By Tana Kosiyabong
I woke up around 8am on Christmas Eve, and after a short morning routine, I went off to work in Coal Harbour. Whether liked it or not, I did stay at the office until 1pm. “Thanks G-D,” I murmured to myself while heading out of the building. I was now officially on holiday for the next ten and a half days! This special time called for a special lunch. And I knew exactly where to go. Samurai Japanese Restaurant was just twenty minutes walk away. Although it would be too presumptuous to call Samurai lunch special “the Best of Vancouver,” I couldn’t think of a better lunch to celebrate this wonderful occasion with.
Samurai lunch special bento changes regularly, if not daily. As I reached the restaurant, the front signage revealed the menu: Beef Teriyaki, Spicy Agedashi Tofu (2 pieces), Alaska Rolls (2 pieces), Tempura (5 pieces), Green Salad, Miso Soup, and Rice. All for just $7.95, not to mention the complimentary hot tea.
Perhaps people were still busy shopping, Samurai wasn’t as crowded as usual. There were a few empty tables available. The interior decor was typical of a Japanese restaurant. It was cozy and down-to-earth. Once seated, I ordered the lunch special bento right away. Bada bing, bada boom… the meal was served.
Although Samurai bento wasn’t as artfully decorated as the ones prepared by my blogger friend, Debra from Hapabento, I was happy with the large amount of food on the table. I started my lunch with the tasty Miso soup and the green iceberg lettuce salad. Samurai homemade dressing was nice though I’d rather have the Japanese sesame dressing instead.
Spicy Agedashi tofu was quite tasty. The reddish brown sauce reminded me of Hoisin sauce with a feisty kick. The green onion wasn’t just for garnish. It complemented the spicy flavor really well. If only the tofu was deep-fried without coated flour, I would be a happy camper.
Alaska rolls were around two-inch diameter with generous fillings. They were perhaps too big for a bite size, but I’d rather have more food than less. The salmon was fresh and chunky, and the imitation crab was lightly mixed with mayo (possibly the Japanese favourite–Kewpie). If the fresh salmon were Batman, the creamy imitation crab salad would be Robin. Together with a fierce back up from Alfred, the crunchy julienned cucumber, they quickly defeated a starving villain inside me.
Five pieces Tempura–two shrimps and three veggies–were crispy and not too oily. However, I couldn’t help but missed the finely grated Daikon normally served with tempura dipping sauce. (I don’t know why but I rarely see Japanese restaurants in North America served it with the sauce.)
Beef teriyaki was delicious and tender. The sweet and savoury sauce enhanced the beefy flavor well. Steamed rice was cooked to perfection. My only complaint was the dish disappeared too fast.
After finished the lunch special, I was well beyond satisfied. Its great value was more than enough to compensate for a few hiccups. Apparently, Samurai didn’t use the word “special” lightly.
Samurai Japanese Restaurant Lunch Special Bento: ©©©©1/4
For Samurai Japanese Restaurant online menu, click here.
Total Budget: $350
Budget Spent: -$7.95.
Budget Available: $342.05
Samurai Japanese Restaurant is located at 1108 Davie Street Vancouver. Phone: 604.609.0078
Restaurant Hours: Sunday to Thursday from 11am to midnight. Friday to Saturday from 11am to 1am.
Note to my beloved readers:
Since my accumulated vacation days are about to expire, I decided to take a few weeks off to go to Japan and Thailand. No worries, you still have a new story to read every Monday even while I’m away. This story is the first of three scheduled posts. The next two posts were set for January 17th and 24th. Please feel free to comment on this post as usual. Although I am unable to reply right away, I promise to do so when I come back from the vacation. So don’t be shy:) I look forward to telling you about my Cheap Appetite missions in Japan and Thailand soon. Wish me luck:)
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