But to say I liked it would extend my feelings towards Miku just too far into the realm of discomfort. Located along Vancouver’s waterfront, if you manage to nab a window table, Miku serves up a beautiful skyline view with their innovative japanese fusion cuisine.
As with much that is beautiful in life though, sometimes beauty just isn’t enough. Like the token snooty girl who always seems to lack just a little too much substance and depth, Saturday night at MIku was an unsettling experience.
In a city brimming with sushi, upscale Japanese restaurants are a rarity so it was in excited anticipation that I arrived for our 7:45 pm reservations. In the end, it turns out reservations don’t count for much at Miku as we weren’t seated until almost fifteen minutes past this and ten minutes past the six other walk-ins that arrived after us.
Not a smile, explanation, apology, or thank you in sight. No matter though – years of mean girls and bullying a thick skin do make so Miku, my loss is definitely your gain tonight.
We slide into our booth slightly past 8 pm.
“Well, I need a beer.”
$8 Sapporo manages to ease the edge and it is with a slightly renewed faith that we look towards our meal.
A tantalizing production, the Aburi Beef Carpacio arrives with enough flare to ignite any appetite but at $18, I expect nothing less. AAA short rib, horseradish crème fraìche, jalapeño garlic ponzu, and organic greens skilfully assembled under a sous-vide egg – it’s hard to go wrong.
As soon as that silky yolk oozes through the rare beef, despite its cool temperature, fills your mouth with a warmth reminiscent of a school holiday where homework and deadlines don’t exist. The egg all at once pulls everything together while simultaneously highlighting the distinct flavours of horseradish and ponzu.
Even the refreshing zest of the dressing elevated the hum drum nature of organic greens to A game status.
Aburi, and it has to be said, has to be had. Their claim to fame, the kiss of the light flame sear enhances the fish and when paired with each signature sauce, is a real treat for the tastebuds.
If Miku does anything right, it is this. The miku sauce of their Aburi Salmon melds with the sockeye, jalapeño, and the smooth as butter rice so that it creates this melting sensation in your mouth.
And because one aburi isn’t enough, the Aburi Ebi arrives soon after. This one, with its zesty lime ume sauce, colours your tongue with the flavours of bright and fresh. As ebi tends to be, this steamed prawn was slightly dry and though still a solid choice, was no competition for the salmon.
I’m about to seem déclassé with this next thought, but you are what you are. And if you ever find yourself in this situation wondering the same thing, I want you to know, you are not alone. And yes, we will get through this together.
But seriously, “Where is the soy sauce?”
“Do you think they serve it here? Should we ask? Do other people have it?”
Yes. Yes. Yes. They do serve it here, you should ask, and other people do have it. I wish they had let on a bit earlier about the soy, but you know – better late than never. Soy is joy and I don’t care who knows it. Just a dab is all you need for it to complement and bring out all the other flavours even more.
And finally, it saddens me to bring us to the Coal Harbour Roll because boy was this a mistake.
“Red tuna, hokkaido scallops, asparagus, wasabi pickles, wrapped in hamachi and shiso, moromi-miso, spicy negi-shio sauce” – this roll sounded like a sure thing.
I knew it wasn’t a sure thing when my first thought was, “There is a lot happening here. I want it not in my mouth.” Of course when you are paying $17 for a roll, one does not simply spit out their sushi. Rather one bites down and consumes every bite right down to the last grain of rice.
Sweet, spicy, fishy, fruity – what is even happening here? Even if this were priced at sushi prices I’m accustomed to (i.e. $3.50 a roll), this would still be a no go.
Would I return to Miku?
Not any time soon.
Real talk – Yes, the carpaccio and aburi is delicious and their sushi is higher quality than most other restaurants. When you’re charging me a minimum of $16 per item though, you had better back it up with something more solid than rude hostesses and a mediocre ambience.
Spoiled in Vancouver, it’s hard to justify paying over $100 for two sapporos, three rolls, and an appetizer when sushi is essentially available to me on every city block I walk.