Kishu River Japanese Restaurant
3339 Kingsway Street
After a long day that culminated in an early evening flight out of Calgary back to Vancouver, I’d completely forgotten that I had promised the week before to meet up with some friends for some last night drinks. In a rush to meet up with the crew, who’s whereabouts were uncertain other than I knew they’d be on the east side, I made a mad dash from the airport into the general vicinity. Dying for something to eat as I’d had nothing since the noon hour, I headed southeastward on Kingsway until I saw Kishu River on the other side of the street. Yes, after an uneventful eating experience in southern Alberta, I had a sushi craving that had to be satisfied, no matter what the risk…
Yes folks, another edition of “round and round we go, where we stop, nobody knows”. Call it the shotgun approach or solo game of Russian roulette, I once again stepped bravely into an unknown establishment with no fear…. well perhaps a touch of hesitation. The view from the entrance area sparked nothing in me to be pleasantly surprised nor want to head back out the direction I came from. A couple of booths lined up on both sides of the room, with the sushi bar way at the back, and the access to the hidden kitchen to the back right. Once spotted by the lone waitress, I was lead to my table and handed a menu booklet. I quickly asked for some green tea and that was brought to me minutes later.
It was at this point that I started to discretely scan the other customers that I could see. A pair of late-teen boys sat almost opposite to me on the other wall, loudly engaged in a discussion about maki of all things. I spotted another twenty-something Latino couple huddled in the corner space closest to the front window. Again their table suggested they were big maki fans. Not seen but well heard, and directly behind me in another booth was a duo of young women. To sum, this crowd was young and judging from the price point I scanned in the menu, seemed appropriate.
As I mentioned above, I was craving food badly. I needed something hot to eat as well, and after considering several things, I opted to try out a small appetizer of mixed tempura. As you can probably surmise from the photograph, the color was not too bad, but the batter was on the doughy side. Crispy it was but too clumpy and overwhelmed each ingredient it was encasing within. I’d probably have worse things to say had I been less hungry.
Despite my courageous mood, I was in no position to be as bold to order nigiri sushi here. Coupled with the time rush, I asked to have a chirashidon. Surprisingly, it was well proportioned in terms of the visual balance of the fresh ingredients. Slices of the maguro and shake were quite generous in terms of their thickness. The large leaf of lettuce that served as a carpet of sorts to prop up the seafood (and strangely included slices of lemon) was an odd touch. As a plus, the items were not fishy at all, suggesting the seemingly decent turnover and preparation work was helping to maintain freshness. I wouldn’t say this was an outstanding chirashi, but for the price level, I could accept it for what it is. Lately, I’m finding myself more and more open to tempering my expectations keeping the cost of the food in mind. Its all relative I know and each of us has their own opinion on the matter, but this eating experience at Kishu River had me thinking I came out not so bad for what I paid. And after a fairly fast wolfing down of my food, I got my text message prompt to head out and meet my friends down the road at Pojang Macha.