Archive for the ‘Japanese Food’ Category

Point Zero Lounge & Restaurant bills itself as Japanese Fusion.  It is located on 1149 Granville Street just north of Davie, near the entertainment district.  DH and I went to check it out during their “soft opening” week on January 29, 2011.  They have been open for one month now.  As befits the “Fusion” brand, the décor is modern so do not go expecting a traditional Japanese Restaurant.  On Friday and Saturday nights there is a DJ so it was a little on the loud side, although still conducive to conversation.  We noticed a glitter ball on the ceiling but were not sure if there would be dancing later.  There are two huge projection TV screens on one wall so if you want to watch the game, make sure you are not situated directly under them.  No sushi bar, but a large regular bar.  The restaurant has ample seating, either booths or tables.

But of course, it’s about the food.  We were impressed by the variety in the menu.  A few typos, including a couple of mentions of “hot Koran sauce.”  Hmm, Japanese fusion with Islam?  When we inquired of the waitress, she said it was a hot sauce and brought us a sample, but never once did she say that it was really a Korean sauce.

L: Miss Piggy Roll. R: Bob Marley Roll. I know the Miss Piggy is named for the bacon in it, but it really looks like a pig, doesn't it? Maybe I'm just playing Angry Birds a little too much.

There is an extensive Martini list and a decent selection of beer and wines.  We liked that you could order as glass of wine in either the 6 oz. ($6.95) or 9 oz. ($9.95) size.  In most restaurants, you don’t even know what size you are getting, so this is a plus.  Even for a restaurant that is not traditionally Japanese, there should be sake available and it was, although not on the menu.  Some mixed drinks used sake as one of its ingredients so may be worth a try.

We ordered two appetizers, the chicken karaage ($8.95) and “sushi shooters.”  I guess I was expecting sushi in a glass like an oyster shooter, but it is merely a pair of seared tuna nigiri topped with chopped scallions and a little bit of ponzu sauce.  Still, quite tasty and at $3.95 for a pair, a decent price.  The karaage was a disappointment since the outside was quite chewy and dry.  It was accompanied by a “green salad” which was a small bowl of iceberg lettuce topped by a mayo-type dressing.  The lettuce pieces were too big and the dressing was just slopped on top so it wasn’t very appetizing.

The sushi fared a little better.   We ordered the Miss Piggy Roll (crispy bacon, scallop and asparagus top fish roe and unagi sauce, $5.95), the Fancy Roll (tempura prawns, mango, avocado and

cream cheese wrapped in a soy sheet, $7.95) and the Bob Marley (mango, avocado, tuna and wasabi mayo, $7.50).

Fancy Roll

The bacon in the Miss Piggy added a nice salty crispy touch but overpowered the scallop and even the asparagus.  It would probably be better paired with a stronger flavoured fish.  I forgot the fish roe was even there until I looked at the description and then at my photos, so they could use more of this ingredient.  The Fancy Roll was tasty, except my DH pointed out that there should not be a temperature differential in the ingredients in a sushi roll.  Indeed, the cream cheese was cold, but after letting it sit for awhile it warmed up and was much improved.  The Bob Marley was just right; all the flavours complemented each other perfectly and was the best choice of the evening.  We did find the sushi rice just a tad on the soft side in all the rolls.

One order of assorted tempura for $7.95 rounded out our dinner.  It was supposed to come with “3 large tiger prawns and a variety of veggies” but we had an extra prawn so that was a bonus.  Top marks for the tempura, not at all greasy and brought to our table fresh out of the fryer.  There are some intriguing items on the menu we didn’t try, including the electric banana roll (BBQ eel, avocado wrapped with tempura banana top (sic) eel sauce).  There are other Japanese items such as udon and ramen, yakisoba, various donburi (rice bowls), and grilled items.

Final verdict?  Not fantastic, but has some potential.  The pricing is a little on the high side but after all, this is downtown.  During the “soft opening” week all menu items are 20% off which makes it more palatable, and there are some online deals to be found with various “deal of the day”-type sites.


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This is not a primer on how to use chopsticks, but on how not to make a faux pas while dining Japanese.  The Japanese are very polite and careful not to offend, so you might want to do the same.  For details on using chopsticks, look here.

At most Japanese restaurants in North America, the chopsticks are disposable and come in little paper sleeves.  Break them apart so you can use them.  Now, a comment on rubbing your chopsticks against each other.  I cringe whenever I see some restaurant patron vigorously stroking them against each other as if they were sharpening knives.  This can be done if the chopsticks are not smooth and have some slivers, but you should be discreet.  And if the chopsticks are higher quality, for instance made of bamboo, the sticks are only joined at the top and the working parts are already smooth.  So only rub if necessary!

More chopstick etiquette:

  • don’t pass food to another diner, chopstick to chopstick.
  • don’t stick your chopsticks into a dish of food, just lay them across the top of one of your dishes pointed left (if you’re right-handed) when you’re not using them

That warm cloth you are given at the beginning?  Use it for your hands and fingers, not your face.

You can pick up sushi with your fingers.  In fact, this is how they were designed to be eaten.  Your hands are clean now, right?

In most western Japanese restaurants, you can get some sort of combination meal.  It usually consists of miso soup (miso shiru), and various other dishes.  When the Japanese eat, you get all the dishes at once, including the miso shiru.  The soup is not considered an appetizer, but an integral part of the meal.  So if you want to impress the waitress, tell her you’d like everything at once.

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I love sushi.  But it has to be good sushi.  I have yet to find a good “all-you-can-eat” sushi joint here in Vancouver, and I’m pretty sure they don’t exist.  Good sushi is not mass-produced, ’nuff said.

Not everybody knows this, but sushi does not mean raw fish.  The term actually refers to the vinegared rice which is the basis of nigiri (hand-formed), maki (rolled) and chirashi (in a bowl, with stuff on top) sushi.  Yes, you can have sushi without fish, such as the kappa (cucumber) maki and tamago (egg) nigiri.  Or the fish might be cooked, as in ebi (prawn) or tako (octopus).  Raw fish alone, served on a plate, is called sashimi.

See my post on uni (sea urchin) here

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The u is pronounced like the u in “pull.”  For those who don’t know, this Japanese dish is sea urchin, or specifically, the sea urchin gonads.  Sounds gross, and we have to admit, we never liked it before we went to Japan, but that was because we had the more commonly found previously frozen ones.  The “live” ones are the way to go, no comparison.   These are soft in texture, almost like a pudding, and sweet.  The presentation is impressive, all nestled in the shell and perhaps on a bed of shredded daikon and shiso leaves, as shown here.  And yes, it’s raw, so it’s considered sashimi.


Live Uni

You can dip it in soy sauce with a bit of wasabi if you like, but I prefer its pure, unadulterated taste.  Here in Vancouver, this is a seasonal dish between September and April.  If you get it, make sure it is “live.”  If you have tried the previously frozen and not liked it (I still think it’s gross), give the live one a try.  Added bonus – it is harvested sustainably here on the west coast of Canada, and earns a “best choice” rating from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch.

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