Restaurant: Miko Sushi Japanese Restaurant
Last visited: February 22, 2012
Location: Vancouver, BC (Robson/West End/Downtown)
Address: 1335 Robson Street
Train: Burrard Skytrain
Price Range: $10-20+ (Closer to $20)
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: FMF Must Try!
- Japanese & Chinese owned
- Authentic Japanese
- Traditional menu
- Simple menu
- Fresh sashimi
- Sushi bar
- Neighbourhood favourite
- Moderately priced
- Busy/popular at peak hours
- Good for sharing
- Accepts Interac/Visa
- Mon-Fri Lunch 11:30am-2pm
- Mon-Sat Dinner 5pm-10pm
- Closed Sunday
**Recommendations: Maguro Ae, Sushi, California Roll
So where are you going to find the Canucks, Bruins, Oilers, Sharks, and Flames under one roof outside of GM Place? At Miko Sushi… or Poster World. I was pretty shocked at how many celebrities have eaten here and particularly hockey players. I don’t know if it’s tradition or what, but from Pavel Bure to Trevor Linden and the Sedin twins, it seems quite popular with the NHL let alone our Canucks.
I actually question how many locals know about this place besides those who live or work in the area. It’s located in the Korean part of Robson Street in downtown Vancouver and it goes by unnoticed, but the place is full during peak hours. It’s a husband (Japanese) and wife (Taiwanese) ownership, so although it’s not purely Japanese owned and operated the food is still legit. It has a mom and pop/neighbourhood feel and the ladies are in traditional kimonos while the men operate the sushi bar. It’s quite cozy and low key and there’s nothing fancy about it, but the food delivers beyond what you might expect.
The menu is very simple and it offers traditional robata (BBQ), sashimi, sushi, and a few hot items, so you’re not going to get any fusion rolls or funky sauces and izakaya here. It’s really back to basics and back to authenticity, which is quite rare to find in Vancouver.
It was here when I sent out my tweet “Noooo!!! I hate watching ppl drown their high quality sushi and sashimi in soy sauce!! Stop!!“. Seriously. STOP. With what you’re getting here it’s not required. It’s not the best sashimi I’ve had, but the quality is good enough that all it really needs is a touch of wasabi and perhaps a bit of soy sauce.
Personally I find wasabi an enhancer and soy sauce more of a “corrector”. Wasabi opens up your palate so you can taste the flavour of the fish whereas soy sauce just masks the flavour of it if you use too much. I know everyone has their own tastes and preference, but if I see another person dunking their sushi in soy as if it were fondue, I’m unfrotuntaely going to do absolutely nothing, but complain on here again…
Although I would come back and I did enjoy the food, I wouldn’t go as far to say that it’s “the best sushi in town”, as many have already claimed about Miko. In a way it reminded me of the recently closed Aki Japanese, and although it doesn’t specialize in robata like Aki did, this is a good alternative in downtown.
In the context of authentic Japanese sushi in downtown Vancouver it’s certainly one I would recommend, but there are many other options for the same thing. For authentic Japanese in the same price range I found Ichiro Japanese, Kiriri, and Seto in Richmond, Tokachi Japanese in Surrey, Hime Sushi and Dan outside of downtown Vancouver, around the same par as Miko and at times more affordable too. Personally I think Ichiro Japanese and Tokachi Japanese delivers the best out of that list though, so I highly recommend you to visit those at some point.
On the table:
- Tuna with special dressing $8.95
- It’s a bit pricey for a rather small appetizer, but it’s delicious!
- It was about 10 pieces of roughly chopped tuna sashimi swimming in lots of special dressing which I almost drank like soup… and died of thirst later.
- The only thing was that the tuna wasn’t cold. It wasn’t bad, but it really should be served colder than it was.
- The tuna quality didn’t matter because in this case it really was about the sauce and it would be a waste to use a high quality sashimi with this sauce.
