Birthday Celebration at Nomé Izakaya

Nomé Izakaya located at 4848 Yonge St in North York

My friend Gen celebrated her birthday at Nomé Izakaya this past weekend.  We were a big group of close to 30 people and Nomé was able to accommodate us very well by reserving three long tables for us near the entrance of the restaurant.

I haven’t heard much about Nomé in the past, so I was very excited to try this izakaya out.  For those of you who don’t know what an izakaya is, it’s a Japanese bar where small food dishes or tapas are served.  Typically, in Japan, people will gather at these izakayas after work to socialize over drinks and food.  All of the dishes are meant to be shared, which was what we ended up doing for our section of eight people that night. 🙂

The Rising Sun (tropical mango cocktail, $8) on the left and Howard’s grapefruit drink on the right

They have an an extensive drink menu.  I ordered a drink called the Rising Sun.  It’s a mango drink infused with alcohol.  It looked impressive when it arrived on the table, but I found that the mango juice in it was very weak; I expected a rich mango flavour.  It’s a drink where the alcohol portion is strong though, so I liked that part.  Howard ordered a grapefruit cocktail where they literally gave him the manual juicer and half of a grapefruit for him to squeeze the juice into the glass.  I found that amusing.

Octo-Wasabi (Tako Wasabi) $4.50
-Pickled Octopus with chopped wasabi stem and roasted seaweed

We had a big roster of tapas awaiting us all night long.  I was very excited to try everything. 🙂  We first started off with the Octo-Wasabi which contained a small dish of pickled octopus with wasabi and roasted seaweed.  To eat it, we placed a few pieces of the octopus into the seawood and rolled it up before popping it in the mouth.  It was delicious. 🙂

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Maguro & Avocado Tartare. $9.70
-Diced tuna sashimi and avocado, garlic oil, sea salt with a balsamic reduction sauce.

The Maguro & Avocado Tartare was a small dish of diced and seasoned tuna sashimi and avocado.  It sounds uber simple, but I loved the little cubes of tuna sashimi and avocado!  They were so soft and melted together into each other.  I highly recommend this dish. 🙂

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Takoyaki $5.50
-Deep fried octopus ball served with tonkatsu sauce, mayo

Takoyaki!  How can you not order this Japanese favourite at an izakaya?  Takoyaki are fried octopus balls with sauce and bonito flakes on top of each one.  It was beautifully presented; one residing in each hollowed space on the long plate.  It was, as expected, good!

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Creamy Mentai (Crispy) Potato. $5.80
-Pan fried thinly sliced potatoes with reduced creamy cod roe

Excuse the low-quality picture of this rather high-quality dish:  Creamy Mentai (Crispy) Potato.  This was a good-sized portion of thinly sliced and pan-fried potatoes with a reduced creamy cod roe.  This was one of the best tapas of the night!  It was so delicious — everyone couldn’t get enough.  Each thinly sliced potato was crispy and layered with the creamy cod roe.  It was like eating chips, but better!

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Apple Salmon $7.50
-Salmon sashimi topped with our original apple mayo dressing

The Apple Salmon is a tiny bowl of salmon sashimi shaped into a small sphere and drenched with apple mayo dressing.  The salmon sashimi was tasty, but other than that, it was nothing too unique.

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The Tuna Tango (Maguro Tataki) $9.80
-Lightly seared tuna with ground daikon, shallot chips and Nomé’s original ponzu sauce

The Tuna Tango was another tapa that was presented gorgeously.  It was colourful and each piece was placed perfectly on the dish.  Each lightly seared bite-sized piece of tuna was soft and tender and tasted good with the ground daikon, shallot chips, and ponzo sauce.

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Buttered Scallop & Shrimp $8.80
-Baked scallop and shrimp, simmered in garlic butter

With a large group of eight people, it was getting difficult to share all the tapas that we ordered.  One example of this would be the Buttered Scallop & Shrimp where only a couple of scallops and shrimps were baked onto a large shell and simmered in garlic sauce.  I tried a shrimp and it tasted very fresh.  The garlic slivers on the top were crispy.

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Deep Fried Pork Belly $6.50
-Deep fried marinated pork belly with sea weed paste

We ordered two portions of the Deep Fried Pork Belly.  It contained five large pieces of deep fried marinated pork belly with seaweed sauce.  The overwhelming smooth and fatty part of the pork belly definitely took over the seaweed sauce that was spread on top of it.  It tasted quite good.

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Marinated Black Cod (Gindara No Yuan Yaki) $9.80
-Black Cod marinated with citrus soy sauce

Up next was the Marinated Black Cod.  This single portion of black cod was marinated with citrus soy sauce.  I loved how tender and soft the cod was.  It was exceptionally well done!

