We came to Kizami in Richmond for dinner after badminton the other night. When I looked at their menu, I thought the place must be run by a Chinese owner or chef.
Richmond is known for having some of the best Chinese restaurants in North America. There are also a lot of great Japanese restaurants as well. It’s always arguable to tell which ones are authentic. Some say it really depends on who runs the kitchen. If the kitchen team is run by a trained Japanese chef from Japan, the dishes must have much better Japanese flavours. But there are a lot of Japanese joints run by non-Japanese that serve decent food as well. I tend to easily spot the “authenticity” from the menu. If there are a lot of sushi rolls on their menu, it’s likely the chef/owner is Korean, as the Koreans have the upper hand on making Kimbap, their version of rice roll wrapped in seaweed. And when you see a menu that has the whole spectrum of Japanese food on their menu, the place is likely to be run by Chinese.
And I was right, the team here came from Manzo, a Chinese owned Japanese restaurant. Although the menu looks like a lot like an izakaya, there are a lot of choices for sushi as well. And their prices of sushi and sashimi are not cheap. For the same price, I would probably prefer a place run by a more sushi-focus team.
Four of us split into 2 groups to share the dishes. Jac and Shirly were sharing the Dungeness Roll ( $13), Diced Steak Tepanyaki ($10.50), and Asari no Sakemushi (or Steamed Clams with Sake, $12). Those were smart choices for tasting the variety of the food they offered, and they seemed to enjoy them very much. They really put the extra effort into the presentation as well. Each dish was plated fabulously.
LoLo and I shared a couple of dishes: the Ankimo (or the monkfish liver, $8) and the Thick Gyutan (or the Panfried Beef Tongue, $10). And we both ordered an Ochazuke on our own – hers with Unagi ($8), and mine with Salmon ($8). For the Ankimo, the foie gras of the ocean, I definitely had had better ones that are much smoother. The beef tongue, however, is very tasty. The thick cut of the tongue was cooked to perfection and has a quality of fine steak to it. This was the first time of me having ochazuke, and it was very interesting. The delicate and subtle flavor profile of combing tea, rice and fish has an elegant quality to it, which reminded me of the Dashimeshi I had in Kyoto.
The presentation and the flavors are great on the izakaya style dishes here. Although we didn’t have any alcohol, I could see this place would make a great drinking spot. Their sushi menu looks somewhat intimidating with the price range. I’m extremely curious to try their sushi as they charge just as much as the high-end sushi spots in the city, but I haven’t heard enough good words for me to spend that much money. But maybe one day.
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Kizami Japanese Cuisine
120 8031 Leslie Road, Richmond BC, V6X 1E4