A little while ago, Q and I went to check out Suika. It was Q’s mom’s birthday and I went along with her family for their celebration dinner – it was pretty interesting this time as they usually go out for the classic Chinese dinner (Q: mom took a stand and said no Chinese food! YAY MOM!).
Suika is an Izakaya that’s been around for a little while. Interestingly enough, they’re one of the rare ones that decided to situate themselves outside of the Downtown core – instead, Suika is located on Broadway and Fir (Q: It is nice not having to go to downtown all the time for izakaya food!). Part of the Kingyo group of restaurants, Suika has a sister store in Toronto.
The atmosphere of Suika is similar to Guu. That’s a good thing, as I would consider Guu to be the Izakaya success story of Vancouver.
Unlike the Guu’s of the world, however, Suika is way more spacious. This is a boon for those who don’t like waiting for seats. It was particularly great for us as we didn’t feel cramped at all.
Suika’s menu is laid out like a typical Izakaya, but they have a number of unique dishes.
We had a party of 7, and we’re not the best at deciding dishes so we just let the Birthday girl pick random things off the menu (Q: since I was picking up the tab…mom (and my sister) just went ordering anything and everything)! The first thing we ordered was the Deluxe Suika Box.
The Deluxe Suika Box has nine kinds of little appetizer dishes. It ranged from mini sashimi salad to picked vegetables – I quite liked the variety and I think this works really well as a sharing dish to go along with drinks. Wasn’t as great sharing it with 7 people as it was hard to try everything! (Q: same as previous times we were there, I absolutely dislike the shrimp pate and the mackerel fish…they taste so OFF!)
Next up was the Agedashi Ebiten Tofu.
This agedashi tofu included a deep fried prawn and was soaked in a soy broth with shrimp infused oil. It was a good agedashi tofu, but It didn’t really wow me. Not really worth the hefty $6.40 price tag imo (Q: yea not worth ordering…didn’t taste that good. The crispiness of the tofu is ruined by being submerged into the sauce).
The Ma-Po Rice Cake is a less typical dish.
The Ma Po Rice Cake is deep fried rice cake with spicy ground pork sauce dusted with Japanese pepper. This one was a hit with everyone; great mix of crunchiness, smooth tofu, and spicy kick. We cleaned up this one really quickly! (Q: I LOVE THIS DISH! It reminds of moochi consistency and it is awesome.The sauce is very tasty. It has the right spices in making the Chinese Ma Po sauce without overdoing it with the heat. It is a well-made dish too bad this item is now taken off the menu!)
Corn Kakiage was a dish Q requested because it sounded like it was something deliciously deep fried (Q: C knows me so well…that’s exactly why I ordered it)!
As the name suggests, it is organic corn niblets fried with cilantro batter, soy sauce, and butter. Incredibly decadent, and one that I would suggest getting with beer. I still prefer a good old chicken karaage or ebi mayo over something like this, but this satisfied Q’s deep fried cravings well enough. (Q: and it is something grandma would like…I didn’t order it all for myself!)
Being a big group, we had to order some carbs to make sure everyone would be stuffed well enough. We ordered the Beef Filet Rice to fulfill that need.
It wasn’t anything special, as it was just cubed beef and garlic fried rice. It was one of those dishes that didn’t really wow me in any way. (Q: this dish was ordered out of necessity for Gma and dad to have some food more Chinese related. The fried rice was quite aromatic! It was well-enjoyed overall!)
I don’t usually order sashimi at an Izakaya, but I needed a sushi/seafood fix (Q: AT MY EXPENSE! =\ ). We decided to get Sashimi Three Kinds just to check out what their seafood is like.
The sashimi provided was pretty standard – Salmon, Tuna, and Ebi. All were really fresh and tasty, but also kind of pricey. That said, the quality is there!
We also got the Torotoro Cha-Shu.
Suika’s menu indicated that it melts in your mouth! It is pork that is roasted then slowly braised until tender and then served with their “secret” spice blend. I liked it, but it didn’t taste anything like a ‘Cha-Shu’ as we know it (Q: again this is ordered due to the dish’s resemblance to Chinese food to please dad and gma. They liked it well enough. I never liked Cha Shu in general…The pork was juicy and tasty but not up my alley and I wouldn’t pay this much for Cha Shu).
On Suika’s special menu, they had a promo going on for oysters. This caught Q’s mom’s and my eyes as we’re both fanatic for oysters. She couldn’t resist and ordered 1 dozen.
The majority of the oysters were Kusshi and Kumamotos. They were good, but I guess they weren’t as fresh as we expected. The oysters didn’t really compare to the time we went nuts at Rodney’s Oysters. (Q: the oysters were fresh but just smaller in size and not as sweet.)
Q’s mom is a big fan of fish, but Q and her sister don’t really like seafood. With me there, however, she is able to order all the seafood she wants! Grilled Sable Fish was on her radar and so we ordered that too.
The sable fish is marinated in miso, and had a fantastic char to it. This was, interestingly enough, my favourite dish of the night. I found the sablefish to be cooked perfectly and that it was really fresh. (Q: I thought otherwise, it was more on the dry side. It wasn’t moist as I anticipate it would be. I was disappointed with the dish!)
Chicken Karaage was my request, as it’s a favourite of mine.
The Suika Chicken Karaage was alright, I would pass on this next time. Guu’s chicken karaage was a lot better (Q: totally agree).
As we were eating, I noticed one of the parties sitting close to us ordered an amazing dish. It was a giant piece of steak. As the waiter walked by, I had to know what it was. The magical steak was their Dynamic Steak. I decided that, in lieu of a birthday cake, we would order this as the main celebratory dish for Q’s mom (Q: he igonored my plead not to do it! We were all quite full at this point and the bill is quickly adding up).
As described on Suika’s menu, the Dynamic Steak is
“W” LBS BEEF RIB STEAK WITH WASABI, SOY & GARLIC SAUCE
This thing was the size of my head!
It was a glorious steak, and one that I ended up eating the most of as everyone was actually super full. That, and it was kind of rare and bleeding out as it was a very thick cut of steak (Q: I think C was the only one who enjoyed the dish. The general comments about this dish was “mom made way better steak”. The meat was tough and mom had to use some sawing action to cut the meat to share between all of us. It is a miss for us. Btw, this dish the waiter did tell us it will take 20 min to prepare!). Make sure to only order this if your family or friends are used to eating meat that is cooked to medium-rare to rare levels!
All in all, I found Suika to be a nice place to have dinner at. I’d like to have ordered beers and drinks, but the location does make it harder for that (Q: accessible mostly by car but I guess you can take the bus too). Service is as good as any other Izakaya, which is to say they’re loud, proud, and usually go above and beyond.