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Where to go for first time Urchin (Uni) in Vancouver?

jkhdsf Jan 31, 2012 04:30 PM

I've never tried Urchin before and i'm really very curious. Anyone have a recommendation for where to go to try it for the very first time?
I don't mind paying more for a good experience.
Should I get Uni at a nice japanese place or just go to the market and pick one up to take home and eat it plain?

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  1. p
    Peter Rodgers RE: jkhdsf Jan 31, 2012 04:53 PM

    You won't go wrong with Sushi Kimura. The key is to find a sushi bar that makes sure the uni is impeccably fresh.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Peter Rodgers
      grayelf RE: Peter Rodgers Jan 31, 2012 05:52 PM

      Sushi Kimura is the only place I will eat uni. I really trust his sourcing.

    2. LotusRapper RE: jkhdsf Jan 31, 2012 05:07 PM

      Neither will you go wrong at:

      - Octopus Garden (try their "uni shooters" .... mmm)
      - Miku
      - Koko
      - Toshi
      - Zipang
      - Shiro
      - Miko
      - Hime
      - Kamei (aka Ebisu)
      - Hachibei
      - Ajisai

      Just scratching the surface .... this is Vancouver after all. The above are merely places (that I can think of) where they put more effort into quality and preparation than your typical McSushi places. There'll be dozens more that others here will suggest that are highly recommended.

      Good luck !

      4 Replies
      1. re: LotusRapper
        kinnickinnik RE: LotusRapper Jan 31, 2012 08:16 PM

        I really like Ajisai for uni

        1. re: kinnickinnik
          LotusRapper RE: kinnickinnik Jan 31, 2012 09:41 PM

          Yup ........ :-)


          1. re: LotusRapper
            kinnickinnik RE: LotusRapper Jan 31, 2012 10:20 PM

            Great pics - they convey the freshness and quality there. It's been way too long - must pay them a visit soon.

        2. re: LotusRapper
          fara RE: LotusRapper Jan 31, 2012 08:18 PM

          I want to move to Vancouver!

        3. j
          jcolvin RE: jkhdsf Jan 31, 2012 08:19 PM

          You won't be able to find live urchins at the market for the most part. Some places will sell you a tray of urchin (Angel seafoods probably has trays in the back), but you want to make sure it came in within a day of when you buy it. It doesn't last for more than a few days, and there are few things nastier than old urchin. Buying a tray will usually be cheaper (you could make 10 pieces and some sashimi for the price of a few pieces in a restaurant), but if it's your first time one of the recommended sushi places might be best. Some of these places will have live uni as well (at a premium price).

          3 Replies
          1. re: jcolvin
            Sam Salmon RE: jcolvin Jan 31, 2012 09:14 PM

            I'm surprised no one has mentioned the boat down on the dock @ Steveston Harbour that sells Uni.


            1. re: Sam Salmon
              fmed RE: Sam Salmon Jan 31, 2012 09:52 PM

              Is he still docking there? (Kuroshio http://www.kuroshio.com/)

              1. re: fmed
                jcolvin RE: fmed Feb 2, 2012 01:22 AM

                Haven't seen a uni boat @ Steveston in ages. Kuroshio stopped coming last year. There were none, then there was Kuroshio, then there were two boats !?! now there are none again.

          2. waver RE: jkhdsf Feb 1, 2012 08:38 AM

            I tried it once, at En. It made me want to rip my tongue out and die. I wonder if that revokes my meager chow credentials or if it was a bad batch and I should try it somewhere else? Brrr.

            5 Replies
            1. re: waver
              fmed RE: waver Feb 1, 2012 08:47 AM

              If the uni you ate had a whiff of ammonia, then it was a old batch. Most sushi joints serve this kind of uni. Fresh and live uni have a mild ocean-y flavour. It should be more like eating an oyster. Try it a Kimura.

              I have had old uni at even the priciest sushi joints (most recently at the over-priced and less then mediocre Ki). It leads me to question their sourcing and their quality control.

              1. re: waver
                grayelf RE: waver Feb 1, 2012 09:20 AM

                That is why I only allow Kimura to choose my uni :-). I had the rip my tongue out and die experience and swore off it years ago. Then one time at omakase, out comes a full plate (no kidding) of uni at Kimura -- I hadn't said no uni but we got the $30 choice assuming it would not be in the mix at that price. Wrong and thankfully so. I couldn't believe how insanely good this stuff was. I had to stop myself from licking the plate. Never had a less than stellar piece of uni at K-san's bar since, whether pristinely plain or enhanced in some way by him. No idea how he manages to keep the quality so high and consistent, just happy it has been so for us.

                1. re: grayelf
                  waver RE: grayelf Feb 1, 2012 06:50 PM

                  Ahh good to know. I think I'll let a couple years go by, but then perhaps I'll be ready to try again...
                  BTW I enjoyed the rest of my meal at En immensely.

                  1. re: waver
                    LotusRapper RE: waver Feb 1, 2012 11:18 PM

                    There's always beer to displace any lingering uni tastes you find unpleasant ...... ;-)

                    1. re: LotusRapper
                      waver RE: LotusRapper Feb 2, 2012 05:20 PM

                      Yes, and sake worked well too as I recall.

              2. t
                twinkienic RE: jkhdsf Feb 1, 2012 10:19 PM

                Personally, I think the live uni is far more delicious than the boxed uni (even if it's "fresh", it's at least a day old). I think most of the nicer Japanese places in town would be fine as long as they're advertising live uni. I've had live uni at Octopus Garden, Tenhachi, and Sushi Kimura... but I'm sure other places serve it too.

                How much longer does live uni season last? Or is it already finished?

                3 Replies
                1. re: twinkienic
                  jkhdsf RE: twinkienic Feb 1, 2012 11:57 PM

                  I talked to a seafood shop at granville island. They're still getting it in fresh

                  1. re: twinkienic
                    fmed RE: twinkienic Feb 2, 2012 12:04 AM

                    Both Red and Green uni are currently in season. (Oct-May for Red and Nov-Mar for Green, IIRC).

                    1. re: fmed
                      jcolvin RE: fmed Feb 2, 2012 01:25 AM

                      Green is generally the best tasting (sweetest) but the pieces are small. Red pieces are much larger but not such a delicate taste. A bit like the difference between a Kusshi oyster and a pacific beach oyster. If I can find the green ones they are my favourite but red is much more common.

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