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Table: Kingyo

Anata and I were in the mood for some Japanese food, so I picked out Kingyo as our dinner venue for the night. We managed to score free street parking, and when I called in to make a reservation the lady on the phone said that they were full for the tables, but would still be taking walk ins during the night and we could try our luck. When we arrived we were lucky that we didn't have to wait long for a table as some other patrons had just finished. We were seated at the bamboo section pictured below.

It's a little noisy but not too bad, and it's still comfortable for talking to your neighbour. Anata and I started off with their special ginger ale and the mango calpico drink.

The mango was pretty straightforward, tasting mostly like a mango soda. The ginger ale was "funky" according to Anata, and I found it similar to those organic microbrewed style ginger ales. $4 and $3 respectively for the serving sizes, which makes them a little pricey but still delicious.

We ordered the yellowtail sashimi and avocado salad, and it came with mayo, shredded turnip, garlic chips, roe, goji berries, alfalfa sprouts, lettuce, and a ponzu-based marinade. The flavours were really bold and bright, with the citrus bits really lifting up the creaminess of the avocado and mayo. I really liked the garlic chips and the flavour that it added to the dish. The goji berries were really tiny sweet bits that complemented the fish. Well balanced flavours with the crunchy and smooth textures blending together.

Also on the table was the "undefetable" Tan Tan noodle. Anata is the tantanmen connoisseur of the two of us, and he said that he's more used to the richly nutty, thicker, and sweeter type. The TanTan here was very soupy by comparison, and not sweet, but I really enjoyed the flavours. The generous amount of black sesame added a more subtle nuttiness to the soup, and it was the milky kind of richness while maintaining the thin consistency type that I think shows a lot of skill. It was topped with seaweed and green onions and had some minced pork as well, which Anata liked. The noodles were springy and chewy, and they had the flavour of the soup infused with the noodle and weren't super plain. I really enjoyed it, but Anata said his preference is for the sweeter and thicker TanTan men, so unfortunately not "undefetable" for him, but he still said it was delicious.

We also had an order of the chicken karaage, which came in a lovely box. The chicken was crisp and juicy with good flavour. It did have a bit of oil but it wasn't overly so.

The karaage came with a trio of salt for dipping. Pictured left to right is Utah, Himalayan, and Japanese salt. I found the Utah salt to be the earthiest of the bunch, and the Himalayan was kind of lighter. The Japanese salt was pretty straightforward salty so more midtone and inbetween the other two. It made for an interesting presentation and style for karaage, which we liked. The salt went well with the chicken and brought out more layers of flavour, and though the chicken was marinated and the breading did have some seasoning, the salt didn't make it too salty and still complemented the chicken without overwhelming it.

We also ordered their calamari with seaweed seasoning. It was served hot and crispy, the calamari cooked just right. The sauce on the side was almost like a tzatziki taste but I could also taste the Japanese mayo in there as well. It was a lighter sauce which we appreciated as a heavier mayo would have made the dish very heavy. There was also a kind of relish with tomatoes and onions with the calamari and it was delicious, adding more citrus and lifting up the heaviness from the deep frying.

I ordered their crab and corn chawanmushi, and it took awhile to arrive, but I was rather impressed with it. The egg was really soft and the texture was super smooth. The taste was very corn and crab, and anata likened it to the corn and crab cream soup. I really enjoyed the minced mitsuba leaf that they put on top, as it added such brightness and flavour to the dish. I only wish there was more.

We also ordered their black cod sushi which was part of their featured menu. The presentation was wonderful and when I first bit into the sushi my thought was "where's the rice?" They had the cod on both the top and bottom with a little rice in the middle, which I thought was really great that they give you so much fish. The cod was super flaky but sweet and juicy. The sauce they had was kind of creamy and went well with the delicate fish. However, both Anata and I found bones in our sushi. After picking them out we notified a waitress of the bones because we didn't want anyone else to have any unfortunate issues. She was pretty horrified that we had bones and asked us if we were okay and if we had any pain. Luckily I'm pretty careful with eating fish and I felt the bone so quickly told Anata and we picked out the bone pieces so we were okay. She offered to compensate us for the sushi and offered us free dessert as well. Initially we declined and said we'd just take the sushi off but she insisted on free dessert as well.

So we ordered their salted caramel tiramisu, which we were thinking of ordering anyways. The sponge was really springy and moist, which I enjoyed a lot. The salted caramel flavour was really prevalent throughout the cake, and the cream was super tasty. It wasn't too sweet, and I think balanced perfectly. It was kind of more just cake rather than a tiramisu, and heavier than a typical tiramisu, but it was really yummy and Anata and I both thought it was delicious.

When you get the bill you also get a flower with a frozen grape on a stick. The grape was pretty stuck to the stick and I found it difficult to get off, but other than that it was a nice end to our meal.

The service here was really good, and the food not too far behind. The wait staff would continually stop and ask how the dishes were throughout the meal, and I would see them stopping by to kind of chat and explain how some dishes were supposed to be enjoyed and talking to other diners. There was a birthday table and at one point three of them ran out with tambourines and wigs and were dancing around singing happy birthday. It was really fun to watch and though they are really busy, it still feels like they try to take the time to take care of you. The food was really yummy, but the portions are kind of tapas style and sized and the meal can run into the pricey side. Kingyo really has excellent service and food and I'm looking forward to going back!

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