We told you we like Japanese Food. Here is our second post about Japanese food, and we are sure there are going to be millions more to come through time.
Yet another highly rated restaurant on Urbanspoon. Shiro is arguably one of our favourite Japanese restaurants at this price range (roughly $15-$20). Unlike other more high-end sushi bars like Sushi Hachi and Kiriri, Shiro doesn’t do the super exotic fish but have the classical things you’d expect from a Japanese restaurant plus a bit more (e.g. Toro, Fresh crab, Uni etc.). They are definitely one step higher than Sushi Village Bar but a bit lower, in terms of sushi, to those aforementioned sushi places. However, not only do they do sushi, Shiro does a large variety of hot foods from tempura to yakisoba and grilled salmon belly to donburi. Although it is quite a small place on the corner of 15th and Cambie (parking at that little mall is impossible), Shiro does the type of food that you’d expect from most Japanese restaurants really well. It is no wonder how busy they get from a whole variety of people (family, couples and Japanese people who know their sushi) – and they do not take reservations. Just like many other highly packed Japanese restaurants in Vancouver like Guu, this is ran mostly by Japanese people who speak the language to each other. In fact, the only non-Japanese person we have found in there was actually mixed – and he grew up in Japan. To us, that signals they know what they are doing.
Random note: everytime we go to Shiro, we notice that random advertisement for Vij’s. I actually went up to that old building thinking it was Vij’s…how embarrasing. My girlfriend just laughed at me. Please don’t make the same mistake. Vij’s is near Granville on 11th, not Cambie.
The Guy Score:
Ambiance (considering it is for dates): 7/10
Spendable Time: On a weekday after 7:30, we had to wait around 10 minutes. They also start giving you the bill to move the waiting line – and I am sure they’d do more of this on the weekend.
Price Range: $15-$20 per person
Comments: I really enjoy Shiro. Their sushi is fresh and they have a lot of variety of different types of food (from good salmon belly to great sashimi and sushi depending on your mood. They also have some great sushi combinations which many places do not offer at night). Don’t expect too many super creative rolls except one or two – we have tried one here. Ambiance wise, it’s everything you’d expect from a tiny Japanese restaurant, with some boxes and stuff on the sides due to their lack of space. The tables are quite packed together but it’s not super uncomfortable. There is a little TV in the corner as well and you can see 3 sushi chefs preparing the sushi right in front of your eyes. Service wise, they have a lot of waitresses and waiters for such a small place (at least 4). But despite them running around the whole time, the service, I find, is just average. Part of that is because they are really trying to get you out of there full ASAP to get the next table in (they asked us to order 2 minutes in…and for slow eaters like us, wow, that’s hard). The water and tea level can get quite low. In fact, there was once where our server filled one cup but ignored the other. Overall though, I highly recommend Shiro, not because of their service or ambiance, but merely because of their food quality and variety at that price. There will be something for everyone.
We cried a bit because they ran out of toro when we went or else we definitely would have had that. Our Japanese dinner for the night (note some of the prices are not 100% accurate in terms of the exact cents):
Seafood Salad – $6.25
Guy Food Score: 8.5/10
Recommended to Order: Yes! It’s healthy too!
Guy Comments: Although they didn’t service this to us first (which was something I hoped for), the seafood salad was really good. The salad was lettuce based and was from fresh cute iceberg. It comes with a bit of cucumbers and tomatoes, but more importantly, the seafood part contains two slices each of tuna, salmon and tako. I have never been a huge fan of tako, but I thought this one was not chewy and tasted pretty good that showcased it inherent, rather subtle taste of the octopus. The tuna was also nicely cut, very smooth in texture, and was one of the fattier slices of tuna (not toro) I have ever had. The salmon, which they say was sockeye, was great. It definitely had that darker colour you expect. However, I think the one at Sushi Village Bar had the stronger salmon flavour. Overall though, the sashimi was really fresh and you get salad and slices of sashimi for $6! The salad dressing was a bit too runny for my liking and I definitely liked the dressing at Village Sushi Bar more (it had more of a sesame flavour…this one at Shiro was more sour but it both had Japanese flavour influences).
Fresh Oysters- $4.50
Guy Food Score: N/A
Recommended to Order: Look at my girlfriend’s comments of this.
Guy Comments: I have never been a fan of oysters so don’t really want to give a score. I did have one out of the three they give you. It was okay, not super fresh in my opinion – I have definitely had better, especially at Sandbar and in Seattle. I recall my girlfriend having a bit of sand too. The red, sour sauce that comes with it reminded me of a lighter version and much runnier version of cocktail sauce but with a tad of Japanese influence (especially through the chopped spring onions).
Tamago – $1.50/ea and Negitoro Roll – $4.50
Guy Food Score: 8.5/10 for Tamago, 9/10 for Negitoro
Recommended to Order: Yes for negitoro especially! If you are a wasabi lover I am not), you have to love at what my girlfriend thinks about theirs.
Guy Comments: Okay, I am a bit biased on negitoro because I love it. Regardless, this is one of the more expensive negitoro maki I have tried (even the more higher end restaurant like Sushi Hachi, I believe, does it a for slightly cheaper than this). But this negitoro roll was very good. It had the most negitoro I have ever had in a roll – just look at how packed it is in the picture! The toro was very fresh and you can definitely taste the chopped green onion from it as well. The tamago, although it had a slightly odd green appearance, was one of the better if not the best one I have had thus far in Vancouver. It was very thick and had 6 layers without being burnt – not easy to do! The egg was not super sweet but just sweet enough and was definitely fluffy in the tamago way. The sushi rice at Shiro is good and you can make out the individual grains without it being super packed together. I did wish I tasted a bit more of the vinegar though, but you do get a hint of it (I think Sushi Hachi does it a bit better in terms of rice). By the way, I always recommend eating sushi as soon as it arrives because the nori (if kept properly) gets soggy as time passes (but I admit we are not very good at it). This is especially true for cones.
Shiro Special Roll – $13.00
Note that whatever is in there exactly varies slightly everyday depending on the fish. Ours came with salmon, tuna, ika, tako, saba, hamachi, tobiko
Guy Food Score: 7/10
Recommended to Order: It was okay, would rather go for something simpler.
Guy Comments: We wanted to try a special roll so we went with the most expensive one. This one had a large variety of fish in it which, to be honest, makes it hard to fit in one bite. Many times, I realized I had to eat it piece of piece (as in fish by fish and then finish the sushi around it to eat it politely). There was Japanese mayonaise that wrapped it all together, which considering the fish they put in it, I was not sure was the best choice (kind of masks the freshness of the fish in my opinion). Wasabi and a bit of soya sauce would have been good enough. I have commented on most of the other fish, but ika which is something I am not very fond of, was also quite good here. It was not super chewy, had a bit of that sliminess you’d expect from squid, but tasted extremely fresh. I have had better saba though – this one was a bit easy to fall apart – although I admit this may not the best way to use saba. The hamachi, which I like, along with most other fish, was masked by the mayo, so hard to comment. Overall, I think this roll tried to do too much. I would prefer something much simpler.
Complimentary Pocky for you to take on the road:
You get it when you pay. Hitoe Sushi does this too. We recall getting one each before but we only got one this time :(.
3096 Cambie Street