I’ve been making more use of the Millennium Library in the last little while, so I find myself traveling up and down the streets in that area a little bit more than usual. Recently, I saw signs for Izakaya Edokko, a new Japanese restaurant.
Located on the main floor of Place Louis Riel. Place Louis Riel was formerly a hotel, but now is a combo hotel-apartment building, and has closed it’s in-house restaurant. That space is what Izakaya Edokko has taken over. The space has been nicely redecorated. There main space contains a sushi bar, a few four seat tables, and along one wall a series of tables that can easily be turned into one long table for a large party. In the back there is another room with a bar and several more tables. I haven’t ventured into that section on any of my visits.
The restaurant is a new project for Chef Masa Sugita, the man behind Masa on Pembina, and Yujiro on Grant. While I’ve heard of both restaurants, I’ve somehow never gotten around to visiting either. So, I’m coming in with no experience of Chef Sugita’s work.
Checking up on the term Izakaya, it seems to me that it is something close to a Japanese Tapas Bar. The emphasis being as much on the opportunity to sample various drinks is as important as the food. Owing to the fact that my visits have been at lunch, I’ve only tried the Sake, which I found to be all right, but not much else.
Black Garlic Ramen for Lunch
On my first first visit, the sign outside the restaurant was advertising the Black Garlic Ramen as the lunch special. I decided to go with that. When I placed my order, my server asked if I would like the California roll, which they were offering for additional $4.50. I added that as well.
The dish was listed as coming with a salad and I was pleasantly surprised when it arrived. There was a good mixture of crisp vegetables and the salad dressing is quite tasty.
The Ramen itself was quite good. The noodles had a good chew to them, the broth was quite rich in it’s flavour. The egg was thoroughly hard-boiled(I’m not sure that’s the most enjoyable way to eat it), and the pork was quite tender. Unfortunately, my picture of the Ramen didn’t turn out. One touch I did like was the crushed peppers in a shaker, which I added throughout as I ate the Ramen.
I’m not a big California Roll fan, but this one was quite good. The ingredients, especially the Avocado came across as really fresh.
The second time I stopped off at Izakaya Edokko it was towards the end of the lunch period. I was hoping to try their Edokko Special Makunouchi Bento, of which they only make ten sets per day. Unfortunately, I arrived just after they sold their last one for the day, so I was forced to look longingly on at the other tables to get some idea of what it’s like.
Instead of the Bento I ordered the Yakiudon. This combination of noodles, cabbage and pork had good flavours, but the portion size left a little bit to be desired.
To supplement this, I asked for the menu again. I added a Spicy Ebi roll, and a couple of pieces of Maki. The Tako (boiled octopus), and the Tobiko (flying fish roe). The spicy Ebi roll was really good, I really appreciated the fact that spicy mayo didn’t overwhelm all the other flavours. The octopus in the Tako had a good chew to it without being rubbery.
Edokko Special Makunouchi Bento
As the Makunouchi Bento seemed to be a bit of a house specialty, I decided to make another visit to give it a try. Although it’s more expensive than what you might expect from a bento, this collection of dishes is definitely worth it. It might be the best value on the menu. As the picture below illustrates there are a diverse number of items to the platter.
There is a really interesting combination of items in this bento. Starting top left, Battered Tofu, Potato Salad, Sardines(or perhaps Mackerel), Savoury Egg Custard, fruit, miso soup, Shitake Roll, another roll whose name I didn’t get, and three piece of Nigri. One reason to not focus too much on each of the individual rolls, etc., is that I was given the impression by my server, that the contents of the Bento may be different on any given day.
The highlight, perhaps surprisingly was the potato salad. It was nice and light and not overly dressed. My least favourite item was the egg custard. The flavour was good, but the texture was of somewhat undercooked egg, and that’s something I don’t particularly enjoy. As with the other dishes I’ve tried the seafood tasted quite fresh. The fried tofu is quite good, although a challenge to my chopstick wielding skills. That’s me though, not the dish.
The service here has been very good each time I have gone. The staff are friendly and they are efficient, but don’t rush. This allows you to enjoy your meal at a leisurely pace. The prices seem a little on the high side in relationship to portion size and quality, but only slightly so, and the Bento special is definitely worth the price. I’m sure I’ll stop in here again.