Restaurant: Gyo-O Kaisen Shokudo Japanese Restaurant
Last visited: February 6, 09
Area: Richmond, BC (Continental Plaza)
Address: Unit 2137-3779 Sexsmith Road
Price range: $20-30
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
- Japanese chefs
- Authentic Japanese dishes
- Specializes in udon & dons
- Most meals are for one
- Some izakaya/tapas style fusion dishes
- Portions are decent, a bit bigger than most izakaya places
- A bit expensive, unless you go with lots of ppl
- Extensive menu
- Lunch specials
- Part of Gyoza King family
- Small, casual, and trendy
- Crowded and narrow atmosphere
- Complimentary green tea
- Cash only
Recommendation: Goma Miso Gyoza, BBQ Salmon Skin, Shoyu Mayo Takoyaki, Bukkake Udon
I tried everything on their “Top 5 Menu”, and more or less agree with 1-2 things I would switch around.
What I liked was that every single thing was well seasoned and didn’t require many additional flavours or soy sauce. They do a great job with the most standard dishes like tempura and even udon. The items offered are quite traditional with a few fusion/Izakaya items here and there. It is much more worth it to go with more people or the bill adds up quickly and it gets expensive (like most Izakaya places, however it’s still more affordable than ones in downtown). Trying 1-2 dishes I wouldn’t have been as impressed. Nonetheless I did get a good sample of everything and overall it was excellent (especially my recommendations) and I would come again.
My review for dessert at Gyo-O Kaisen Shokudo Japanese here!
On the table
Tako Wasabi – 3/6
- Raw octopus marinated in wasabi and Japanese pickles $2.95
- I like the one at Kingyo better. The one here doesn’t come with seaweed strips so I was just eating raw octopus. I want something to eat it with.
- It’s slimy, but the octopus is quite tender and well marinated. Nice crunchy Japanese pickles and very strong fresh wasabi.
- It’s pretty cheap, so it’s worth it, but they need to serve it with something.
*Yam & Unagi (Eel) Tempura Sticks – 4.5/5
- Served with tartar sauce, light Teriyaki sauce, and spicy sauce $4.50
- This is on their “Top 5” menu and it’s one of their popular dishes.
- They’re long and thin strips of tempura “fries” and they were pretty good. Even after they cooled down they were still very crispy and crunchy.
- They are heavily battered, but that’s what makes them so crunchy. The batter is also seasoned so they’re very flavourful.
- The spicy sauce was the best (at the back). It was very mildly spicy and quite sweet with a nice kick. It tasted like Tonkatsu sauce mixed with Sriracha hot sauce or even like Hoisin sauce with a little bit of chili spice and maybe some Worcestershire.
- The unagi (eel) was better than the yam. It was so juicy and came across as salmon but a lot more tender, juicy, rich and creamy. The yam tempura was also really tender and almost like yam fries.
Kaisen Don (Regular) – 4.5/6
- Seafood (sashimi) on rice bowl. Served with wasabi on the rim $12.50 (Regular)
- This is one of their signature items, and while it was good I enjoyed some of the other dishes more.
- It came with nice big and thin slices of assorted sashimi. It wasn’t like they “cheaped out” with the thin slices; this just means they cut them properly. They cut them so that the flavour was enhanced and the texture of the fish became creamy.
- The Kaisen Don comes on a generous portion of Japanese rice and although it was flavourful, the rice didn’t taste premium to me. I could have actually gone for more sugar and vinegar in the rice. This was the only thing I needed to add soy sauce with. But they do recommend you to eat it with the special shoyu sauce at the table. There’s also wasabi on the rim of the bowl which is a must for this dish.
- The tamago was really good! It was the perfect tamago, it was fresh, soft and perfectly sweetened. It was very flavourful and it’s one of the best I’ve had yet.
- I like the mini dons at G-Men Ramen better, although different (their sister restaurant across the street).
Goma Miso Gyoza – 6/6
- Steamed prawn gyoza with sesame Miso sauce $5.50
- This was delicious! It’s almost the only place I would order gyoza at again. Usually I find gyoza quite generic everywhere I go.
- The one here is a nice change from the typically pan-fried gyoza. This one was steamed or boiled. The skin was very fresh and slippery and it tasted like they just made it.
- They were stuffed really well and the pork meat was nice and juicy. There were also green onions in it and a nice prawn that was crunchy and perfectly cooked. I could definitely taste the freshness of the prawn unlike the overcooked prawn gyoza at Toratatsu.
- It came with a nutty sauce made of Miso paste; I think sesame sauce and maybe some Teriyaki sauce. It was savoury, sweet and nutty and matched the gyoza perfectly. It was a nice change from the classic gyoza vinegar.
BBQ Salmon Skin – 6/6
- New item BBQ salmon skins on a bed of shredded daikon $4.95
- This was such a hit! One of my favourites. It was nice thing strips of BBQ skin and on a bed of shredded daikon, with some seaweed, Teriyaki sauce and mayo.
- The best part was the cornflakes they garnished it with. It was more than a garnish but it was part of the dish. It was perfect! You have to eat the BBQ salmon with the cornflakes. It makes it extra crunchy and gives it a lovely texture. It give the illusion that the salmon skin is extra crispy.
- The use of cornflakes may seem like they’re cheating, but the salmon skin itself was quite crispy even without it. The salmon was really moist and juicy and you can taste the salmon oil flavour.
- The daikon was a nice and refreshing compliment to this dish. It was almost like a BBQ salmon skin salad.
Assorted ODEN – 2.5/6
- 5 kinds of assorted plate (chef’s selection) with Japanese hot mustard on the rim of the bowl $6.50
- This is a really traditional Japanese dish that isn’t very mainstream.
