Located beside the historic landmark, Canada Place, Miku finds its new home along the waterfront, joining the beautiful Vancouver skyline. The view here always catches my eye and brings to mind the beauty and charm of this city, created by the harmony between nature and people. While I have frequented Miku in the past, this is my first time visiting since the move to the new location. I take a step towards the entrance, filled with a childlike excitement and great expectations. Immediately the bustle of the open kitchen catches my attention.
The chefs are highly skilled and work seamlessly as a team; their passion and pride in their work is made evident by the uncompromised cuisine executed from the kitchen. Watching them work as I enter the restaurant makes me all the more aware of my growing appetite.
Situated stately near the front, the unique bar and lounge area is filled with guests. Floor to ceiling windows showcase the scenic harbor background while a variety of drinks dot the bar as the lively buzz of friendly conversation falls upon my ears. Only at a truly great dining establishment will you be able to find a scene as picturesque at this one. And the lounge is just the opening act; the headliner is just about to start. My anticipation grows as I am led to the patio seat.
The North Shore mountains are capped with springtime snowfall. The mountain range looks as breathtaking as ever, like a masterpiece painting. The hum of the seaplanes fading into the horizon and the scenic harbor against the mountain backdrop make for a very relaxing atmosphere. This calls for a nice cold beer.
My server brings over a beer and I peruse the menu. Miku undoubtedly knows that their Aburi sushi here is unparalleled. It is a unique flavour that you can only taste here. He asked if it was alright for him to explain the menu. While I am quite familiar with what they offer at Miku, I decided to listen as I enjoyed my beer.
Blessing of The Sea
A dry and crisp white wine was our choice of starting a meal. My friend and I then ordered a seafood platter, moderate portion for two, to enjoy wine pairing.
Accompanied with several specialty condiments, the seafood platter arrived at our table, fresh and colorful. As I was a little hungry, I picked one of the meaty pieces of prawn and dipped in the original cocktail sauce, then placed it into my mouth. The savory of prawn flourished fully in my mouth with delicate aromas, a hint of ginger and a sprinkle of shiso leaves, a popular Japanese herb.
I rushed and washed it down with the wine to enjoy the lingering flavor.
An experience not to be missed and a memory not soon forgotten
Then, I reached for the oyster, a favorite of mine. With the ocean so deep and blue, the oysters looked more fascinating than ever.
The sauce is miku’s original chimichurri. Using Japanese wasabi and yuzu to substitute lemon, it was arrangedin the Asian style with the soft tanginess of acid and assertive depth and refreshing finish.
I spooned just the right amount of chimichurri and poured it onto the oyster, and tipped it straight into my mouth, along with the liquid. The experience started with a pleasant texture and crunchiness of echalote, followed by a distinctiverichbuttery briny, and complex flavors. It ended with a refreshing touch almost reminiscent of the tropics Under the perfect pairing with the sauce and the essential quality of the original characteristic in the oyster, it was a great contrast to any oysters I have had before.
Like an Oscar-winning supporting actor, the sauces emphasize the true nature of the item in relation to palatability without ruining any of the natural flavors in the shellfish, oysters, mussels and clams.
Completely satisfied with the marriage between the wine and the shellfish, I looked up to heaven involuntarily, feeling the fresh breeze touch my cheeks. Miku is no run of the mill, average Japanese restaurant. There is something new, something simple and traditional there and I can’t think of the right words to describe it.
I know there are many more culinary adventures for me to experience through Miku’s new menu. I will go ahead and pass on the Aburi Sushi as planned and explore new creations.
Discover The Entrée
Surrounded by the invigorating breeze and dynamic landscape, I enjoyed the fresh seafood with a sense of euphoria enriched by this moment in time. I have never, since arriving here, felt enough of the richness of nature surrounding this city. It fascinates me every summer making me wonder whether it be a dream or truth. While pleased with the blissful moment, I started to feel my appetite returning. Shall I start a main dish now?
My server came back just in time as if receiving a voice of my heart, and asked if he could interest me in an Entrée? My choice was an order of the “5 hour slow roasted prime rib”. Having known that this was never an option at the previous location, I had decided to order this new must try item, expecting something extraordinary
As soon as he confirmed my order, he opened the wine list.
“I would suggest the Meritage.”
His well-polished professional service and timing was too convincing to resist.
It has a bold and tannic full-body, I asked him to decant it to aerate, and rest for a half an hour before serving, When I took my first sip of the red wine, it danced in my mouth with a rich and unique aroma. I instantly felt my brain craving the bold and deep taste of the beef steak
“Roasted prime rib” is one of Canadian’s soul foods served at most upscale high end restaurants and closely tied in with our everyday lives. Finding joy in the dynamic flavor of the ever popular lean meat is almost similar in nature to relaying the tradition to the next generation despite the incessant evolution of time.
