Yesterday I went to Ebisu Japanese Restaurant for dinner, and my experience was remarkable for two reasons: Mariah Carey and oysters, though not quite in that order.
Ebisu is an izakaya restaurant located in the same Ackroyd Road complex as Neptune Wonton Noodle and Dinesty; it’s fairly large, sleekly designed, and has a well-lit bar dividing the space into two halves. My server, Yuka, was delightful, and let me know I’d arrived during Happy Hour; it runs from 4:30pm to 6:30pm, with tons of food and drink specials.
Those specials include oysters for $0.99, and when I saw them on the menu, I realized I haven’t slurped any fresh ones back since starting this job! Oysters are my Grandfather’s favourite food, and while I don’t necessarily crave them, I do enjoy having them once in a while. I ordered three of the Royal Miyagi from Cortes Island, which is located up the coast from Vancouver, northeast of Campbell River.
One oyster website described the Royal Miyagi as ‘pretty as a picture, inside and out,’ and I have to say I agree. Both the shell and the meat inside were ruffled around the edges, and the taste was just as charming – fresh as an early morning swim.
I’d have preferred the kitchen keep condiments on the side rather than serving them on the shell, but the vinegary sauce and green onions did compliment the oysters nicely. I ate three Royal Miyagi, which for me was just the right amount. In addition to this first course, I ordered the butter potatoes ($5.95), Cajun tuna tacos ($7.95), and a B.C. Blazer roll ($9.95).
The butter potatoes were kind of like having breakfast for dinner. They arrived sizzling on a skillet, covered in melted cheddar and bits of bacon. It also said the dish was “simmered in a shoyu base,” but I didn’t taste that. The potatoes were satisfying in a late-night diner kind of way, but it was just a bit too greasy for my liking.
The Cajun tuna tacos were finely presented – in a neat row, topped with pea shoots and oily-black tobiko – but unfortunately didn’t offer much in terms of flavour. The crispy wonton ‘taco shells,’ lettuce, cucumber, avocado, and even the seared tuna all relied solely on the drizzle of spicy sauce and mayo to provide flavour. None of them brought much to the dish individually. The wontons needed to be saltier (all they offered was crunch); the tuna needed more seasoning, and the cucumber would have been better if it was slightly pickled. In other words, this dish has loads of potential, but isn’t quite there yet.
I ordered the B.C. Blazer roll on Yuka’s recommendation, and it was decent. It was basically a California roll topped with salmon, teriyaki sauce, spicy mayo and bonito flakes, and while I would have liked the mayo to have been much spicier, it was still good.
I obviously didn’t find the food at Ebisu to be groundbreaking, but that doesn’t mean I think the place is a lost cause. It’s got an upbeat atmosphere, and would be a good place to meet your friends for post-work drinks. My advice would be to stick to the what the guys next to me were having – beer, oysters, wings, and yam fries.
Oh yeah, and are you wondering why I mentioned Mariah? Well, the music at Ebisu was straight out of the late 90’s/early 2000’s, and I was LOVING it. They were playing hit after high-waisted-jean hit, and when this one came on I nearly clapped my hands and squealed. Nearly.
Cash and cards accepted
Vegetarian options available
Happy Hour: 4:30pm to 6:30pm