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I passed by ShuRaku quite a few times during my last few trips to Vancouver and it didn’t stand out to me from the outside. When I travel for work I always have to stay downtown and so my options for restaurants are somewhat limited. ShuRaku came up on a Friday night when I was looking for a really great sushi dinner and a few Japanese beers.
As soon as I walked in I was immediately impressed with the interior and ambiance. I have to go out of my way to say that the service at ShuRaku was probably the best and most friendly I’ve had in years. Even more charming was that it appeared that the entire staff spoke Japanese quite well – even those who looked born and bred Canadian. Orders were authentically shouted to the kitchen and I had a chat with one of the sushi chefs who made excellent suggestions.
I started with the Chef’s Choice Sashimi along with a Mackerel Roll and the Volcano Roll. I was really hungry so I followed that with a Salmon Tartar with Crispy Seaweed Tempura and the coveted Toro Sashimi, a specialty cut of Tuna Belly (the fattiest part). Vancouver magazine described the sashimi at ShuRaku as “achingly fresh” and I can say this is no hyperbole, it really is. Great choice for lunch or dinner.
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Pourhouse Irish Pub is a restaurant and bar in the heart of Vancouver’s Gastown neighbourhood. I stopped in recently for a business lunch and we all ordered the Po’ Boy Lunch special which is a sandwich, side and beer for 12$. The above was a beef brisket sandwich with salad side. The beef tasted tender and smoky and tasted great along with the crunchy pickle and salad. Pourhouse has a number of taps with rotating regional beers to pick from.
Alibi Room is a Gastown staple known for it’s unbelievably large selection of craft beers on tap. Having around 26 taps going at a time, the pub rotates new beers in all the time and posts beer related updates via Twitter. Although the beers are the main draw here, the food menu is formidable and diverse – featuring everything from Smoked Sablefish to Lamb Sirloin to Red Coconut Vegetable Curry.
To accompany our beers, we ordered Smoked Albacore Tuna salad with crutons, carrot, daikon, pumpkin seeds & creamy miso dressing along with BC Bison cheese steak with spiced bison flank, peppers, onions & cheddar. Pumpkin seed ‘slaw and fries and BBQ Pork Belly sandwich with beer braised onions, jalapeno ‘slaw & fries.
The smoked albacore dish was a large portion and had a great summer taste with the miso dressing, pumpkin seeds and daikon. The Bison Burger (one of the more popular dishes) and the Pork Belly sandwich paired perfectly with our beers and tasted great. The Pumpkin seed slaw and Jalapeno slaw were welcome additions as well.
After boarding our flight, we finally got our meals … Just kidding. We wanted to let readers know that both Alex and I will be doing some traveling this summer so you can expect to see international food reviews on the blog very soon. I will be going to Taiwan and Singapore and eating my heart out – as the food is incredibly cheap in Asia – whether it be street food or night markets, while Alex will be traveling to Vancouver and San Francisco eating in a slightly more civilized manner (as opposed to gobbling up everything in sight, like I will). Stay tuned!