Although the choice of cut and the preparation are the most critical factors of preparation, I cannot help but envision some new additions into the tradition whenever I order a steak at a restaurant. Imagination leads far beyond the expectation. But the deeper the thought goes, the simpler it becomes and I always slip into the image of the ordinary style of steak.
The steak arrived at the table, colorfully balanced and laid on a stark white plate. Garnished with the colors of various vegetables and a plate of hot mashed potato, what was in front of me was quite different from what I had imagined. It does appear perfectly cooked to medium rare, surface delicately grilled yet still bright pink inside. I took some time to relax myself with a sip of wine and whet my appetite, with the undeniable urge to reach the steak knife to see how the flavor of steak would surprise me. I slowly run my knife into a steak and bring the cut to my mouth, desiring to simply enjoy the meat with anticipated excitement. The first bite without applying any sauce.
Tender in texture yet firm, it coats the tongue with amazing flavors the more I chew. The meat, cooked Sous vide for 5 hours, has a mature finishing touch beyond my expectations giving roast beef a new depth of flavors and richness that I had never experienced before. Basking in the resonance of the first bite, I took a sip of wine, accompanying the savory flavors down before it fades away.
It was sensational.
I chose to accompany the wasabi sauce for a second slice. It is a well-balanced combination of stem wasabi, fonddeveau and Tamari soy sauce. Japanese wasabi has much deeper and more savory flavor. It is a better pairing with rib-eye than its western counterpart horseradish, so they say. Cleansing the palate with water, I deliver the second piece to my mouth.
While the crunchy stem wasabi exuding juicy savory flavors the more I chew, it harmonizes with meat in my mouth. I always thought that enjoying beef with the flavor of sauce without ruining its natural flavors could not be possible. As if destroying my preconceptions, its flavor fulfills a desire of experiencing the savory characteristic of red meat and undiscovered flavor. This is something unexpected. I could not be more surprised by the encounter with such an amazing steak at Miku.
Carefully prepared and perfectly textured vegetables, either boiled or baked, are outstandingly fresh in flavor emphasizing each identity of intense savory aroma. So fresh that it is almost foolish to think it wasn’t just freshly harvested seconds before brought out of kitchen. Throughout the meal, it was delivering a chef’s direct message “the best-prepared steak should only be served with the best-prepared vegetables”. The mashed potato, served with fine flakey seaweed in golden brown melted butter, is uncompromising in detail, proving its flavor to be another complete meal, not a simple component.
I finished up the roast beef while I thoroughly enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine. There is still a taste of savory meat and vegetables floating subtly in my mouth.
Experiencing an excellent steak at miku, where the sushi would normally be a main feature, was quite unforeseen, yet a new method of enjoying the meat has been created and witnessed, akin to how miku introduced a sensational Aburi Sushi to this city few years back.
Fresh and pleasant sea breeze touches my cheek. I sat back and relaxed myself escaping in the comfort of the moment. My friend seemed happy and satisfied with his Aburi sushi for Entrée as I was reminded to try Aburi Sushi upon my next visit. Holding the excitement for the next dining opportunity, I took another sip of mineral water, thinking back over the courses, watching the sun falling to the East and feeling content as the cooling breeze sets over me.
Don’t Miss The Credit Roll
Although with my belly quite distended, desserts are not to be missed. My friend had once said to me
“Why else would you enjoy the meal if you don’t enjoy the dessert? You can’t miss out on the dessert!”
at dinner in France, disapproving my hesitation for ordering dessert from satiety. Since then, I would always round out the night with dessert at the special dining occasions. However, making a wrong choice could easily risk ruining a whole experience for the night. Dessert should match the flow of the meal to remind you of the great dining experience, while also be enjoyable.
I was recommended a Brunoise.
It is a mixture of tropical pineapple and creamy-textured exotic mango, containing distinctive sweetness of fruits and diced into modest cubes, topped with a scoop of pineapple sorbet and crispy Cinnamon Tuile placed upright.
I reached for the spoon and dove into the jumble of fruits through sorbet, making sure to scoop every component and brought it to my mouth tracing mango sauce and kiwi sauce on its way. A cooling touch of sorbet and freshness of juicy mango meat was deliciously harmonious, it created a naturally elegant sweetness, then sliding across the palate as I swallow. Subtle, simple yet profound and complex in flavor, it was not only comforting but complimented the complete effect of meal.
I quickly went for a second scoop, and then took a bite of the Cinnamon Tuile. Sweet and woody aromatic scent of cinnamon and the texture of crispiness accentuate the flavor and keep the afterglow of meal.
It has made a perfect end to this dining experience.
The sky turning gold with sunset, yet still mostly blue,
seeming as if representing a closure of this amazing time.
I left the restaurant thinking that the life would have been flavorless if no restaurants had existed in this world.
I hear the seaplane take off, leaving the sound of the beating engine behind my back.