Friday, June 6, 2008

Shibuya Izakaya Calgary Alberta Late Night Sushi and Ramen and Sake

So a while ago I noticed that the shop beside the bubblemania cafe had change owners again. A new bright sign had gone up and the hours were in the window. I had not paid much attention to it till a few weeks ago when I read a review on it by another local foody. Are you gonna eat that? tipped me off to some of the best ramen I've had yet.

We arrived just after they had opened. First to be seated that day actually. It was nice. Gave us some one on one time with the waitress and the manager. Talked sushi and talked sake. The first thing I noticed on the menu was their two page spread of import and local liquor. Their sake list took up the whole first page. We settled on trying a nigori sake which is a sweet unfiltered sake. The Takari nigori sake which was brewed by sho-chiku bai was almost thick to the palette, chunky closer to the bottom but maintained a very sweet taste and smell. The taste and burn of alcohol was a little heavy but delicious none the less. This sake was served cold and went for a modest 20$.

So I had to re write this part. But oh well. We decided since we were drinking sake that we would have the ramen first since rice + rice is usually a no go. I ordered the curry ramen and my partner in crime went with the tonkotsu. Both were plate the same with pieces of bbq pork, ginger egg and seeweed. The Tonkotsu was a beautifully rich cream broth that was a thick white color and just screamed of pork. While the curry ramen just screamed of curry. I haven’t been able to satiate my hunger for spice in a long time and this did the trick. Beware though it is not for the weak at heart. My only qualm with the ramen was the hard boiled egg. The yolk had become denatured due to cooking the egg at too high of a temperature. You’ll notice sometime that when you boil eggs the yolk will turn an off greenish color, which is easily remedied by cooking the egg just below boiling point.

Now that our sake was done we felt it was appropriate to jump right into the sushi. I was very surprised to find one item in particular on their menu that is just going out of season and that is very hard to find, especially in Calgary: torigai, or cockle clam(Which was falsely advertised as geoduck). This shellfish is easy to distinguish from other shell fish due to the fact that it has a "tail" that points almost always up and towards the body. I was pleased with the sushi although disappointed that the art of sushi is now left to "personal choice". Sometimes I wonder why people can't just go with the flow and withstand the proper amount of wasabi, but oh, I digress. The torigai how ever is a piece better served solo. No shoyu no sabi. I will comment that although getting the perfect rice is far from easy, we both found the rice to be a little undercooked.

We finished off with the house roll. The Shibuya roll was a combo of cream cheese, bbq unagi, green onions, seaweed which was then deepfried in a light tempura batter and finished with a light glazing of unagi sauce. It was an interesting combo. It had a very creamy texture with just enough crunch to offset the very soft ingredients. The taste had a nice flow to it, from unagi, to cream cheese and back again with that little hint of onion. Made for a great finally.

All in all I have to say I had a great time at Shibuya, ate contently and was privy to some amazing ramen and a sake list I will go back to. on the flip side I will probably not order more sushi unless I see another piece of interest on the list, and this time I will have to ask that the chef do what he will with the piece, and serve it as he sees fit. The rest of the food looked brilliant too. Worth going back to for sure. Prices were right, everyone was friendly and the decor and location were good. To top it off this has to be one of the only places that are open late nights, so it's a perfect spot for a late night drink and soup. Food, now theres something most bars don't have past a certain time. I think I'll give this place 8/10.

Shibuya sushi is located on 16th ave and 4th st NE address is 453 and you can reach them for reservations at 277-8823.

Keep those chopsticks sharp, Mata ne!!!