Hoping to make use of a Groupon before it expired, we visited Itadakimasu Izakaya on Main st. (For non-Japanese, that name is challenging to pronounce).
We arrived at 6:30 pm and were seated immediately. The house was probably at half capacity.
After surveying the menu, we decided on three small plates, starting with the Pari pari ebi mayo
These are large prawns, coated in wasabi rice puffs and deep-fried to a light crunch. It’s served on a bed of lightly dressed shredded cabbage and cherry tomatoes, and drizzled with a sweet chili mayonnaise. The prawns and a wonderful crunch, and the cabbage was dressed to be slightly tangy and acidic. The rice puffs had a little hit of wasabi in them that gave me a very slight horseradish nasal rush. The mayo was a little more sweet than spicy.
Next came the pork belly bao buns.
This is a slice of crispy pork belly, with pickled vegetables, and a teriyaki glaze, served in a bun. The bun is steamed and then shallow fried on one side to make it crispy. This was pretty good. The pickled vegetables provided a nice bite and a tangy zip that contrasted with the soft fatty pork belly. The bun was soft and spongy and crispy on one side. The teriyaki glaze provided some salty-sweet flavors to round it out.
Lastly we had gindara saikyou yaki
This is grilled miso marinade black cod, served with a little garnish of the dressed cabbage and cherry tomato and small mound of finely shredded marinated daikon radish. The plate was dressed with several dollops of a miso based sauce. The cod itself was nicely charred on the edges, but buttery smooth and delicate on the inside.
The servers are pleasant and quite friendly and helpful. The staff here do seem to be Japanese (which is surprisingly uncommon in Japanese restaurants in Vancouver).
The room is a moderate size (probably seats 30-40), and a little dark. Dark as in, could use more lighting and could use more colour (the predominate colour scheme is black and dark brown).
I’m quite sure I’ll back to try Itadakimasu again.