So I really, really like Octopus Garden in Kitsilano (on Cornwall) for sushi.
First of all, Sado-san, the chef and owner. He has a great sense of humour, is excellent and what he does (of course), and always has a big smile on his face.
The last time I headed to this intimate, 30-seat restaurant, it was for a birthday dinner, where we filled the restaurant with friends (except for a couple of people at the bar). Since we were spread out in the multiple sushi boats, booths, patio tables, and regular tables throughout, it was a bit difficult to maneuver around and chat with everyone throughout the meal and I didn’t see what everyone ate.
Most of the people at our table went with the omakase special that night. Omakase is essentially where you leave yourself in the hands of the chef, and he will make whatever is fresh or special for the day. There are a few different levels to choose from, starting at $60 per person, and going up as high as $100 per person (for more unique or expensive cuts of seafood).
We started with a Tuna Shot glass filled with quails egg, rice, tuna sashimi, and a few other select ingredients – this was to be mixed and drank altogether. Some people have a bit of an issue with raw egg, but after mixing this up and downing it, I really enjoyed all of the flavours and the texture.
This was followed by some Assorted Tempura, including tuna, prawn, and some veggies. It was served piping hot, and the crispy shell was great.
Next up was the Assorted Sashimi course, which had a large variety of fish including hamachi, ahi and regular tuna, sockeye salmon, and toro (tuna belly). This was all extremely fresh, and thoroughly enjoyable.
The final part of our meal was the Assorted Sushi Rolls. There were several different kinds, but I had been drinking a lot of wine and was forgetting to take pictures before it was too late. In fact, three quarters of the way through our meal, we managed to drink the restaurant out of all of their bottles of white wine! At that point we moved on to cocktails and red (for those who weren’t already drinking it). So I don’t have much for descriptions or names here – but I can vouch for the fact that they were all delicious!
Generally, Sado-san will provide a dessert for each individual that orders the omakase as well, but since this was as special occasion, he made a monster ‘cake’ for me! It was tempura banana and ice cream, with fresh strawberries and chocolate sauce, and candles on top! We all dug in and had a fantastic time with it (and this before the light dance party began) – those who were there will understand. 😉 And here is my only picture of it – courtesy of a friend.
I will have to definitely return sometime soon (and have been there several times in the past), so that I can add a larger gallery of pictures.
Every experience I’ve had at Octopus Garden has been excellent, including everything from the food, to the service, to the atmosphere. Note that the pricing is higher than most other sushi restaurants in Vancouver, due to it’s high quality – but it’s worth it on those special occasions!