DINNER : @kingyo_izakaya_van Located on Denman, in a very small location, Kingyo Izakaya is a dimly lit, traditional Japanese eatery serving up small plates and exotic drinks. This restaurant has an open concept wood-carved bar, lots of greenery and a communal table encircling a row of large bamboo that almost touches the ceiling. Despite the size, this chain-restaurant was bustling, having to wait half an hour to get a table. Its sister restaurants include Suika, Raijio, and Raisu. There's also a Kingyo in Toronto and a Suika in Seattle.
FRESH SASHIMI SALAD: Chef's choice of the three kinds of fresh sashimi on a bed of organic greens. Served with an original vegetable dressing. All the fish was typical-sized cuts and were fresh enough. The greens were crisp and complemented nicely by the ginger-soy tasting dressing. The yuzu jelly and masago on top adding additional texture.
GRILLED DUCK: Grilled, tender duck breast served with balsamic vinegrette & wasabi sour cream. The meat was rendered tender and moist. It was a good medium-rare and with a tasty marinade making it delicious. It was mildly spicy but since it was wasabi sour cream, it was oddly kind of cooling at the same time.
MY EBI-MAYO: Deep fried tempura battered tiger prawns dipped in spicy chili mayo sauce. It was tasty with decent sized prawns and a good amount of chili mayo, but the batter itself was light and lacked flavour.
SPICY RAMEN COLD NOODLE SALAD: Served as a feature special, the noodles were mixed with Kingyo’s original sauce, organic greens, pork, arugula marinated tomato, urdock chips. It had a nice tang and wasn't overly spicy. The noodles were good and the dish was refreshing and satisfying.
FAMOUS TANTAN NOODLES: Ramen noodles in pork bone & shrimp broth seasoned with sesame, miso & cashew nuts topped with ground pork, chili marinated chinese chive, spicy chili oil and black sesame. This dish lives up to its name. The noodles were perfectly cooked with a good texture, thickness and chew. The broth had a creamy taste with a strong sesame seed and green onion flavour. The only complaint was that it was light on the meat topping and the overall portion could've been larger.