Review: Shiru-Bay Chopstick Cafe

by gigi on July 29, 2007

My family went to Shiru-Bay Chopstick Cafe in Yaletown last week to celebrate my mom’s birthday. Shiru-Bay is a Japanese izakaya restaurant that serves interesting twists to many Japanese-inspired dishes. The environment is funky and you are greeted as soon as you walk through the door by a chorus of friendly staff.

First, we ordered the ebi chili mayo (shrimp with chili mayonnaise). It came with some deep fried wonton wrappers that added to the crunch of the shrimp. The chili mayo was the right amount of spiciness for me but there was some extra chili sauce on the side for those who needed it.
shiru-bay chopstick cafe

Next came the negitoro & avocado tartare, which was served with some pieces of garlic toast. The creamy tartare went great with the crunchy pieces of toast.

shiru-bay chopstick cafe

One of the specialties at Shiru-Bay is the Hiaburi Shime Saba, which is fresh mackerel that is seared by the server right at your table. The saba is then brought back to the kitchen, where half of it is turned into a salad and the other half is served as sashimi. The buttery saba went great with the crunchy veggies in the salad and was just as good on its own in the sashimi.

shiru-bay chopstick cafe

The last time I was here, my grandpa really liked the duck, which was served with some black olive mashed potatoes and a tangy cranberry balsamic miso sauce. The tender duck went great with the tangy sauce.

shiru-bay chopstick cafe

We had to eat some salad to balance out our meal so we had the crab & avocado salad, which was served with some wasabi mayo. The vegetable content in this dish was a bit lacking though and there was a little too much mayo for my taste. It seemed like it would be better served as a spread with some crackers.

shiru-bay chopstick cafe

The edamame also added to the veggie content for the evening.

shiru-bay chopstick cafe

The KaraAgeJyan also sounded interesting. It was deep fried chicken served with grilled veggies and spiced ponzu sauce. The chicken was light and crispy but to tell you the truth, my favourite part of this dish was the veggies. They had a nice grilled flavour and the ponzu sauce went very well with it.

shiru-bay chopstick cafe

I don’t remember the name of this dish but it was one of the daily specials. The reason we got this dish was because it sounded very healthy and we needed a reprieve from the fried dishes we were eating. :) There was a daikon radish, tomato, egg, and fish cakes served in a clear broth. The fish cakes were very tasty.

shiru-bay chopstick cafe

Another favourite of ours from the last time we were here was the crab croquette. An empty crab shell is filled with a creamy crab spread and then baked in the oven. This dish was very rich and would have been better if there was more bread for us to put the crab spread on.

shiru-bay chopstick cafe

We also tried the fresh scallop and spinach salad. The scallops were lightly seared on the outside and then tossed into the salad, which also had slices of strawberries and toasted pecans. The serving of salad was very generous and came in a nice big bowl.

shiru-bay chopstick cafe

We also ordered the Keihan, which was steamed rice, chicken, and shitake mushroom with dashi broth. The broth came in a teapot and we poured that over the bowl of rice. This dish was nice and light and I would imagine the perfect thing to have on a cold and rainy day.

shiru-bay chopstick cafe

The kimchi udon was also a hit the last time we came so we ordered this again. The udon was bouncy and chewy, just the way I like it. The kimchi added a tangy and spicy hit to the dish.

shiru-bay chopstick cafe

For dessert, we shared the natto ice cream. Natto is fermented soy beans and although this sounded like an odd combination to go with ice cream, it is actually very good. The natto and ice cream is mixed in front of you and it gives the ice cream an elastic consistency, similar to salt water taffy.

shiru-bay chopstick cafe

Overall, it was a terrific meal. I like izakayas because they give you a different variety of Japanese foods from what you typically experience in a sushi restaurant. Because the dishes are tapas-sized, you can order several dishes and try a little of everything. The service is normally quite good here but this time, it was a bit lacking…perhaps due to the Saturday evening busy hour.

Details:
1193 Hamilton St, Vancouver
Tel: 604-408-9315

Summary:
Food: [rating:3]
Service: [rating:2.5]
Price: $$ and a half

Shiru-Bay Chopstick Café on Urbanspoon

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