Making a trip back to the west coast, my buddies PhoenixWright, FinestDish, and GVBlack wanted to meet up and took advantage of the last day of Dine Out Vancouver. PhoenixWright got us a lunch seating at Miku Restaurant by the harbor.
I have been meaning to try Miku after hearing rave reviews from PhoenixWright who considers Miku one of his favorite, albeit pricey, restaurants.
Situated in Downtown Vancouver, parking is nothing like Red Deer. You have to circle around or pay at the Vancouver Convention Center. Luckily, we found street parking after the first loop around.
Miku moved to their current location last year so the interior design is modern and clean. It also helped that windows were abundant, allowing plenty of natural light within the restaurant. These windows also gave full views of the harbor so you will have a great view with your meal. This is one place worth spending a little more on (who am I kidding? It’s “a lot more”).
All 4 of us requested the dine out menu which has no financial incentives unlike at other Dine Out Vancouver restaurants, but offered a free dessert. Sake pairing is available for an additional $19, but none of us took advantage of that.
The first dish that arrived was the Miso Soup served in a covered bowl.
The miso soup was hot, but not flesh searing. I hate lukewarm soup of any kind so this was a nice start. It had the right amount of salt and plenty of seaweed to give it that umami taste.
Next came the Zen Box of 4 tapas-style dishes: Fresh Market Salad, Aburi Albacore Tuna, Ebi Fritter, and Soy Braised Beef Shank.
The Fresh Market Salad, on the surface, appeared to be a typical salad with some crispy wonton flakes thrown in for the “asian” flare. However, hidden underneath the wonton flakes were tofu crumbles which altered the way normal tofu would have worked in the salad. It was remarkably stimulating and enticing. The wonton flakes, in lieu of bacon bits, gave crispiness to the salad and helped elevate the ordinary salad to one that was memorable.
The Aburi Albacore Tuna was my favorite dish out of the entire Dine Out course. Not having too many opportunities to enjoy sushi now that I live in Alberta, the Aburi Albacore Tuna satisfied my cravings for sashimi. The classic Miku sear on the tuna elevated the raw tuna and gave it a new dimension of flavor. The masatake sauce which included both soy sauce and sesame oil just hit the umami spot.
The Ebi Fritter dish looked esthetically pleasing though in my head I wondered if it was just a dressed up tempura shrimp. It was much better. The batter was just enough to provide crispiness, but not enough to overwhelm the sweetness of the shrimp (it’s bulk helped withstand the batter). With mayo and a soy balsamic reduction, it helped cool the greasier side. Rounding out the balance was the salad bed which also gave some moisture to an otherwise thick and greasy dish.
The Soy Braised Beef Shank was tender and broke apart with a touch of my fork. Its texture reminded me of a piece of good beef shank in Taiwanese noodle bowls. The creamy mashed potato was aptly named a puree as it was as smooth as ice cream though with a slight grainy tone. This dish was like a re-imagined western meat and potato dish. The only thing that I felt missing was a little more textural contrast as both components were on the soft side.
The next dish consisted of the Miku Signature Sushi which included a selection of aburi, nigiri, and oshi.
We were given 2 of their famous Aburi Salmon Oshi. One oddity for me was that despite the presence of a jalepeno slice on top of each aburi salmon oshi, I didn’t get the expected punch in heat. The salmon was light, but the oshi itself was a bit rice heavy in flavor, resulting in a greater need for soy sauce.
Next to the aburi salmon oshi was the Spicy Salmon Roll which tasted delicate with minimal heat.
Next to that was the Ebi Nigiri which in all honesty, did not stand out. It tasted decent, but paled in comparison to the other dishes.
Finally, the last piece was the Aburi Tuna Nigiri which tasted fresh and literally slid down my throat. In the case of salmon versus tuna, tuna won this meal hands down.
For dessert, we were offered either a Passion Fruit Sorbet or a Balsamic Ice Cream. PhoenixWright, CVBlack, and I chose the sorbet while FinestDish went with the balsamic ice cream.
The sorbet was smooth with no ice particles present. Taste-wise, it was refreshingly tart. To complete the balance and to finish the meal on a high note, textural contrast was offered by the sugar piece and cookie.
We were all impressed with our dining experience at Miku and definitely think that the meal was worth the cost, especially for lunch. In fact, we already spoke about meeting again at Miku for another meal when I return to Vancouver the next time.