Wow I’ve been remiss in my blogging duties. The NSSSO reminded me the other day that I had blog that I am responsible for… not just the eating part. So here I am, making up for lost time (?), if this counts in any way that is.
My first post this summer is the new(ish) Japanese Izakaya in what is now known as Downtown Markham (I have yet to figure out where Uptown Markham is… although there are signs eluding to it… perhaps they are condos…). It was an experience for sure. We tried to make a reservation for Friday night, and lo and behold, we were told they were completely booked. Is this restaurant really that good? We tried again on a weekday and got a reservation.
It’s a nice place, I want to say modern… but what place isn’t nowadays? Instead, I’m going to paint you a picture with nothing and say that it reminds me of a larger more expensive looking version of Guu. Where Guu has wooden tables and a lack of seating area, Kiu has seating in spades. A sushi bar is set to one side so you can watch them as they work. The kitchen is open for all to see, hence they added bar seating there. The experience is sort of like being sat at a chef’s table.
Kiu Japanese Restaurant
169 Enterprise Boulevard
Kiu Japanese Restaurant
Having never been there before, we were pretty lost and a little intimidated by the menu. Thankfully, the people were really friendly. They also conveniently carried pictures of all the dishes on their tablets which helped move the decision making along.
We tried the Mankochu Box, which is essentially an appetizer sampler. The dishes inside change on occasion, but most of it is pretty much on their appetizers menu. The Anchovies and Daikon were a good mix of cleansing freshness and saltiness. The NSSSO didn’t like it and found it too much, I disagreed. The texture of both was fine, (prepared to be slightly grossed out) it had a good chewing sensation. As in, it wasn’t just chew and good bye, but more like chew and there’s more to experience.
Next in the box was the Monkfish, which I am calling “Flavour Burst Galore”. I was really worried about it being really fishy but it wasn’t as bad as I expected. Granted, if you can’t handle that scent/taste, I wouldn’t fully recommend it. It was really soft and tender, broke immediately once you bit into it and it was just a matter of swallowing it and calling it a day.
The Beef Tataki was so tender that I mistook it for fish. I always expect a bit of chewing but the way it fell apart gave it a texture of fish. It had teppanyaki style garlic pieces and the entire dish was cold. It was like having cold teppanyaki… mmm. My favourite part of it was definitely the garlic pieces. The entire dish, overall, was really good. Again, bursting with flavour.
The problem here is, I don’t like Tuna, so this is me trying but please bear with me. I found the Smoked Tuna tender, which is always a good thing I guess (I don’t like the texture of tuna…). The first thought I had when I had it was that it was bland, the second thought was oh hello flavour. I’m not sure what was on it, but it was kind of spicy and gave it a whole new dimension. This dish did not change my thoughts on tuna but it did improve a slightly.
Next was the Ikura with Yuzu. This would mean fish eggs and citrus. I liked that the yuzu lent some bitterness to the sweet ikura. The two textures worked nicely with each other and the flavouring was not as overpowering as I would worry the ikura being.
Tofu is pretty much tofu… it feels like something I could attempt to make at home if I were not so crazy lazy.
The Black Cod may be the crowning glory of this box. It was soft but not to the point of falling apart. The creamy sauce is a bit sweet, which brought out more of the cod’s flavour instead… so not prepared for that. I most definitely wished that I had more.
Finally, we ordered some other food!
Grilled Oysters were kind of sweet, which is rare for me and cooked oysters. I find that after you cook the oyster, the sweetness that you get from eating it raw is generally missing. Which is why I like my oysters raw rather than cooked. But I digress. The cream sauce was on the verge of being too rich but it found a good balancing point I think. If you were wondering, there wasn’t much else with it. Eating only one is enough, if I ate two, I’m fairly sure that would’ve been the end of dinner.
We also ordered the lamb… which I was not wowed in any way shape or form. It was pretty standard, fully cooked, Asian style lamb. It gets points for not being tough but I finished it in like three seconds and it was pretty –shrug-. I would not recommend ordering it here.
Takoyaki should always be served hot in my book and it was! Each ball had at least two pieces of octopus in the middle and they were extremely generous. This is not your averagely sized takoyaki, it would look at the other takoyaki and feel superior in size. The bonito flakes were the size of my middle finger which made me think “wow… this is a meal”. The mayo was killer though (again, I do not like mayo… I think it is the most disgusting condiment ever), I couldn’t decide if I needed more, less, just squirt it in my mouth good. The sauce was really really good, which may have, again, earned some points for mayo.
Abuero (pressed sushi, which (to my understanding) the chef assembles in a box and has a lid that pushes down on it to make sure everything sticks together. The NSSSO and I have been spoiled by Norway when it comes to sushi, never had better or fresher than Norway (not even when I visit Hong Kong). There was a good selection though and made quite good. They offered a jalapeno salmon that scared the two of us (because we’re both wimps and can’t eat spicy food), but we got over that hurdle pretty quickly. It was good overall, but we’re still (sort of) fresh off our Norway trip and the comparison is just not fair.
The dessert was a Coffee Panna Cotta. The surprise is in the green foam. I’ll give you some time to take a look and guess what was in it…… is this enough time? Oh you need more? Okay…………………… enough time now?
If you guys thought melon then I am sorry to inform you that it is not… in fact it’s not even a fruit. What you are looking at ladies and gentlemen, is an edamame cream. Yes, cream made out of beans. But, it tastes like melon so… tis exercise was pretty moot. There was also strawberry sauce and, oh right, the coffee panna cotta. It was creamy and wonderfully done. For two people to share, it was an oddly good amount. I can’t really go in depth as to how I think it was done and etc. only because the edamame cream was so distracting…
And here you have it folks… I’ll be updating more as I have a giant backlog and summerlicious is coming up!
-> Price $15 – $25 per person