November 1, 2017: I have heard of AKA-ONI Ramen & Izakaya thanks to foodies posting about it on Instagram and the restaurant itself interacting with foodies on social media by hosting contest giveaways or liking my photos. We had a really good dinner here!
AKA-ONI Ramen & Izakaya serves Japanese izakaya food including skewers, sashimi, sushi and maki rolls, ramen, rice, raw oysters, specialty drinks, and more. When I was flipping through the menu, I was blown away with how many items of food they had. We had to wait a bit before we got a table for three but it didn’t take too long. The service was was really, really good! I also really liked the interior design of the place. It was so cozy and perfect for an intimate dinner. I was surprised that something of this calibre actually existed in this Silver Star Boulevard.
The teapots were super unique and pretty. I had the hot water teapot while the other teapot was full of matcha tea. By Alice’s account, apparently that teapot was very heavy and difficult to lift.
After we placed our orders, we received a starter salad. I liked the tarty dressing on the fresh greens. Our plates were always cleared very quickly that night by the attentive servers.
The Spicy Mix Maki was really delicious! It had six rolls of salmon, tuna, avocado, tobiko, tempura bits, and spicy mayo. It was a very good size of a roll with excellent rice to fish ratio. The taste was exemplary too!
We each ordered a skewer of the Yagen Nankotsu (tri-soft bone). Alice and I thought that this was the chicken soft bone that we wanted to eat but instead this was a different type, chicken breast cartilage. It was interesting to try it though. It was definitely all soft bone and chewy. I liked the sweet teriyaki sauce on it.
Since we were here on a Wednesday, we got to indulge in their half-price oysters night. Yay! We ordered half a dozen of Fanny Bay oysters from British Columbia. The server was patient when explaining to us what each type of oyster was before we ordered.
The oysters were good! They were really fresh. 😀
The Kara-age, Deep Fried Chicken in Japanese Style, was just okay. It appeared like fried chicken balls and tasted too fibrous and chewy for my liking. The accompanying mayo sauce was also just okay.
Marilyn and I love uni so we ordered the Ikura & Uni Don (Salmon Roe and Sea Urchin on Sushi Rice). This was a mini size but it was really, really delicious! They did everything right here. The sea urchin was so smooth and delicious, the salmon roe were fresh and tasted good, and the sushi rice was indeed sushi rice — I could taste the vinegar in it. Mmm, it was perfect!
We further added to our first round of food since we still had room in our stomachs to try more. We had the Miso Black Cod. This was a grilled miso marinated black cod. It was an extremely tiny piece that when it arrived, we all exclaimed, “Wow, this is so small!” I know that black cod is a more expensive fish so good thing that the quality taste of this balanced out the quantity. It was grilled to perfection and super moist and smooth. Yummy!
Alice and I ordered the Nankotsu (chicken soft bone) to redeem our first unsuccessful ordering of the tri-soft bone. This one was what we intended to order and it was moderate. I would have preferred the chicken soft bone to be a bit more flavourful here.
The Crispy Unagi Pancake could have been more crispy. It was sliced into six pieces and each piece had a super large chunk of barbecue eel on it which tasted very good. However, I thought that the pancake was too dense and a tiny bit soggy. I liked the pickled veggie on top of it.
Marilyn finished off with the Durian Pudding for dessert which was also extremely tiny. It was presented in one of those little jars that all-you-can-eat restaurants serve their mango puddings and jellos in. She commented that it tasted good so at least that’s a redeeming point. 🙂
I really liked the meal here at AKA-ONI Ramen & Izakaya. Some things were hits and some things were misses but there are enough items on there for you to choose from that could warrant more future visits. I’m glad that a restaurant like this exists uptown!