- The sauce was almost like the sesame sauce in a goma-ae (spinach salad with sesame dressing), but even better.
- There was lots of wasabi in it too so it was more like a wasabi-ae dressing.
- It was a sweet soy based sauce with lots of freshly ground toasted sesame seeds and it was equally sweet as it was salty. There was a tang, but it was more sweet and salty.
- They didn’t hold back on the wasabi paste and it hit my nose harder than expected on more than a couple bites.
- I love wasabi, but anymore and it would have been a bit strong for me.
- There was a little bit of spinach, some tobiko and then very finely shredded radish at the bottom. The radish shreds were finer than normal and almost as thin as thread.
- The appetizer had a ton of flavour and it was sweet, salty, tangy and packed a kick with the wasabi. I simply loved it!
- Tuna, salmon, ebi, tobiko, tuna roll and California roll $16.50
- It’s not “cheap” here, but the quality is better than normal so it’s more understandable.
- The wasabi wasn’t fresh, but it was really strong and still better quality than most wasabi pastes out there.
- I was surprised they didn’t offer the nigiri by piece so that’s why I did the combination.
- The nigiri shows more of the chef’s talent than a roll, so it’s always a good thing to try a couple pieces if you care for this kind of stuff.
- The amount of rice was well balanced with the fish nicely cut.
- The salmon and tuna quality were great, but not glossy, and I wasn’t too keen on the shrimp and it was a bit dry.
- They served it the authentic way too with a touch of wasabi underneath. It opens up the palate so you can taste the fish.
- As I said in the intro I find wasabi an enhancer and soy sauce more of a “corrector”, so try to go easy on the soy.
- When it’s excellent quality sashimi I don’t need any soy and for me this one just needed a touch.
- The rice was moist, sticky, well flavoured and not too sweet.
- The most memorable nigiri I’ve had to date is still at Ichiro Japanese.
- I was more impressed with their rolls than I was with their nigiri.
- The tuna sashimi was decent, the rice was well flavoured and the seaweed was good quality and not chewy. Compared to most tuna rolls, this is actually a very good one.
- The last time I felt so strongly about a tuna roll was the one I had at Kiriri.
- I wasn’t excited when I saw “California Roll” as part of the combo, and it’s not that I don’t like them, but it’s just a California roll.
- But here, the California roll is impressive!
- They used real crab to make it and that was unexpected especially since it wasn’t advertised on the menu.
- There was only a little mayo and I could taste the avocado and flaky moist crab meat equally.
- Again the rice was moist and well flavoured with good quality seaweed that wasn’t chewy.
- For what this was, this was very fresh and good! I don’t order Nabeyaki often, but I wanted to try one of their hot menu items.
- Nabeyaki udon is almost the wonton noodle of Chinese food.
- It’s a very simple dish, but the broth or dashi (Japanese stock) along with the udon is what’s important.
- The egg was lightly poached in the hot broth and you’re supposed to break the yolk and mix it into the broth as it cooks.
- The soup was rich in flavour from I think Shiitake mushrooms and then some dried seaweed.
- It’s not a fishy tasting broth, but more soy sauce based with more layers than just soy. It’s a bit sweet from some mirin as well.
- There were a couple pieces of boneless chicken thigh, a couple Shiitake mushrooms, Chinese Napa Cabbage, scallions and kamaboko (fish paste cakes) as toppings.
- The udon was slippery and soft rather than firm and chewy and I prefer mine chewy. There are 2 different types of udon though and this was obviously the slippery and soft kind.
- Nabeyaki udon always comes with tempura and I liked that they offered to serve it on a separate plate because otherwise I find it gets soggy in the soup.
- It came with 2 prawns and 2 green beans which justified the price a bit more, otherwise it would have been considered slightly pricey for what it was.
- The tempura was quite standard, but a bit more oily than normal.
- The batter was crispy, the prawn was crunchy and salted and the same with the beans.