While Edmonton food bloggers get together a few times a year to eat and talk, we haven’t yet developed the social community of the Vancouver food bloggers. Just have a peek, or better yet follow, a few of their blogs and you’ll see a strong theme of meeting up to discover restaurants throughout the greater Vancouver area (although some seem to avoid Richmond!). And as someone who’ll get together with friends and strangers alike for food, I was stoked to discover Kim (I’m Only Here For The Food!) was making a visit to our fair city.
After communicating via blogs and emails for what must be a year now, I figured that I’d be out to Van City meeting Kim on his own turf, before he was in our city. But like many things, it didn’t work out and I was soon planning a meeting here. With Kim bringing his local host, Trinh, Sarah and I called up the Binster in hopes that he would be so kind to join in the fun. Part of what makes this city so great is the people that share a passion for all of Edmonton’s intricacies, and the Binster is one such local.
Kim had hinted towards Furusato when we first started talking about his trip, and being a big fan of this restaurant, I was a little nervous. We are after all, a land-locked city with more than a handful of poor sushi establishments. Taking a man who lives next to the ocean (fresh spot prawns anyone!!) and has sushi restaurants like Tojo’s and Shiro is his backyard, made me think I should have suggested some meat smorgasbord.
We started our meal with Beef Sashimi, which is something I find quite refreshing. The mix of ponzu sauce and green onion give the dish a nice acidic bite. Kim did ask a great question, and next time I visit, I’ll have to check and see where they source the beef from. Next up was a double order of Seaweed Salad, which is something I’ve never ordered before. It was crisp, clean, but more than anything it was non-descript, making it a take it or leave it dish for yours truly.
We were then given a bowl of free Salmon Chunks. Once you’ve dined at Furusato a few times, you’ll notice the kitchen has an ingenious way of using left over pieces and the restaurant patrons are the lucky benefactors. From chunks of whole salmon, to seafood balls, to fish heads, I think it’s an ingenious way to foster business with something that might just end up in the dumpster. I quite like the salmon chunks and the accompanying teriyaki sauce. I believe the Medium Sashimi arrived next. Something I’m always a fan of, I think this platter does a good job at covering what’s available, without going into the extravagant items like tuna belly and sea urchin. The pieces for the most part were cut quite nicely, tasted fresh, and served their purpose well. The salmon may have been the one knock, being cut rather large made it feel slightly out of place, but it’s something most people would welcome any day.
Another pick from the starter menu was next; Whole BBQ Squid. I love this style of preparation and would take it over the calamari you see around town any day. With just the right amount of spice and time on the grill, this ends up being a fantastic chunk of protein and something that Sarah and I have started to order on a regular basis. A full order of Tempura was also now trying to make room on the table. Shrimp, broccoli, onion and yam were coated in a decent batter (I’m not a tempura guy) and came to the table nice and crispy. The batter lacked any really golden brown deliciousness, which made me wonder if it needed another minute or the fryer fat was so fresh it hadn’t developed any seasoning.
Last to the party was this Caterpillar Roll. The artfully displayed roll was wrapped in perfectly ripe avocado, and hid an interior of BBQ eel. The textures were perfect, with both the avocado and eel being soft and smooth on the palate, while the rice was nicely formed, although I couldn’t taste any seasoning with the avocado in the way. Comparing it to other rolls we saw going by, this roll was quite frugal on the eel and a little extra filling would have gone a long way to spice it up.
A solid meal I believe for our guest, and something that covered a bit of everything on the menu. While we shared our last bit of the evening outside, I sat back and wondered how we did here in the Chuck. Would the rice be seasoned properly for the man who comes from the land of sushi on every corner, was our flash frozen fish thawed properly for this sea neighbouring visitor…I suppose we’ll have to wait for Kim’s post to find out (post here). I do know it was great to sit down with a stranger that felt more like a friend, and enjoy a peaceful, long weekend supper. Thanks for coming Kim…I hope you were able to catch just a glimpse of what makes this place so wonderful to live in.