Friday, October 12, 2007

Awwww! Another One Bites the Dust!

Japone's Monthly Special in July

Okay, just a quick whine about another one of my fav restaurants disappearing (yup, I still haven't gotten over Lucky Diner): Japone on Oak St. at 67th was a fairly regular stop for me and now it's gone! A quiet and comfy restaurant with surprisingly special food in a little unassuming mini-mall island surrounded by a sea of South Vancouver residential neighbourhood. I went there for creative, flavourful and beautiful Japanese food that was clearly a cut above your average sushi joint. I kept meaning to "spill the edamame" on their new "monthly special" - $15 got you two generous slices of miso black cod (otherwise known as that buttery goodness called "sablefish"), a generous basket of the lightest crispy tempura ever (don't mind the photo...sometimes I get too excited and eat most of something before remembering to take the picture), fantastic tuna sashimi, rice, miso soup, and a really spectacular chawan mushi - silky smooth savoury egg custard with big chunks of seafood and chicken embedded inside. And it wasn't once a was the special for the entire month! All of it was served on beautiful pottery, and the service got quite good at the end. Anyhow, it's been replaced with a more typical Japanese restaurant called Applause. Good quality sushi, friendly sushi chef/co-owner, but for goodness sakes, couldn't they have stolen the secret to Japone's tempura before chef/owner Hiroshi Kudo left? And did he take his charcoal grill with him? Even the unagi was carefully grilled by the chef, imparting that wonderful smoky charcoal flavour to it, back in the day of Japone. Now, mind you, Applause actually does what it does quite well, and of course the price point is quite a bit lower than the former restaurant, but Japone was a tough act to follow (especially after they started doing the monthly special and their weekly specials). I had quite a nice chirashi don there the other day, with a great scallop, really nice, deep red salmon, and a pleasant touch of minced ginger and green onion on the saba. The room has not been changed at all except for the sign on the outside and the addition of some lights, so the place still has the comfy cushion lined window seat-like corner in the front, and the lovely fabric dividers that give a sense of privacy and intimacy to the other tables. At least Japone wasn't replaced with something crappy. I can only hope that it turns up again somewhere else.

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