Omakase at Kimura – Vancouver, BC

3883 Rupert Street
Vancouver, BC
(604) 569-2198

[Original (Oct 2010) post here]

Itsuroku Kimura, the itamae at his eponymous sushi restaurant Kimura, is a bit of a workaholic. After selling his previous restaurant in Santa Monica (one of a number he has owned in his long career), he moved up to Vancouver to retire.

“But I was bored of playing golf all day, so I opened this restaurant,” he told me on my first ever visit there a couple of weeks after he opened. Jazz – another of his passions – is the theme here at the restaurant. He plays it over the sound system, and his website urges you to “listen to our Sushi that Swings.”

Kimura prefers that you book for omakase a few days in advance so he can prepare for your meal. As he takes your reservation, he will ask you about your likes and dislikes so he can tune the meal around your preferences – and perhaps special order some ingredients just for you. This particular meal, however, was impromptu. I called a couple of hours ahead and told him that four of us will be there for omakase. I heard the reluctance in his voice initially, but he took the reservation anyway.

We sat up at the bar when we arrived. There were four of us – which was just perfect as the bar only had four seats. The well paced meal was served over two hours. It was very good indeed. While some of the dishes didn’t quite hit the high notes, the meal over all was stunning in its value proposition and inventiveness. For $30 we were being served some impressive, and imaginative dishes…and he was clearly improvising as he went along. The knifework was a bit ragged and the presentation was loose and imperfect. Each dish – while being thoroughly Japanese – had clear influences from his stints in Shanghai, Mexico City and California. One of the diners in our party has had multiple experiences with Kimura’s omakase. She told me that there was very little overlap dishes she had here and on a previous visit.

We all walked out already plotting for a re-visit. Good omakase is hard to come by in Vancouver. And good omakase at this price? Unheard of until now.

(Video Special – Kimura-san making an Oyster-Uni-Ikura-Quail egg- Masago-Tobiko-Sake-Soda shooter.)

Kimura on Urbanspoon

11 thoughts on “Omakase at Kimura – Vancouver, BC

  1. “The knifework was a bit ragged and the presentation was loose and imperfect.”

    I don’t see how you can possibly be that critical of a multi-course meal at that price point. It sounds to me like exceptional value. Although I’m only guessing, because you did not really describe the complete meal that you were served. A bit more detail would be appreciated.


  2. I wasn’t really being critical there. I was attempting to make note of the Kimura’s style (which is loose and freeform) rather than being critical of his technique.

    On the rest of the report…I must admit that I am trying for a more impressionistic style of writing about dining experiences….so I deliberately left out detail about the individual dishes. (For many people, this approach is clearly lacking. )

    I will fill it in here for everyone’s benefit:

    We had a mix of raw and cooked dishes. The prawns that you see above (prawns grilled, then served in a soy-butter reduction) was one of the highlights. Another highlight is the crazy oyster shooter that you see him building in the first picture – it is comprised of uni, oyster, three kinds of caviar, a quail egg, sake, and soda. The other standout was his mackerel battera. The meal was defintely “fusion” – the use of butter, cilantro, various mayos and brushing sauces that meld Asian and Western.

  3. Good to see you guys are back in business!

    I have been to Kimura along with Sherman and, because he was bringing his kids along, we ended up ordering a la carte rather than omakase. While there were some oddities, in the end, we agreed it was a good meal. Would I go back for omakase? Certainly! However, for that, I would want to go with somebody than by myself. I don’t know, I would rather share the experience in that case. In the end, good to know you guys “approve” it!

  4. Just went this past Saturday and had the $30 omakase. Pretty interesting meal but yes its not the finest knife skills nor a souped up cold display case of fish. But I thought it was great value for what we had.

  5. As one of the four in this impromptu omakase, I agree with gastro’s assessment. I was the one who had a “planned” omakase there earlier that same week (in fact two of us di) and there was indeed virtually no overlap — even the sushi we had on the Wednesday was different. The standouts for me in both meals were the dishes where Kimura-san added his vinaigrette-type sauces. Despite the more rustic presentation of a couple of dishes, this is one of the standouts for me in a lot of dining this past year. I’d be here weekly if it was a little closer to Kits :-).

  6. Pingback: Kimura (Revisit) | I'm Only Here for the Food!

  7. Pingback: Kimura – Vancouver, British Columbia « eating is the hard part

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