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Unagi Risotto $8.80 -Creamy risotto, topped with bbq eel

I was really looking forward to the Unagi Risotto.  I always love trying risotto when it is offered on the menu at any restaurant, and this risotto was definitely a great choice.  We mixed everything together with the spoon so that small morsels of barbecued unagi were scattered throughout the steaming hot risotto.  The risotto was so creamy and smooth that it reminded me of mashed potatoes.  I loved how creamy and flavourful it was.  I highly recommend this dish!

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Chicken Wings $8/lbs (our order was 11 lbs)
-Deep fried chicken wings served with Nomé’s original hot sauce or garlic teriyaki sauce or sweet chilli sauce

Victoria really wanted to try the Deep Fried Chicken Wings, so we did!  It arrived generously stacked on a plate with some garlic teriyaki sauce on the side (you could choose between garlic teriyaki, hot sauce, or sweet chili sauce).  They were well done, crispy on the outside, and tender on the inside.  The best chicken wings, in my opinion, are those that are still moist on the inside.  Too many chain restaurants that serve chicken wings overcook the meat and I find the insides to almost always be dry.  Everyone really liked the wings and especially the garlic teriyaki sauce too.

Japanese Chicken Poppers (Kara-age) $6.30
-Japanese style fried chicken with wasabi mayo

As I mentioned previously in my reviews for Touhenboku Ramen and Fin Izakaya, I never pass up the opportunity to order a side of karaage, so I definitely enjoyed the Japanese Chicken Poppers (Karaage) here at Nomé as well.  They arrived in big pieces with wasabi mayo on the side.  Each piece was steaming hot and the chicken meat was very tender.  The wasabi mayo could have been stronger in taste though.

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Baked Oysters (Kakimayo) $9.30
-Oven baked oyster with spinach cream sauce (4pcs)

We’re nearing the end of the tapas that we ordered, but not soon before the Baked Oysters arrived.  Spinach cream sauce topped generously over each oven-baked oyster still in its shell.  It was delicious and I loved the sauce.

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Korean Style Beef Sashimi – TarTar (Yuké) $8.70
-Thinly sliced beef sashimi and fresh egg yolk with a Korean style soy sauce dressing

Finally, my second pick, the Korean Style Beef Sashimi arrived.  Unlike in previous restaurants where the beef sashimi is thinly sliced and served individually, this portion of Korean-style raw beef arrived as a patty with a fresh egg yolk in the middle with small triangular pita chips on the side.  We used the tiny wooden spoon that was supplied to mash the egg yolk into the raw meat before spreading a portion onto a chip to eat.  It was rather good!  It didn’t taste raw at all and if someone was eating it blindfolded, they wouldn’t know the difference.  It was an interesting dish to try.

With that, we finished our order list.  However, Nomé offers an extensive oyster list on their menu and a couple of us gave both the West Coast and the East Coast oysters a try.

(top) French Kiss Oysters $2.80 each
-Clean flavoured oyster with a high meat yield and unique, delicate taste
(bottom) Kusshi Oysters $2.80 each
-In Japanese, the word kusshi means “ultimate”, intensely sweet and rich finish

I really liked the first oysters that we tried, the (West Coast) Kusshi Oysters from Vancouver Island, B.C.  I liked how they tasted juicy and it was a larger size as well (more to slurp on!).  The birthday girl, Ray, and I shared the French Kiss Oysters from Neguac, New Brunswick (East Coast).  These were good, but not as delicious as the Kusshi Oysters.  They all tasted fresh though, which is what really matters.

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Live DJ booth set up from scratch towards the end of the night

We finished off the night with a yummy birthday cake and a lot more socializing.  It was a great night of eating and I loved trying everything even though the portions of the dishes didn’t split evenly enough for everyone to try at times.  I would recommend coming here in a group of 4-6 people so that the sharing portions are ideal.  I’m actually surprised that I liked all of the tapas; every single item was very delicious and well done.  I’m not such a big fan of their drinks though since mine tasted weak and had too much ice in it.  I tried Gen’s drink and it also wasn’t very outstanding to me.  Otherwise, the service here was great.  Considering that we were such a big group, they were able to provide fairly quick service and even allowed us to have individual bills by breaking up our big bill into eight for convenience.  Tip was included for us.  I liked how we witnessed the DJ table being set up right in the restaurant too.  It became quite a bar scene as the music filled up the air and it became difficult to converse with each other over the loud music.  All the female servers here are adorned in heavy eye make-up and attired in short skirts.  I guess that’s the vibe they want for their izakaya.  All in all, a great feasting night.  I hope you had a wonderful time, Gen!  Happy birthday! 🙂

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About stenoodie

I'm a stenographer, foodie, avid traveller, and a really silly person if you get to know me well enough. =)
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4 Responses to Birthday Celebration at Nomé Izakaya

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