Situated at the heart of downtown, in between Robson and Bute st., Ebisu on Robson offers a trendy fusion-Japanese joint for those looking for a place to eat-out and hang without having to wear a dress shirt to do so (although no one’s going to condemn you for doing it). Possessing a more night-life oriented vibe than the other locations in Vancouver, the food itself for the most part is just as vibrant and impressive.
For a restaurant that claims to have “the freshest sashimi straight out of Japan”, I knew I had to try it for myself and ordered the Aburi Sushi Set from the menu. What jumped out to me right away was the glister on top of the fish, and how thinly cut they were. A lot of times you get these bulky slices that make it feel as if the chef is overwhelming you with quantity over quality, and that’s not the case at all here.
Personally, I had it in sushi-form instead of just the sashimi by itself, and the soft, chewy rice provided a nice balance to the fish instead of overpowering it. My personal favorite was the salmon one with black tobiko (flying fish roe) on top.
The Spicy Chashu Stone Bowl while delicious didn’t appeal to me the same way that the sushi set did. Everything from the chashu (marinated braised pork) slices to the fresh green chives served its purpose, and the plating inside the stone bowl was visually pleasing, but other than filling me up it didn’t make me jump of out my seat. Maybe it was the fact that I was awaiting full-heartedly to sample the sashimi, but don’t set your expectation too high for this one.
Karaage (Japanese fried chicken) is another one of those things that you must get if you’re eating at a Japanese diner, and I mean MUST (ok maybe it’s just me). Personally there are two things I look for in this dish: shiny golden glare on the outside and tender juicy meat on the inside. Both of those criteria were more than met, and the dish was pretty much perfect minus the parsley that added an artistic touch but felt unnecessary. The star of the show, however, was the cajun mayo on the side. Highly recommend.
All in all, the meal costed around $45 with tax between me and 2 other friends, hardly breaking the bank if you ask me for a quality dining experience. The service was more than adequate for a high-paced restaurant such as this one. Honestly, you should expect this from a restaurant under a company from Japan with 40 years of tradition. They know what they’re doing.