Review: Ebisu on Robson

by gigi on April 17, 2009

Jenkins and I were on the prowl for a place to eat for dinner one evening. We felt like Japanese food but weren’t sure where to go so we started wandering aimlessly through the streets of downtown. Eventually, we ended up on Robson Street so I suggested trying Ebisu out. It had opened a couple of years back but we had yet to have a meal there so this seemed as good of a time as any. :) Located right at the corner of Robson and Bute, Ebisu is situated at a pretty central location so we weren’t surprised when we saw the large crowd of people waiting for tables.

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Once we were seated, Jenkins and I both ordered some tea to warm ourselves up. I have to admit the green tea was quite good but we had to pay for it. :p I should note that Ebisu has quite an extensive drink menu but I usually prefer to have tea with my Japanese food. :)

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The dinner menu at Ebisu is a combination of regular sushi restaurant-type items and tapas dishes so it is quite extensive.  We were uncertain as to what to order due to all the available menu offerings but decided to order some of the highlighted special items and some more traditional sushi rolls.

The first recommended item we tried was the double dynamite roll. It was advertised as a “super” dynamite roll so our hopes were high as the dish arrived at our table. Unfortunately, both Jenkins and I couldn’t tell the difference between this and a regular dynamite roll. All the typical ingredients were there and the taste itself was ok but there was nothing extra to make this stand out.

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I can’t remember the name of this next roll but it was similar to a California roll but had some tuna inside and a cooked prawn and green tobiko on top. For a “special” roll, it was tasty but at the same time, pretty standard for a special roll. Since there was the tonkatsu sauce and mayo drizzled on the bottom of the roll, there was no need for us to dip the rolls in soy sauce.

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Jenkins wisely suggested that we pick a filler item in case the dishes we selected weren’t filling enough. This turned out to be a wise decision because all the items that we ordered turned out to be quite small. The oyako don that we selected was no different in that it came in a fairly small bowl. :) I have to say though that it was quite tasty. The egg was cooked just enough to bind the chicken together and the small watercress bits was a nice touch. I find that the rice in oyako don is overcooked and too mushy but the rice was cooked just right while also absorbing the flavour of the tasty broth.

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We were both still hungry after ordering these three items so decided to finish up our meal with the tuna fish tacos. This was another recommended special item and unlike the super dynamite rolls, turned out to be an excellent choice. The tuna sashimi came in mini rice taco shells along with lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, and what seemed like caviar or black tobiko. The tacos were then drizzled with a light mayo sauce. The tuna sashimi was very fresh and together with the creamy avocado, provided a nice texture contrast to the crunchy rice taco shell. The tobiko/caviar added a nice hint of saltiness to balance out the flavours.

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The items we ordered at Ebisu was a bit hit and miss. We enjoyed the taco and the oyako don the most but did find the dishes to be on the small side. After having dined there, Ebisu’s atmosphere and menu offerings seemed to be more in the vein of an izakaya or tapas restaurant that just happened to also serve sushi. I wouldn’t mind giving this place another try but will likely stick to the izakaya-style offerings instead of sushi the next time around. I noticed that there are actually a few Ebisus scattered throughout the Lower Mainland but am not sure if they are related…anyone know?

Details:
827 Bute Street, Vancouver
Tel: 604-689-8266

Summary:
Food: [rating: 3]
Service: [rating:2.5]
Price: $$

Ebisu on Robson on Urbanspoon

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