Wednesday, September 15, 2010
I had this delicious sushi roll at Irashai Grill on Pender St., just off of Broughton St. (1368 West Pender, 604-688-8697) in the Coal Harbour area. It was called the Black Eel Roll ($11.95), and had mango, avocado and cucumber in the middle, with a magical tempura eel (unagi) on top. The tempura was perfectly crispy, with a super thin batter, still hot, with all the other ingredients complimenting rather than confusing matters.
Irashai is laid back, stylish, and has killer cocktails, along with their amazing sushi and hot dishes. The simple things are done very well too, like the perfect texture of their noodles in the beef yaki udon ($7.25) that I had. Their vinagrettes tend to be a bit on the subtle side for me and are more French-inspired, than Japanese (I like a bit more acid), but still tasty - served on the side for their sashimi salad (about $12).
It's tucked away in Coal Harbour, and does feel a bit like a neighbourhood locals hangout, which in this neighbourhood means it's not cheap and everything feels very "VIP" as they say on their website, but I think the prices are fair and worth it based on the food quality alone. It's easy for me to get carried away, but they have some really nice set dinners for about $17 too.
But it's comfy too. There are swanky red suede-like upholstered semi-circle booths, but several flatscreens around the room too, so it manages to look expensive without being formal. It looks like a good date restaurant if you're looking for something classy that will impress your date yet still has interesting food. They've managed to combine that lux North American casual fine dining comfort (big cushy chairs, big everything) with good quality Japanese cuisine.