Dark and I tried a new restaurant Saturday night: Sushi Queen Izakaya on Bay Street and Elm. The ambiance was pretty nice – it was surprisingly so, actually. From the outside, it really didn’t look like much but a typical tiny Japanese restaurant in the corner location, but inside it was surprisingly roomy. The lighting was quite dim – enough to give off an air of romance or fine dining, but to be honest, too dark for me to read the menu. But that’s okay, Dark usually takes care of ordering 😛
We ordered from the Izakaya menu, which was not the typical all-you-can-eat fare, nor even the usual sushi. If you’ve ever been to Guu Izakaya, this is similar in terms of unique dishes. I like the environment at Sushi Queen much better, though – quiet and cozy as opposed to loud and crowded. The food here is cheaper, too, and just as unique. They do have a regular menu though, with all your regular miso soups, sushi, tempura, rolls, and whatnot.
I took pictures with my phone, but the quality isn’t spectacular since it was so dark in the restaurant, I had to use flash to even get a photo at all. So here’s what we got:
Bacon Wrapped Scallop (special menu): I can’t remember the price of this. But yum! Bacon? Scallops? Doesn’t get any better, ever. Of course, we polished off the (single piece of) lettuce and the (baby’s mouthful worth) of alfalfa. Mmm bacon juice.
Beef Carpaccio ($5.95): raw beef with baby radish sprout. More alfalfa wrapped in beef sashimi. This was really tasty, actually. Despite the fact that I have always had an aversion to eating beef sashimi (yeah that’s right – sliced raw beef), I knew I had to at least try one. My hunger also emboldened me. Normally, beef sashimi is a very daunting dish for me, as all I can think about is tasting raw blood (you’re welcome for the gruesome detail there), but this tasted sweet and juicy. I couldn’t even tell I was putting raw beef in my mouth.
BC Wasabi Tuna (special menu): Just-seared tuna in a sauce with a slight tang of wasabi. It wasn’t spicy, though – if I can handle it, most people can. This was also a yummy gobble-me-up.
Paris Roll ($9.95): salmon, tuna, rice ball with lobster salad on top. These are kind of like salmon roses, except tastier because of the higher quality fish and the extra tempura on top, drizzled with a spicy mayo sauce. Again, spice was light – even enjoyable.
Sushi Hamburger (special menu): deep fried cod fish. This was a huge disappointment – everything was dry, and there was too much breading. The only “meat” in this “burger” was really just lots of vegetables. I think this was something like $7.95-9.95, too.
Worst dish we ordered, hands down. Okay, it just wasn’t spectacular.
Oyster Shooter ($5.95): raw oyster with quail egg with yuzu sauce. Doesn’t that sound gross? Doesn’t it? This was Dark’s most highly anticipated dish – apparently he’s always dreamed of having raw oyster. Well. He downed his in one go. Turns out there’s probably some kind of tobasco sauce in there, as it was somewhat spicy and he didn’t think I’d be able to handle it. I almost managed to convince him to have the second shooter, too (oh, it was all too easy – he really wanted it). After holding it in his hands and inches from his face (and a few quips from me), he decided that he really wanted me to experience it as well – the sweetness of the oyster, the melding of the yolk and the oyster together with the sauce…
I have to say though, the idea more than grossed me out. I held this in my hand like I used to hold my 5 mL of Dimetapp – for as long as I could before my mother threatened to hold me down and pour it down my throat. I dipped the tip of my tongue in it twice and felt the sting of the spice, and smelled the tobasco oil more than 5 times. Finally, I poured it all into my mouth in one go, and tried really hard to chew as fast as I could so I could swallow it, get it over with, and wash that damn spiciness down.
Somehow, I feel like Dark and I had completely different experiences of this. I don’t recall the “sweetness of the oyster” or “how tasty it was when everything melted together”. I just mostly tasted the spiciness of the sauce, and the sliminess of the solids. Perhaps it was my frantic desire to rid myself of the spice as soon as possible. I suspect the spice is there to balance out the fishiness of raw oyster. Maybe I’ll be braver next time.
Tuna Carpaccio ($5.95): sear[ed] tuna, avocado with yuzu sauce. This was almost like the BC Wasabi Tuna – except there’s no
wasabi taste to the sauce. This tuna was also a little bit more chewy, whereas the BC Tuna was more smooth. There were avocado slices underneath this. Just for comparison’s sake though, here’s the picture on their menu:
Hm… seems to be a bit of discrepancy there. A little misleading, wouldn’t you say?
Speaking of misleading, here’s the last one:
Salmon Unagiro ($6.95): deep fried Japanese mushroom stuffed with salmon. First of all… what mushroom? This was so overly breaded you could barely taste anything past the bread-tasting deep-fried breading. The salmon inside was dry and tasteless, and you wouldn’t have known there was mushroom if you hadn’t read the description. Second worst item ordered. Actually, on second thought, maybe this was the worst item ordered. At least the Sushi Pizza had vegetables in it to give it moisture and a different texture. And at least you could taste the different components.
By the way, here is the picture on the menu:
How does this-? What-? …I’m speechless.
All in all, the raw dishes were spectacular, but the cooked items failed to impress. Well, other than the bacon-wrapped scallop, but if Ireally wanted to, I could make that myself at home. I just happen to never buy bacon from the grocery store. But that could be easily remedied.
(Image source: http://www.sushiqueenizakaya.com)