We had an old friend from grad school in town for one night from Calgary. The man loves sushi so of course we took him to Kibune. Corner of the bar so the three of us could catch up while vacuuming up the fresh fishy goodness. What did we have? Let's see...
sunomono -- ebi (shrimp) for me, tako (octopus) for the boys; this is a benchmark dish for me and Kibune's hits all the right notes -- sauce not too vinegary but flavourful, seafood fresh (small shrimp, yes!), cucumbers shaved thinly, noodles with a nice chew
miso soup for the boys -- okay it's just miso but once again, bit of a tester dish and Kibune's passes big time
hirame (flounder) usuzukuri recommended by itamae-san -- good call, paper thin, tender, need more and better adjectives
agedashi tofu -- warm comforting pillows in a gentle sauce
Hiro-maki -- a house roll with prawn tempura and cuke on the inside and avocado on the outside. Yum. Just yum.
unagi -- 2 pieces for the boys, thumbs up (warm, tender, nicely sauced) and a few other assorted nigiri, all good
tempura -- they do a nice job of it here, light batter, not too greasy, good variety of veggies and still a wee bit crunchy inside (I like mine with gyoza sauce which the wait staff bring willingly with hardly a wince).
local tuna sashimi -- gorgey, as my English cousin would say -- presentation was exquisite but then again how could you go wrong with a piece of fish this beautiful and more-than-decent knife skills? Buttery, unctuous, clean tasting... the best tuna I've ingested in a long time.
gindara saikyo (black cod) -- if I hadn't used buttery and unctuous to describe the tuna, I'd be using it to describe the cod. A must order.
Despite all the great chow so far, we were wanting more sushi so we decided to let the chef bring us his top picks for the night in an 11-piece sampler. Our dining companion had never tried geoduck or uni, but we soon fixed that -- he is pretty adventurous. There was more hirame (why do I never think to order it as nigiri when it's so good?), salmon, ama ebi with the head deep fried (friend scarfed that happily as it was new to him), salmon roe, tuna, yellowtail, another unagi, and two more pieces that escape me but not my chopsticks :-). All so fresh and good, although SO remarked that the ama ebi had a bit of a wasabi bomb in it; this seems to happen often with ebi nigiri, wonder why? Now we were full, well almost...
And for "dessert"? My traditional piece of inari sushi, a petite bean curd "bag" stuffed with sushi rice -- it's kinda sweet, and a great way to finish off a meal. As was the gelato we snagged two doors up the street 10 minutes later :-).
Pleasant (and perhaps incredibly obvious, in retrospect) surprise: they serve Takara plum wine here. How many years have I been going to Kibune, and I never thought to ask? Duh. As a non-beer drinker, I'd never found anything alcoholic that I LOVE with Japanese food (I don't mind sake but it's not an all around drink IMO*) until I tried plum wine at Zakkushi. A fellow diner had a tumbler of something light golden on the rocks so I (much to SO's chagrin) leaned over and said "Whatcha drinkin'?" and that was that. And now I can have it at my go-to sushi bar -- yesss.
Total tab including a large Kirin and my two glasses of plum wine, tax and tip: $196 for three. Service was super attentive and sitting at the bar is always entertaining here. Now you know why I go so often.
*And apparently in other, more knowledgeable, opinions:
• Technically one doesn’t drink sake with sushi (or rice in general) only with sashimi or before or after the meal. It is felt that since they are both rice based, they do not complement each other and therefore should not be consumed together. Green tea is a great option with sushi or sashimi.