Saturday, August 13, 2011

Sushi Bar 5517

For me, the whole point of eating out is to find a meal that not only delights me but is also something I wouldn’t readily toss together for myself. It also helps when an order for lunch is priced in the under $15.00 range. Small wonder that Sushi Bar 5517 is one of my regular fave raves whenever I can tear myself away from my desk.

They do have the standard menu offerings, and thank goodness for that. My husband rarely deviates from his Bento Box B – beef, please, and my daughter, from her regular order of Bento Box B chicken, please. The servings are generous enough that at least one of them takes some part of it home, which reminds me – we have to get better at bringing our own containers when we eat there. We all hate adding to the ever-growing pile of Styrofoam waste on the planet.
The special sushi for the day was mango & cream cheese. The fish in the sashimi is fresh and is also melt-in your-mouth tender. Apologies to the chef that I didn't rearrange the elements for artistic effect. They arrived looking perfect, the beef was perfectly centered, but it slid sideways before I took the shot.
Now, I have nothing against Bento Box A, B, C, or D, nothing at all, but the rest of the fifteen page menu is so darned exciting, that I usually can’t resist trying something new. I have yet to be disappointed, even if I can’t pronounce the names of half of what I order.

 I can heartily recommend the Lollipop Scallops prepared by chef Mike Daito. They are made of deep fried scallops wrapped in zucchini & eggplant with spicy mayo. It is a perfect marriage of crisp and soft, savoury and spice. In season, the fresh oyster that he also does, with the light citric hit of ponzu sauce, Japanese chilli and green onion is another perfect balancing act. The baked topping is creamy, not unlike béchamel sauce.

Yesterday, I went there again with my daughter for lunch, and since I felt like comfort food, I ordered a combo that for me is like sliding into comfortable slippers: Spicey Agedashi Tofu and Garlic-Nasu aka eggplant in a sauce that god in her wisdom intended me to have even more often than I do.

Spicey Agedashi tofu - if my photography were better, you would know that the dark bit in the middle was a mushroom, and the lovely red dot is a little dab of pepper..

Agedashi tofu is not a new approach to tarting up the venerable vegetarian standby. The recipe actually dates back to at least 1782, when it first appeared in a cookbook entitled Tofu Hyakuchin – literally: One hundred Tofu. Often when I order this dish, I also order a side of Ohitashi Spinach instead of the Garlic-Nasu since it is a lighter combo, but yesterday my appetite felt more exuberant, as if I were channelling my inner Sancho Panzo. It is probably gauche, but I can never resist pouring the last of the agedashi sauce over my side of rice. Heaven is not intended to be left in the bowl.
The dashi sauce is delicately scented, and does not overwhelm the lightly cooked spinach.
It is topped with shaved bonito flakes.

NOTE: The restaurant is sometimes closed –Sundays and Mondays, I think, so it is worth phoning them at 604-741-0558. They are located at 5517 Wharf Ave., Sechelt, between the Bank of Montreal and Off the Edge Cycles. I would give even more specific directions, but I am notorious for not knowing my left from my right. No worries. It is easy to find.

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