sushi Party, which was a tray of three kinds of sashimi, cucumber, avocado, shiso, seaweed, and sushi rice, took over 20 minutes to come to the table. By the time the party tray arrived, our group had finished all of our dishes. We kept wondering why it took so long for their party tray considering it was DIY.
Overall, the service was fairly well, with friendly servers constantly refilling tea and water for our table, checking to see if we were ready to order on numerous occasions and able to answer our questions. As it was my friend’s birthday, they had two servers come out with large paper megaphones and shout and sing Happy Birthday. They also had a polaroid camera that they used to take our group photo for a souvenir for my friend to take home with him. These extras was a nice touch to the evening! At the end of the evening as we left the restaurant, the chef/owner came out to thank us for our business. I will definitely come by to try some more specials again.