Minami Restaurant

the AMAZING bar wall

Minami Restaurant in Yaletown has been on my list  to eat at since they opened their doors and today I finally got the chance to get my Aburi sushi craving satisfied-for now!  Minami is the sister restaurant to Coal Harbor’s Miku and both are popular for their Aburi sushi (pressed and torched sushi).  If you take a look at the menus for both restaurants Minami has a heavy Wagu Beef presence compared to Miku so if you’re a beef eater you’re in for a treat here.  Seeing my Food Wife Melissa LOVES sushi I had to invite her and luck had it that she had other food business in the neighborhood it was meant to be!

We started out with some green tea ($3) and looked over the menu, a couple of items were already on my list but some others caught my eye so I asked our amazing waiter some questions that sealed the deal-get everything I saw!

First up were the Ebi Fritters, black tiger prawns, baby greens, sweet chili aioli and soy balsamic for $11.  These reminded me of an upscale Ebi Mayo, the batter was light and airy with the perfect amount of crunch.  The sauce was slightly sweet with the balsamic balancing things out.  The prawns were sweet with just the right amount of “snap”.

Something that isn’t a usual item on Japanese restaurants menus is a beet salad but Minami has put their unique spin on this favorite of mine.  The Slow Roasted Beets & Wild Arugula Salad, with yuzu crème fraîche, fig, candied sesame cashew and a yuzu chardonnay vinaigrette this was a winner with both me and Melissa.  The yuzu crème fraîche could have passed for a mild goat cheese that was whipped, the salad also had spheres of grapefruit and the tart yuzu dressing which went with the sweet beets.  For $9 this was great value for dollar and is something that I would order again.

Our third appetizer was something that I order all the time, gyoza’s.  Minami has two different types of gyoza so I asked out waiter which he preferred and it was the Shrimp and Crab so we went with that.  When they were brought to the table something caught our eye-a thin, almost lace-like veil on one side of the gyoza’s-delicate yet delicious!  They don’t serve a side of sauce with these and instead there sauced with a cayenne crab coulis and miso-ume cream.  When I ate my 1st one I was in complete heaven, the gyoza wrapper was thin yet elastic and the crispy other side added another level of texture.  The filling was light and fluffy and when mixed with the sauces would make you swear there was pork in them.  I’m going to recommend these to everyone and are quite possibly the best gyoza’s I’ve ever had.  These bad boys came in at $11 and are a must try.

This is something that I was so eager to try-the Aburi Salmon Oshi Sushi.  It’s pressed sushi with the top layer of fish torched, the color change is the natural fat cooking in the fish, to add a special and unique flavor a piece if charcoal is torched over the sushi as well incorporating a smoky flavor note.  The salmon version is made with local salmon, jalapeno topped with Miku sauce.

For me I found each piece a perfect two bites.  The fish literally melted in my mouth, it really was combination of textures with the softness of the upper fatty layer, the fish underneath was a bit firmer then the perfectly cooked rice to round things out-AMAZING!  At $14 it’s on the higher end for sushi but it’s worth every penny, they have an ebi version that I want to try.

We both ordered dessert after seeing some amazing plates come out of the kitchen.  Melissa got the Earl Grey Berry Cake, it has earl grey cream, walnut sponge, earl grey cookie crust, blueberry & blackberry compote, Japanese puffed rice, hazelnuts, Chantilly cream and a cassis-vanilla ice cream for $10.  I gave the cake a try and it had a subtle, smooth earl gray tea flavor, as Melissa ate more the tea flavor was more pronounced.  The dessert was a hit and she really enjoyed it.

My choice was the Green Tea Opera.  When I was placed on the table in front of me I was mesmerized by the colors of the dessert and presentation so I started snapping pictures and eating the green tea ice cream then realized-the plate was backwards-DUH!

With a flip of the plate things totally came to life, when they say you eat with your eye’s they weren’t lying.  The green tea ice cream had a deep green tea flavor and the ice cream itself was nice and smooth.  This was one of the more complex desserts I’ve had in a while from a flavor stand point, it had green tea sponge infused with espresso and Frangelico liqueur, green tea butter cream, dark chocolate ganache, azuki bean cream, the green tea ice cream and a green tea sauce.  With so many things going on it was absolutely delicious, hats off to the pastry chef for creating something really special.

I think it’s safe to say we had an amazing meal at Minami Restaurant and the place lives up to the hype.  If you’re looking for a delicious sushi meal check out Minami in Yaletown, you might just find me in the lounge enjoying there $10 gyoza and sleeve of Kirin happy hour special!

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