Kimura Sushi & Japanese Cuisine
3883 Rupert Street
[Re-visit (Feb 2011) post here]
There seemed to be some buzz in the local community surrounding this newly opened sushi-ya on the city’s east side, not traditionally an area that one associates with the best Vancouver has to offer in this genre of cuisine, so I added it to my list of places to visit upon returning from my latest summer Asia adventures. This meal at Kimura took place on a quiet weekend afternoon in the hopes of taking in the reputed laid back, jazz-infused environment that I’d heard about through the grapevine and local blogging community. With a few tables and seats at the bar counter occupied, it was just right in terms of ambient people noise and atmosphere as I gingerly slid my jet-lagged body into a chair for a meal with one of my most hardest-to-please sushi eating associates.
I won’t repeat what others have gone into in terms of the proprietor’s background and restaurant experience as its been laid out more than enough times for those that want to learn about it. In any event, its a welcome arrival from my perspective, and hope others in the city make their way here to take in a careful (e.g. not rushed) service and meal with some quality ingredients and preparation. Just make sure if you do, to keep your eye out for this place as its not the easiest to spot if you’re coming from the other side of the street as its nestled subtly into a building that houses some other businesses, with plenty of natural foliage (for as long as the leaves survive anyways) of mature trees further blocking the view.
In terms of decor, perhaps the most visually stimulating section of the restaurant is the front window facing the street. The bamboo poles acting as some organic shielding from the sun and the glances of passersby, while the opposite side of this rectangular space is populated with clean yet unremarkable table settings. Artwork not pictured here, is also hanging from the east facing wall, and the sushi counter set up so its very accessible and favorable for those dining alone (as the gentleman pictured on the right hand side here was doing).
In order to avoid fears that I’d consumed more calories on my long vacation than desired, a without-rice meal was my choice – the standard sashimi platter. The “meatier” cuts were sliced thicker but the still manageable bite-size portions were handled by a thinner length vertically, as hopefully can be explained by the visual of the maguro. The curved presentation and laying out of the various slices was a refreshing touch, as so many places just lie them layered flat as if they were a handing out a deck of cards. The hamachi really stood out in this set as the most flavorful ingredient of the mix. A fresh oyster was another eye-catching add-on, which you don’t see too often in this kind of pre-set sashimi arrangement in town. In the end though, I broke down and ordered a side bowl of steamed rice, and a delicious side bowl of misoshiru was brought to me as well (cannot recall if this was part of the meal or for some reason, received complimentary).
I cannot directly comment on anything in the below nigiri order, aside from one of the maguro – that had to be ordered as a pair. I quite enjoyed it and would come back to sample more, and next time perhaps alone and at the counter so I can indulge. My meal partner was quite happy with their experience and Kimura received a thumbs up and ‘would return’ rating, so that bodes well for me, as its not always easy convincing this person for sushi outings in this city.
For some reason, the cooked kitchen items don’t hold as much as appeal to me here, as the raw bar features so prominently and there are places around town that do standard family fare well enough that the gap isn’t as large as say when it comes to namamono. I did overhear one older Japanese woman who was eating alone and had an udon dish (or perhaps was it ramen?) mention to Kimura-san that she found it very much to her liking and that she didn’t really enjoy the flavors of ramen offerings found in other places around town, which he clearly appreciated. And then a young mother came in with her kids and ordered some things to do (including yakisoba, which didn’t seem to be on the menu but Kimura-san said they could make for her). Its these little touches that make these smaller operations pleasing to support and I hope we find many more of them around town…