In their defense, you are paying for the atmosphere and presentation, well executed robata, nigiri and maki sushi, as well the service. The interior of the South Edmonton Common location is very minimalist, yet grand, while the food presentation and dedication to detail certainly trumps other Japanese restaurants in Edmonton. Their robata grills are certainly one of a kind in Edmonton, so if you're a fan of delicately grilled foods, this is the place to be. I have included all prices in this post, just for reference.
|(Photo courtesy of Mikado's website)|
Since I've been having a ton of sushi cravings at odd times, I've actually been over to Mikado twice in the past week (!!! I KNOW!!!! So unusual right?) - once late night, and once mid-day. Surprising as it may be, I'm glad I did, because although it was a bit pricey, it was worth checking out again because I was reminded how well made their sushi really is. Oh, and to clarify, by pricey, I do not mean that it was just expensive, because lord knows how much I am willing to spend on food, but that I paid a lot but did not leave particularly full/satisfied.
One dish I have to say Mikado does particularly well, and with killer presentation, is their sunomono salad. Sunomono generally refers to all cold vinegared dishes in Japanese cuisine, however, in North America, I have only seen sunomono refer to rice/bean thread noodles served in a cold sweet rice wine vinagrette with assorted toppings. I always get Mikado's Assorted Sunomono, which is topped with tako (octopus), hokkigai (red surf clam), ebi (prawn), kombu (seaweed), cucumbers, lemon, and young pea sprouts. Isn't the presentation in a margarita glass ferocious?!
|Assorted Sunomono - $6.95|
(octopus, prawn, surf clam)
I used to hate getting any dish that had ponzu (a citrus soya sauce) in it at Mikado because their version was often far too salty, thus overwhelming the tangy citrus - usually yuzu or lemon, that I find most desireable about ponzu. Most tataki dishes (fish or meat that is lightly seared on the outside before being sliced) are dressed with ponzu sauce, so as a result, I would avoid ordering them, however, both MBear and I were really craving it, so we decided to go for it anyway. It turned out to be really good, their ponzu has come a long way since I last tried it! Definitely worthwhile, especially since they don't skip out on the toppings that I expect with any tataki dish - seaweed, spicy grated daikon, red onion, and scallions.
You might notice that some parts of the beef slices are turning brown; this is simply due to oxidation of the meat as it is common practice for busy Japanese restaurants in Edmonton to pre-slice the meat during kitchen prep to avoid having to worry about slicing the beef so thinly during a meal rush - the flavor of the beef is not affected at all.
|Beef Tataki - $9.95|
K recommended that we order the chirashi (assorted sashimi on sushi rice) if we were craving sashimi (sliced raw fish) because the sashimi at Mikado tends to be really expensive for especially small portions - approximately 1/3 the portion that other Japanese restaurants give. Their chirashi on the other hand, offers a fair portion of well assorted sashimi, so the value is pretty incredible. As well, Mikado honestly has the most well seasoned sushi rice, so I don't mind eating more of it - T and I actually ended up fighting for the rest of the rice... hahahah oops, committed carbicide, but who cares.
Their chirashi is topped with:
- sake (salmon)
- maguro (Albacore tuna)
- tako (octopus)
- hamachi (Yellowtail tuna)
- hokkigai (red surf clam)
- ika (squid) or hotate (scallop) topped with tobiko (flying fish roe)
- tamago (egg omelette)
- sweet pickled shiitake mushrooms
- dried seaweed
- pickled ginger and wasabi
.... DROOL?! I always appreciate the sweet pickled shiitake mushrooms and the shiso (sesame leaf) that they include in the bowl, they really make this chirashi a step above cheaper alternatives.
|Chirashi - $22.95|
|Dynamite maki - $14.95|
Mikado's maki (rolled) sushi are really well executed, with high quality fillings and well balanced flavors. The one we always get is their self proclaimed "most popular" Dynamite maki. Typically, Dynamite maki only contain tempura prawns, avocado, tobiko (flying fish roe) or masago (smelt fish roe, a cheaper alternative to tobiko), cucumber and mayo, but Mikado's version includes spicy chop chop (chopped scallops mixed with tobiko and mayo) which just slays me every time. Then again, Mikado's version is about 3x more expensive... chop chop is NOT worth an extra $10! Also served with a spicy Sriracha sauce on the side.
|Fresh Oysters - $13.95 for 6, or $2.95 each|
The fresh oysters were fresh, and I think that's self explanatory for them being dericious!
Topped with ponzu, spicy grated daikon, scallions, and served with Tabasco. I'm not familiar enough with oysters to determine what type they were though... @_@\\
|Toro sushi, all by it's lonesome - $2.95|
The toro (tuna belly) sushi was good and melt in your mouth, although like a broken record player, I will again reiterate, portion size was small. I know real sushi in Japan is of this size, but if you're charging $2.95 a piece for the exact same type of Albacore tuna belly served at every other Japanese restaurant in the city (they charge almost a dollar less and for a much larger piece), then I pretty much expect the sushi to be served with gold or jump in my mouth itself... just saying you know.
One thing that Mikado does do without skimping for a steal of a deal is DESSERT! I love love love sweets, so you cannot imagine how excited I was to find TIRAMISU CHEESECAKE and TEMPURA ICECREAM on their menu (and yes, I realize caps are damn annoying, but you'll have to excuse my excitement, I almost rolled out of my chair when I saw it). Pictures don't do them justice...
|Green tea tempura icecream - served with chocorate and raspberry? sauce - $7.95|
Overall, I would say Mikado has improved in terms of value for money, and they are definitely the best at what they do in many aspects, so I would never hesitate to come back. Unfortunately, I am seriously a huge pig, so unless I am balling, I would reserve Mikado for times when I'm not that hungry, craving really amazing sushi rice, special occasions, or just for drinks (really good selection of sake and cocktails)/desserts in a sexy atmosphere.
Mikado Japanese Restaurant - South Edmonton Common