Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Appetizers Galore

Ajisai Japanese Cuisine
750 1110 Panatella Boulevard NW
Opened only a couple of months ago, Ajisai Japanese Cuisine is yet another entrant to the (far) north west sushi community. Or the restaurant community for that matter. Choices are severely lacking up herrrrrrrrre

We were presented with the menu upon being seated. I leafed through the pages to find an unimpressive sushi list. A half page of typical cuts. Sashimi was offered in predetermined sets. It didn't come cheap either. How unfortunate. We picked a handful of our favorites. What they lacked in sushi, they more than made up for in their appetizer section. Offering two full pages of traditional and contemporary styled appetizers to choose from. I got a little trigger happy when we began ordering.

First up was the ban ban ji (beaten) chicken. Thin slices of steamed chicken breast are topped with slivers of celery and bell peppers and served with a sesame miso sauce. Even though the chicken was super bland, the sauce had enough kick to spice it up. Very refreshing. I rolled up my chicken like a joint and gobbled up all the delicious sauce. 

Next to arrive was the ceviche. Thicker slices of salmon, tuna and scallop sashimi were drenched in a citrus marinade. Sprinkled with a variety of diced vegetables and slices of avocado, the crisp vegetables provided a distinct contrast to the tender sashimi. The sauce was very tangy. Very flavourful. No soya sauce was needed. It probably would have tasted funny if you had it with soya sauce. The rainbow roll arrived shortly after. The roll was fairly ordinary. There was a lot of green (Avocado) in this rainbow... 

The agedashi tofu was the next to arrive. 5 itty-bitty deep fried tofu sat in a giant bowl of hot tentsuyu broth. Top with daikon shavings and a couple slivers of nori, this bowl of disappointment pales in comparison to the epicness of Wa's agedashi tofu. There was no fiery wakame bursting from within the mountain of toppings like a raging wild fire. Just sayin'. Taste wise, it was decent but the presentation was pretty weak. 

The last appetizer to arrive was the wasabi prawns. Covered in batter, the prawns were then deep fried to the max and dipped in a wasabi aioli with masago (or possibly tobiko) sprinkled on top. It was decent. Prawns were lukewarm and pretty bland. I was initially a little skeptical of the highlighter green wasabi aioli. Like is this edible? This green is so unnatural! But it was not too bad, I was not crying like a 2 year old like the time I devoured a giant wad of wasabi. 

Our sushi was the last to arrive. The cuts were decently sized, pretty fresh. No noticeable funny tastes. 

And the scores:
Atmosphere: 8 out of 10. Soaring ceiling and simple decor. Despite facing north, huge windows lets in ample of natural light during the day. 
Cost: 6 out of 10. Definitely not cheap. 2 out of the 4 appetizers were the special of the day so that helped.
Presentation: 6 out of 10. Well put together but lacks its own unique style.
Food: 7 out of 10. Decent. Points for no funny fish taste. Lost points for lack of taste on many items. 
Overall: 6.5 out of 10. Meh.

Ajisai Japanese Cuisine on Urbanspoon

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