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Day 1: Kingyo, Zakkushi and kinda sorta Hapa

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Well we got to Vancouver in just under 3 hours and only had to wait 10 minutes at the Peace Arch border crossing! After our annoying hiccups with our car and condo rentals, this was a most welcome surprise. We headed out from the Westin Bayshore around 8:30pm and headed straight to Kingyo.

Fmed, you were spot on with your recommendations! We much preferred Kingyo to Zakkushi and Guu. We didn't actually eat at Guu, but from what we saw from the outside, Kingyo was much more our style. ;-)

We walked into Kingyo and were seated immediately at the long communal table. Our competent server steered us to the yellowtail king fish sashimi which made me swoon with delight (was incredibly fresh and rich tasting) and the ahi tuna carpaccio.

The thin ahi tuna slices were topped with avocado and Japanese radish slivers, garlic chips, kaiware radish, wasabi mayo and soy dressing. Hubby tried beef tongue for the first time in his life. He also had the strawberry and kiwi mojito cocktail. Total after tax and tip was $50, much more than what I was expecting to pay, especially since this was only our first stop of three we had planned for the night.

We'd definitely order the yellow tail sashimi at Kingyo again. However, we thought the tuna and avocado carpaccio had way too much going on in one dish. I think I would have preferred it without the heavy mayo. I purposely didn't eat any of the tuna until after we finished the yellow tail, but after we finished our tongue, only because the tongue came out first.

Hubby was surprised how much he enjoyed tongue! Adding to the novelty was the ability to cook it at the table on a super hot stone. The tiny speck of hot pepper paste and slivered green onions totally made the dish. However, his cocktail tasted extremely watered down. Definitely wouldn't bother ordering a cocktail there again.

As we wrapped up our visit to Kingyo, hubby realized he had forgotten to bring the address for Hapa and our waiter refused to disclose the location to us! Guu's manager happened to be eating at the bar at Kingyo and both men just told us we should go eat at Guu and not bother with Hapa. Not wanting to give up on Hapa, we stopped in at a coffee shop on Denman where the Japanese clerk could only repeat Hapa and Robson while smiling profusely and nodding her head. We picked up a LGBT weekly on the street, but didn't find any restaurant listings, only very explicit ads for things that don't interest us, lol.

Frustrated, we decided to hit Zakkushi and again were seated immediately, this time at a table across the bar. We didn't see much on the menu that interested us so we ordered two beef skewers topped with radish and green onion, fried ebi with herbed salt and squid two ways (grilled body and fried legs). This time, hubby just had water with his meal so our total after tax and tip was $20.

Perhaps we hit them on an off night, but I don't think Zakkushi fries things well. The grilled squid was tender and delicious with an addicting smoky taste. However, the legs while super hot straight from the fryer, were tough, greasy and flavorless. The ebi was inedibile to me. Honestly, I've had fried sardines that were larger than these ebi! And what's with the salt that just tasted like Morton's table salt. Thankfully, I carry Maldon English flake salt with me at all times!

By the time we finished at Zakkushi, hubby's eyes were looking a bit droopy. We left our house at 10am this morning and while I slept on the flight to Seattle, he didn't sleep a wink. Plus, he did all the driving to Vancouver.

We decided to go ahead and head to Hapa to see if they had anything sweet on their menu b/c I wanted something sweet to round out our meal. Alas, we didn't see any desserts on their menu, but reviewing their menu reinforced my desire to return. I definitely saw numerous items that interested me and we will definitely hit Hapa before our return home!

If you're wondering how we made it to Hapa, the nice table next to us at Zakkushi finally keyed us in on Hapa's location. Also, hubby took photos of most of the things we ate tonight, but I'm afraid I won't be able to post the photos until after we return home. In fact, it may take a while to post the photos since we return 5/31 and I head to the hospital for my surgery 6/3.

We're planning to rent bicycles to tour Stanley Park tomorrow since our hotel is so close to the park. BTW, I was floored by the number of Korean restaurants, cafes and grocery stores on Robson and Denman streets. Seriously, I felt like I was in LA's Koreatown! I had no idea there were so many Koreans living in Vancouver. Everywhere we went, I saw or heard people speaking Korean.

Below are my original posts, in case anyone wishes to follow along on our adventures this week:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/621412
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/621988

Thank you again to all the wonderful Chowhounds who have helped us plan our week!

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  1. Thanks for the report!

    With Zakkushi - stick with their sticks. They specialize in the charcoal grilled meats for sure...the deepfried stuff is secondary to them.

    Very funny how competitive these guys are...not giving you Hapa's address....hilarious. On salt...did you notice Kingyo's salt...it has been a few months since my last trip there, but they serve certain items with an array of different salts. And I too experienced bad cocktails at Kingyo...I stick to sake there.

    The Guu's are quite fun....esp later in the evening when the places are hopping. The food at the Guu's are often hit or miss - but you can always count on having a good time.

    It's very Korean in that zone. There are more Korean joints there than Japanese joints.

    2 Replies
    1. re: fmed

      No, we weren't served anything with salt at Kingyo! :-(

      We're huge salt fiends (we usually have at least 6 different kinds of finishing salts in our kitchen), so we're looking forward to checking out the selection at BC on Granville Island.

      I knew we should have stuck with the sticks at Zakkushi, but I don't eat dark meat and all of their chicken dishes looked like they were made with chicken thighs. The beef sticks reminded me too much of Korean BBQ and I wasn't in the mood for pork last night. I thought about ordering one of their meatballs, but decided to pick some fried items since hubby loves all manner of deep fried food items. But that fried ebi was seriously bad. Hubby, however, finished all of our fried items b/c he'll pretty much eat anything. Growing up as one of eight children, he learned to eat what was offered to him, lol!

      Regarding the number of Korean versus Japanese joints, that was exactly what I said to my husband as we walked down Robson and Denman. I guess I know where to direct my parents the next time they visit Vancouver!

      1. re: cvhound

        I love the shrimp there! It's not meaty shrimp, but more like popcorn, with the softshell and head...just eat it all!

    2. yes...thanks for the update...so glad your trip went well