We made reservations for a Saturday night at Minami in Yaletown during Dine Out Vancouver 2015. I was eager to try either Miku or Minami for some time now, and when DOV arrived, it provided just enough of that extra incentive to go.
We had reservations, and we were seated immediately upon informing the maitre d’ of this.
It was a near full house.
We started with the Aburi Sushi Appetizer
This is a plate of five pieces of the signature sushi offerings that the restaurant has to offer, including:
- salmon oshi sushi
- ebi oshi sushi
- hotate temari with ume-cream sauce
- spicy bincho roll
- saba oshi bite with sundried tomato and proscuitto
It comes with a small mound of pickled ginger (but no soy nor wasabi).
The sushi was well prepared; the rice was cooked right, delicate and just sticky and moist enough, with a light tang. Some of the sushi was pressed into molds before slicing, providing sushi pieces with clean square corners. My favorite was the saba oshi with sundried tomato and proscuitto. It’s a rather inventive sushi, but the combination of saltiness from the proscuitto, the delicate texture of the saba, and the boldness of the sundried tomato made from a complex flavor.
The main was a Surf & Turf of Sablefish and Pork Cheek
The Surf half of this dish is a portion of sable fish (aka black cod) marinated in miso, and baked, then served on a cauliflower & parsnip purée, topped with a wasabi-fennel-caper relish. The Turf portion is a pork cheek, slowly braised. They are served with sides of pickled bok choy, roasted baby potatoes, green peas, ginger glazed carrot.
The cod was perfectly cooked through, seasoned properly, albiet rather light on the marinade. The flesh of the fish is tender, delicate and flaky. The pork was tender and pulled apart with the lightest tug of the fork. It was properly seasoned, and still had a robust pork flavour. The potatoes were fork tender, and broccolini was al dente, but I thought the carrot was a little on the under-cooked side; it was a little too firm for my liking.
Sweet Tofu Crème Brûlée maple sugar, berry compote, maple crumble
This is really tofu dessert more than anything else. It’s a spoonful of berry compote at the bottom of a ramekin, topped with sweet silken tofu. Its covered with a brûléed maple sugar, then topped with maple accented crumble. The silken tofu is lighty sweet and smooth. The maple crumble and brûlée topping provide a nice crunchy sweetness. The berry compote and fresh berries on top provide some refreshing quality.
This was the item on the menu that raised my eyebrow. How do you make a creme brûlée out of tofu? Well, it is a brûlée topping, but ‘creme’ it’s not. This is not implying that the dessert is bad. It was actually pretty good.
The room at Minami is chic and modern, clean and somewhat minimalist. The lighting is very subdued.
Our server was fabulous. She was pleasant and attentive, and patient with our questions, while in obtrusive while we were dining.