- It doesn’t look appetizing, but it was quite tasty.
- Everything kind of tastes like fish cakes in different forms. Nice to try, but I probably wouldn’t order it again. I wish I could have chosen the 5 items though.
- One item we got was a hard boiled egg.
- The 2nd item (underneath ingredients) was a boiled deep fried tofu (puff).
- Fish cake or patty – it had carrots and peas in it and it was really soft and didn’t taste frozen even if it was.I actually think it could have been made in house.
- Chikuwa (fish case tube) – the long brown sausage thing that looks like a male body part is kind of scary looking and not appetizing but it tasted pretty good. It’s made up of pureed white fish, eggs, sugar, starch, and salt. It’s hollow, boiled, and quite soft and tender like a sheet of fish meatball rolled up in a tube.
- Fish Mousse…I think? (half eaten in the photo) It was quite good. I actually liked this one the best of all the random stuff in the Oden. It was almost like a fish paste sausage and there were black sesame seeds and shredded carrots in it. It was soft and I could taste the slight nuttiness of the sesame seeds. It was different, but good.
- The broth was quite tasty too. It wasn’t rich pork broth or anything, but it was not canned broth either. I’m pretty sure it was just the standard udon noodle broth.
Ebi Tempura Ontama Bukkake – 4.5/6
- It originally means put everything on the noodle & mix it up! A bowl of udon noodles with ebi tempura and ontama (hot spring half boiled egg) $10.95
- The udon noodles are really good here, like noticeably good. They’re very fresh and therefore very soft and creamy. They have a great texture to them and they’re soft but very chewy and almost stick to your teeth although they’re slippery. It all sounds like a contradiction, but it makes sense once you try it. Try it!
- The egg is the best! You break it and mix in altogether with the udon and soup. Then you pour this special sauce in it and mix it again. It’s almost like a soy sauce but lighter, sweeter and not as sharp.
- The broth becomes a bit thicker after mixing the egg into it and it’s reminiscent of egg drop soup.
- Although it is good, it is a bit expensive, and for this price I would rather have ramen noodles.
Salmon Cheek Karaage – 4/6
- 2 pieces $4.95
- This was another score for me and I would recommend it if I didn’t have some of the other stuff. But there are other things that beat this.
- It was very simple, but they did a good job with it. It was 2 big salmon cheeks and it was very crispy but also a bit too oily.
- The cheek part with the meat was so juicy and moist it almost had its own sauce.
- The thinner parts of the fish were a bit overcooked and dry so it came off as salmon jerk, but that’s bound to happen so I won’t ding them for that.
- The batter is flavorful and tastes like the skin on chicken karage.
Syoyu Mayo Takoyaki – 6/6
- Octopus balls 6 pcs $5.50
- This was a surprising one! It wasn’t on the top 5, but it would be on my top 5.
- They were very well done and a nice size. They were very fresh and creamy and almost like baked egg whites! It was so soft and really good! They had a nice piece of octopus in it that wasn’t chewy.
- I could have used a bit more pickled ginger taste because I couldn’t taste any and it should have had a little bit of it.
- It was served with mayo and Okonomiyaki sauce so it was sweet and teriyaki-like.
Mixed Seaweed (Kaisou) Udon – 3/6
- Udon with 4 kinds of seaweed served in soup $8.50
- The udon noodles are awesome here. They’re really fresh and chewy and have a great texture to them.
- This was quite unique and original for a Japanese restaurant in Vancouver.
- Types of seaweed
- It had reddish brown crunchy seaweed that looked like frisee. I’ve tried it before in minced up form at Rainflower Restaurant in their Japanese Conch salad.
- Then they had the green version of it that tasted similar. It’s almost like eating frisee greens in jelly form.
- Then there was the fresh slimy green seaweed that has a sea salt flavour.
- Lastly there is the standard dry seaweed (the dark green sheet). I would have preferred shredded dried seaweed because having the big piece makes it hard to eat. It gets very chewy and I didn’t like the quality of it. The shredded kind I think is a bit more expensive, but it would have tasted much better and it’s more appropriate for a noodle soup bowl like this.
- The broth was almost slimy and mucus like because of all the seaweed juice. Sounds good huh?! It was all really fresh but the slime reminded me of the Nato beans I had at G-Men Ramen.
- You have to like and enjoy the taste and texture of seaweed to enjoy and appreciate the Kaison Udon.
Lunch Combo – 3.5/6
- Udon, ebi tempura don, 3 small appetizers and salad $8.50
- This was a pretty good deal compared to everything else.
Ebi Tempura Don – 2.5/6
- This actually didn’t do anything for me. It was pretty much ebi mayo on rice.
- Even served as an Ebi Mayo appetizer it would still only be ok. Ebi Mayo at Toratatsu is great!
- There was a whole lot so rice and a decent amount of ebi tempura, but not enough sauce so it was kind of plain.
- The shrimps were tender, but not juicy and they were crispy with a flour tempura batter but also a bit small in size. I would rather have the big prawn tempura and less of them.
- It wasn’t very spicy and it just tasted like mayo.
- This is just their basic udon with soup and they include a fish cake, which I think is deep fried, and also some seaweed.
3 small appetizers
- Chinese cabbage, crunchy marinated pickled ginger, and enoki mushrooms marinated in a sweet soy sauce.
- I liked them with the udon and ate them together, but you can eat them as is.
- Just a bed of mixed greens served with a very tangy vinaigrette. It was as tangy as Italian dressing. They use cornflakes instead of croutons and they got really soggy from the dressing. I’d prefer them on the side.
My review for dessert at Gyo-O Kaisen Shokudo Japanese here!