Tsuki Izakaya (月 居酒屋)
Cross-posted from Calgary is Awesome.
I had a hankering for sushi and B. had a hankering for Tutti Frutti, so after seeing an ad in the Chinese newspaper, we decided to head to the two-month-old Tsuki Izakaya in the basement of the Devenish building.
Tsuki (which means “moon” in Japanese) is owned by the same people who run Fuji Yama next door. Instead of just another sushi restaurant, it’s an izakaya, which (as I’ve explained before) means it specializes in small plates meant for sharing. Unlike some of the other izakayas around town like Globefish and Shibuya, Tsuki has more of a “bar” feel.
B. and I descended early on the last Saturday of Stampede and it was… dead.
After scanning the menu, which was filled with unique dishes like Hamachi Jalapeño (thinly sliced yellowtail topped with slices of garlic, jalapeño and ponzu sauce) and Gyu Tongue (beef tongue), we decided to stay and give it a try. Besides, it was Happy Hour (4-8 PM daily), which meant we got free appies if we ordered drinks.
I warned B. that they only low-quality sake is served hot. He said he knew, but that’s what he felt like. Tsuki has a wide variety of sakes and plum wines to choose from, as well as domestic and import (Japanese) beers.
The free appetizers we got to choose from were mainly skewers (yakitori). The selection was slim compared to yakitori restaurants I’ve tried in Hong Kong, let alone Japan. We decided to go with asparagus wrapped in pork belly and green onion wrapped in beef.
Both the skewers were quite delicious. The asparagus was grilled perfectly – not too soft with just a bit of crispness left, and the pork belly was charred and flavourful. I personally am not a huge green onion fan so the mouthful of green onion was a bit too much for me, but again, the meat was tender and tasty.
B. is not a seafood eater (he eats crab, “krab”, lobster and white fish that’s very fresh or heavily battered/flavoured) so I always feel a little uncomfortable ordering seafood around him. Still, he coaxed me to order one fish dish, so I chose the Avocado Boat.
This was a sashimi salad type dish, with cubes of salmon and red and white tuna on a bed (“boat”?) of avocado and baby lettuce, topped with crispy noodles and a sweet-and-tangy dressing.
This dish was good – I loved the different textures between the tender fish, buttery avocado, crisp lettuce and crunchy noodles. And it was perfect for B. and I to share because I gave him most of the avocado while I ate all the fish.
I would’ve loved to try some of their more unique dishes, but I wanted to leave room for sushi! All of Tsuki’s sushi comes from Fuji Yama. We ordered B.’s standard California roll as well as a Battleship Roll (see top of post), a California-like roll with crab, avocado, mango and mayo in the middle, topped with seared salmon, scallop and fish roe and drizzled with a sweet, soy-based sauce. B. was impressed with the substantial California roll. For the Battleship roll, he picked off the fish on top, which I enjoyed because I thought the smoky, seared salmon was the best part (with the sweet mango a close second).
I really hope Tsuki does well. B. and I had wandered over to Fuji Yama after dinner to look at their aquarium and there was no one in there, either (though it was Stampede, after all.) Tsuki has some really cool dishes on their menu and they serve sushi till 2 AM on weekends, perfect for that post-bar fix.
In the end, B. got his Tutti Frutti too.