Review: King Yo

by gigi on January 21, 2008

Derek has been urging me to go visit King Yo, a new izakaya restaurant that has popped up on Denman St.  According to him, it was recently rated as one of the top Canadian restaurants for 2007 in a food magazine.  To tell you the truth, I rarely venture to Denman St because it’s always hard to find parking and all the good restaurants there normally require you to either make reservations or get there early.  Jenkins and I just so happened to get off work early that day so decided to visit King Yo around 6pm.

king yo

King Yo is a pretty funky space inside and even though we were there early, it was already packed.  We started off with a pot of Sencha green tea.

king yo

As with most izakayas, there was a regular menu and also a sheet of daily specials.  We decided to start first with the ebi chilli mayo.  There was not too much batter on this although the mayo did not have much chilli flavouring.

king yo

We also had the ahi tuna capaccio.  The tuna was drizzled with a tangy marinade and a little bit of wasabi mayo.  There was also a generous clump of thinly shaved fresh onions on top.  The sharp onion taste went very well with the pieces of tuna.

king yo

Our server recommended that we try the cheese fondue with shrimp and bread chunks.  The cheese fondue was a bit tangy and sweet at the same time.  It was not too cheesy (which I like) and also had a strong tomato taste.  I mentioned to Jenkins that it kind of tasted like warm antipasto dip.  :)  There were a few pieces of deep fried shrimp and chunks of bread to dip in the fondue, although I didn’t think there was enough to dip with.  This dish was around $12.

king yo

Jenkins and I noticed by now that most of the dishes at King Yo are quite small, even when compared to other izakayas.   We decided to order some noodle dishes for filler.  First came the tan tan noodles.  In King Yo’s menu, this is listed as “Our Famous Invincible and Undefeated Tan Tan Noodles”.  With a proclamation like that, we had to try it! :)  These noodles tasted nothing like regular Chinese tan tan noodles but were still very tasty.  It had a light sesame and miso taste but also had some seaweed and ground pork on top.  These noodles were $8.50.

king yo

We also had a cold ramen salad with some thinly sliced egg and pork on top.  This salad was quite refreshing and also had some tang from some pickled ginger.  I wasn’t sure if the flavours would go together but this was actually pretty good.

king yo

For dessert, Jenkins and I shared the matcha creme brulee.  It had a very strong matcha taste, which I liked but the sugary topping was not thick enough and the texture was not very creamy.  This was around $4.

king yo

I found the dishes at King Yo to be a bit hit and miss.  The good dishes (tan tan noodles, cheese fondue, tuna avocado) were quite tasty but with its prices being higher than most izakayas and the portion sizes much smaller, you would expect that all their dishes would be hits.  I’m not opposed to going back again although I will probably try some other izakaya places first.

Details:
871 Denman St, Vancouver
Tel: 604-608-1677

Summary:
Food: [rating:3]
Service: [rating:4]
Price: $$

Kingyo on Urbanspoon

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