Stem Japanese Eatery: Traditional Japanese Omakase with a Twist

Diana Chan February 19, 2019 Japanese, Seafood, South Burnaby

Stem Japanese Eatery opened in South Burnaby in 2017 and we finally made a visit by going to try their Chef’s Omakase set menu. We assumed its the best way to try the variety on the menu while utilizing seasonal ingredients.

The Chef’s Omakase

The Chef’s Omakase has around 9 courses and changes daily. They only do 8 servings a day and you need to reserved at least 24 hours in advanced. It costs $88 per person and will take about 2.5 hours.

This menu does not include tea or dessert in the price, it’s extra.

Uni with dashi broth starts the meal to cleanse the palate. The uni is really fresh and goes well with the dashi broth.

The second item has a golden iced snapper steamed with sea salt on top. It was an odd nigiri as I’ve never experienced steamed fish on rice in nigiri form.

The third items is an appetizer platter with 6 small dishes. The dishes varied in tastes and were about 2 bites. Very clean flavours but the flavours weren’t very deep or complex.

Baby Anchovies on Rice

Steamed monk fish on seaweed

Salad of kiwi and asparagus

Firefly squid with miso, bamboo, seaweed, and cucumber

Grated mountain radish with uni and tuna

Rapini and tofu in dashi broth

Sake soup with tempura, white miso, Saba, and bok choy. This was the fourth item in the omakase. It tasted predominantly of miso and it didn’t tie any of the ingredients together.

The fifth item is 5 pieces of sashimi with flounder, blue fin chu toro, and amberjack. It is served with yuzu sauce. These 3 types were ok but wasn’t that impressive. I was looking forward to the chutoro but it wasn’t melt in your mouth.

This has curry tofu, Hokkaido Scallop, uni sauce, and their seaweed dashi broth. This was a pretty good dish and the seaweed dashi broth was more gelatinous in texture but went well with the tofu and scallop.

Chawan Mushi is a savoury egg custard and its made with free-range eggs, mussels, soy bean, bamboo, and ikura on top. It was an ok dish but the egg custard was more on the bland side.

This dish has a few pieces of maple soy meadows duck, celerac puree, and a crisp kombocha pumpkin. The duck as delicious! The celerac puree didn’t pair so well with the duck.

Rice pot with oysters, mushrooms, and pork. It is also served with miso soup and veggies on the side. This was one of the more filling dishes but yet again needed a bit more salt or something more to tie all the items together.


We added $5 for dessert as I wanted to see how it would be like. We opted for just 1 of them. We asked the waitress what it was prior but she didn’t have an idea so we were left in suspense.

When it arrived, there was apple tempura, a cheese foam with a waffle and fruits. Then some sort of ice cream which didn’t have a pleasant taste.

Final Thoughts

Overall, we thought the omakase for 2 people wasn’t worth the price nor were there any dishes that wow’d us. We would have much preferred to order off the regular menu and spent considerably less money. Even some people who sat beside us wasn’t impressed with the omakase as they did issues with a few dishes.

We’ve had some better omakase at a lower price point. They do use premium ingredients in their dishes like OceanWise seafood, fish from Japan, organic ingredients where possible, but the taste really falls flat. Perhaps it’s their traditional Kappo cuisine, the Japanese culinary art of cutting and cooking with seasonal ingredients that just didn’t translate well to the dishes we had.

5205 Rumble Street, Burnaby, BC


About The Author

Diana started Foodology in 2010 because she just eats out everyday! She started a food blog to share her love of food with the world! She lives in Vancouver, BC and adores the diversity of food around her. She will go crazy for churros and lattes.

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