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Have you tried Midori lately? (Cgy)

John Manzo Mar 30, 2010 12:39 PM

Midori Japanese Cafe, 1054 17th Ave SW, Calgary. I've been going maybe twice a month for the last few years and have always been happy-- not overjoyed, but happy-- with their cheap and serviceable sushi and Korean. Then a few weeks ago they added some interesting "fusion" maki (think El's Japanese Fusion) which is, I've come to learn, a Korean spin on sushi that makes for some very complex and interestingly layered dishes. It's not traditional but most of it tastes really good.

Anyway, the first of these new rolls I sampled a couple weeks back is called a "goddess roll' if memory serves- it's avocado, tempura asparagus and a spring lettuce mix inside, topped with tempura bits and a wasabi mayo. FANTASTIC, beautifully presented, and a great deal at $8.95, practically a meal in itself.

Today I stop in for lunch and the entire menu is new. The walls are covered with pics of interesting new rolls. I order a bowl of miso soup and two rolls: a spicy tuna crunch, and a "hawaii roll" which comprises tempura shrimp, avocado, and mango.

Soup up first- it's fine; not remotely as rich and delicious as the miso soup at O Shima but decent enough.

Long-ish wait ensues but I hear much chopping and frying and i'm hopeful. Then come my rolls- each plated separately. The Hawaii roll is a sight to behold, and of course I forgot my phone today for pics. Turns out the whole roll is tempura'ed. It is in 6 mouth-filling pieces in a crescent around a pile of salad, which seems a little odd, but then I taste the salad. BEST JAPANESE SIDE SALAD I'VE EVER HAD. Dressing is nice creamy miso based and the salad has thin radish and shredded beet. Gorgeous and delicious, an absolute cut above what one usually sees at sushi bars and in bento boxes. The roll is fantastic; there is more than a touch of sweet here because the mango in the roll is in addition to mango mayo that is delicately squirted atop but I still enjoy every bit. This roll is $10.95.

Next is my spicy tuna crunch. It's on a long thin plate (think Globefish) , and, hmmm, this looks very much like a similar roll at both Blowfish and Sukiyaki house. Inside is tempura and cuke (avocado would work better IMO); outside is the tuna, a tiny slice of jalapeno, and the whole thing is enrobed with the lovely spicy mayo that I've always loved at Midori. This roll isn't quite as well made as the similar one at, say, Sukiyaki house, but at HALF the price (Midori's is just $6.50, which must make it the single best value for a giant special roll in town, maybe the whole country). It was very good- not as good as the Hawaiian but plenty good.

Lunch with ice water came to a hair under $20. I look forward to trying more of their rolls and maybe for the first time their nigiri, too.

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    theauditor RE: John Manzo Mar 31, 2010 06:27 PM

    We were just at Midori this past Saturday with three kids in tow (apologies for the patrons that were there at the same time as we were). It's been a few months since we had gone to Midori due to the arrival of our newborn but prior to that, we were regulars there. The actual menu itself was unchanged when we had gone but I noticed that there were pictures of new rolls on the wall. I agree with you John - the sushi (and food in general) is very good but not top notch but you cannot beat Midori for value. Their rolls are solid, we love their tempura, and I'm a big fan of their vegetable bibimbap.

    1. John Manzo RE: John Manzo Apr 6, 2010 02:05 PM

      Got the yam/avocado roll and the spicy tuna crunch for lunch today- here's a pic: http://media.shozu.com/cache/full/a61...

      I also took the plunge and got nigiri for the first time (at Midori, I mean): two pieces of unagi at the not-exactly-cheap price of $2.70 each. But- excellent! Beautifully shaped, nice and warm, good-sized pieces of fish, and a very nice sauce that, I was informed, is house-made, so no Sysco teriyaki sauce for unagi here.

      7 Replies
      1. re: John Manzo
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        sleddog RE: John Manzo Apr 6, 2010 02:59 PM

        I haven't been to Midori in a while but now I need to go back.
        Actually haven't even tried the new Sukiyaki House since they opened in the Kyoto 17 space. Walked by a while ago and it looked very empty...

        1. re: sleddog
          John Manzo RE: sleddog Apr 6, 2010 07:19 PM

          that's Fuji Yama that opened in the Kyoto space. Sukiyaki House is in the Penn West bldg, next to Rush. 10th Ave west of 1st St SW.

          -----
          Sukiyaki House
          207 9 Ave SW #130, Calgary, AB T2P 1K3, CA

          1. re: John Manzo
            s
            sleddog RE: John Manzo Apr 6, 2010 08:09 PM

            Right Sorry.
            Been to the Sukiyaki downtown... Just having a brain freeze

        2. re: John Manzo
          n
          nonlinear RE: John Manzo Apr 6, 2010 05:50 PM

          wow john, those rolls look great - even IF the picture is blurry as heck! :P how much were those rolls? they are huge!

          1. re: nonlinear
            John Manzo RE: nonlinear Apr 6, 2010 07:20 PM

            not a bad price at all- the spicy tuna is $6.50 and the yam/avo is, I think, $7.95.

            1. re: John Manzo
              b
              Bex_03 RE: John Manzo Apr 6, 2010 07:59 PM

              That's fantastic! It looks like they give you quite a bit too. Do you know if they make their own spicy tuna sauce? I have a big problem with restaurants that just dab hot sauce on a regular tuna roll...I can do that at home.

              1. re: Bex_03
                John Manzo RE: Bex_03 Apr 6, 2010 09:30 PM

                Bex, these folks do it with spicy mayo; I assume it's house-"assembled" if not "house-made." I also have an issue with just using straight sriracha.

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