Every Friday, my friends and I love to spend time eating and drinking at Japanese Izakayas to unwind after a week of work. Since we’ve managed to hit most Izakayas in Downtown, I had to do some reasearch to see if any new ones have popped up.
Black Rice Izakaya opened a few months ago near BC Place and I had to take my friends here. I made reservations ahead of time since we had a large group. As a designer, I had to giggle a little that they were using papyrus font for their logo.
The space is set up slightly odd with a ramp that goes through the restaurant. We found this place was quite packed after work but it was also the One Direction concert during the day I went. The crowd died down around 8pm.
They also have a bar area near the front.
The first items we had to order was beer and sake. Friday night traditions.
The sake cups were housed in this rectangular box. It was pretty cute.
Spicy Salmon Aburo Hako ($11.95) looks a bit familiar doesn’t it? It’s has asparagus, spicy tuna, sockeye, spicy mayo, jalapeño and then it’s torched.
After eating this, we realized this isn’t an authentic Japanese Izakaya, it was Korean run, so we can see the Korean influence in this roll. It was the type of spice they used in it. Also, most of the servers we heard speaking Korean.
Tuna Tataki Salad with Avocado ($7.99) has some nice big pieces of tuna and chunks of avocado. The dressing was light and quite enjoyable.
Aburi Saba Hako ($14.25) has a thick piece of saba, yamagobo, shiroita-kombu and then it’s torches. Very good!
Yaki Udon ($9.95) was delicious. Nice flavours and textures.
Ika Ebi Hako ($10.95) bas chopped tiger prawn and squid, then tamagobo, cheddar, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese. It is then oven baked.
Ebi Mayo ($9.25) came with 5 pieces, but the mayo part was a bit lacking on this dish.
Smoked Salmon and Avocado Maki Roll ($3.50) was very simple but pretty good. Everyone loves avocado.
Galbi Kushi yaki ($3.60 each) is grilled BBQ prime rib. It was a bit tough and not tender at all.
Black Rice Roll ($8.99) has pacific black cod, avocado, cream cheese, and wrapped in black rice. We found that the cream cheese did overpower most of the ingredients in the role, we could hardly taste or notice the cod.
Chicken Karage Nanban ($7.95) was crispy and well cooked. It also comes with this delicious sweet sauce.
Negi Salmon Maki ($3) was a nice twist on the negi toro since we never see negi salmon on a menu or perhaps I’ve been blind. We all really enjoyed it.
Sockeye Salmon Nigiri (2 pieces – $4.40) we got 3 orders of this as there was 6 of us at the table. Delicious and fresh.
Volcano Dynamite Roll ($8.95) has crab meat, prawn tempura, cucumber, avocado, topped with spicy tuna and rolled up in brown rice. It was a pretty massive roll. I didn’t really particularly like it.
Unagi Nigiri (2 pieces – $4.70) comes with 2 pieces per order. It was good.
Overall, Black Rice Izakaya is good but I felt the service to be lacking as it took them forever to seat us, give us water and take our order. An item that we ordered didn’t show up and we didn’t figure this out until after we paid the bill. When we asked, they had no idea what happened to it, so they refunded us the missing item in cash.
They also ran out of serving plates and forks when we were here. We brought a cake and so did some other group that was dining there too, so perhaps that’s what happened.
We Rate Black Rice Izakaya:
782 Cambie Street, Vancouver