Monday, February 11, 2013

Mikado (Southside)


The first time I went to Mikado, it reminded me ever so slightly of Miku because of its grandiose design and the aburi sushi on the seasonal menu. The difference is that both the food and decor in Miku could be considered fusion and eclectic, while Mikado is largely traditional with more conservative menu options, classic furnishings and tatami rooms for large parties.


In November, one of the featured items on the seasonal menu was a box-shaped sushi ($19) topped with seared salmon and roe. I was quite excited when I saw this as the structure looked similar to Miku's aburi salmon oshi with bits of mushroom incorporated in the rice. While the appearance was close enough, the taste and texture were off by far. The rice was wet from the mushroom and sauce, so it readily fell apart when I tried to pick it up. In the end I had to eat the topping separately, then attempt to scoop the soggy rice up with my chopsticks. In terms of flavour it wasn't bad, but the texture ruined this dish for me.


I was ecstatic when I saw the daifuku mochi ($3.50) listed in the dessert menu. I've been looking for a good kusa (yomogi) mochi for a long time, but I have never managed to find any good ones in Vancouver. Little did I expect to be able to find it here in Edmonton, and even more surprising was the fact that it was the best I've ever eaten including the ones from Japan. This delicious mochi infused with yomogi leaves and filled with sweet red bean paste is the one thing that keeps me coming back to Mikado time and time again. A waitress told me that the mochi are not made in-house and are instead ordered from a supplier. If only the supplier had a Japanese mochi store! I would probably go every week. Seriously this mochi is not on the same level as the frozen stuff you can find in supermarkets.


The kamikaze cocktail ($6.95, now $9) was just a mound of spicy tuna or salmon or a mix of both. I don't think it makes a big difference what kind of fish you pick though, because the spicy sauce pretty much dominates all other flavours.


In general, the sushi at Mikado is pretty good. I feel like I can't go wrong with any of the classic or original rolls on the menu. Two of my favourites are the red rose roll (red tuna: $18.95, now $20; salmon/tuna: $17) pictured below and the dynamite roll ($15) (not pictured) with lots of spicy sauce. I always ask for more spicy sauce because the sushi is only served with a small streak on the plate.


The sunset roll ($13.95, now $15) was kind of like a California roll topped with smoked salmon, but it had two extra ingredients: kanpyo (gourd) and tamago (egg). I thought this was a bit boring but still enjoyable.


The bonsai roll ($12.95, now $14) was one of the few vegetarian rolls on the menu, but I don't think I would order it again just because the flavour was too mild. It was definitely refreshing though, with lettuce, cucumber, red pepper, tofu, pickled daikon and other veggies.


I knew it was probably not a good idea to try something from the new seasonal menu, but the description of the "flavour blast" ($19) was promising. The presentation was quite impressive too with squiggles of wasabi mayo and a sprinkle of gold flakes. But I'm used to eating sushi in one bite so that the flavours would blend together perfectly and this giant roll made that impossible. I was just eating each ingredient separately, so it wasn't very enjoyable as a sushi roll.


I think the sushi is generally quite good and the ambiance is probably one of the best. And most importantly, the daifuku mochi keeps me coming back. I wouldn't come here nearly as often if I didn't have this dessert to look forward to. Also I've noticed that prices have gone up quite a bit since December 2012.

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2 comments:

letsomnom on February 13, 2013 12:04 am said...

I haven't been to Mikado in a long while since I can't justify the higher price for marginally better taste or creativity. Also, I hear the locations vary in quality and I've only been to the west side location and downtown one. Maybe it's time to revisit!

krispy on February 13, 2013 5:43 pm said...

I've only been to the Southside location, but I would like to try downtown. Totally agree that the prices are up there, especially after the recent price hike. Service is quite slow as well because they're always so busy. But the only other good sushi restaurant I know is Sushi Wasabi and it's possibly even more expensive with less comfortable seating, so I keep coming back to Mikado.

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