Shiru-Bay Chopstick Cafe: Inventive Japanese Izakaya in Vancouver [CLOSED]

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Restaurant Vancouver

Young chef Kodai Uno is part of a Yaletown culinary renaissance.

In a city saturated with Japanese restaurants, Shiru-Bay Chopstick Cafe stands out due to industrial design and inventive cuisine from 23-year-old wunderkind Kodai Uno, who grew up in his family’s kitchens. The Uno family opened the first Shiru-Bay restaurant almost 30 years ago in the Tokyo neighborhood of Kyodo. There are now over twenty Uno-owned izakayas (Japanese pubs) throughout the city. They opened the first Shiru-Bay outside of Japan in Vancouver’s trendy Yaletown neighborhood in June 2004. According to the Assistant Manager, Shiru = soup in Japanese; Bay is slang for boy. Shiru-Bay Chopstick Cafe was the site of my second dinner within three hours; it had been 11 years since I’d visited Vancouver, so I wasn’t about to hold back.

Japanese Food Vancouver

Hiaburi Shime Saba (C$8.80) seared cured mackerel right in front of me. It’s a popular dish, so they keep plenty of kitchen torches behind the bar.

Japanese Food Vancouver

After the waitress torched the mackerel, she carried it to the open kitchen, where a chef prepared the fish two ways: in a simple vinaigrette with sesame-sprinkled julienned vegetables, and simply plated with a dab of spicy mustard. The naturally-oily fish was so good, it didn’t need much doctoring.

Soup Vancouver

With my meal, I received a complimentary cup of creamy sweet potato soup, served cold. It was a nice autumnal touch.

Japanese Food Vancouver

Slow roasted halibut (C$12.80) came slathered with a yuzu chipotle barley miso, simultaneously spicy, earthy and sweet. The tender fish fillet was laid over an oily but flavorful Japanese-style ratatouille.

Japanese Food Vancouver

Asparagus Gyoza (C$8.80) was listed on the menu as a “favorite menu item for the ladies!” I was comfortable enough with my sexuality to order it. Pan fried Kurobuta pork dumplings were each speared with crisp asparagus and served with a spicy Japanese pepper paste.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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