viva la vancouver eats: shuraku sake bar & bistro

Continuing on with the latter half of our Vancouver eating adventures, we head over to Shuraku Sake Bar & Bistro for a quick and easy lunch.  Shuraku wasn’t originally on the list of must-go restaurants – in fact, it’s a brand new find for us – but we were in a bit of a strange predicament.  Being Easter long weekend, some of the places on our list were closed for the weekend.  Having no back up plan (and really, we didn’t know too many other restaurants since we hadn’t visited Vancouver enough times), I checked the visitor guides provided by the hotel and quickly browsed the internet for alternative options.  Shuraku happened to be recommended in a couple of guides and it had some good reviews online, plus it was only about a 10-minute walk from our hotel.

The space itself is modern and contemporary, with dark woods and clean lines.  It’s like super hip lounge meets casual dining space.  We were seated a table with a view into the kitchen area.

We decided to keep it simple and fairly light, having learned our lesson early on in the eating game (yeah, we’re kinda losing our touch, what can I say).

Mark got a tempura udon – you usually can’t go wrong with that.  The broth tasted nice and clean, and the noodles were perfectly done.  I resisted trying any of the tempura, but it looked quite delicious.

As for me, I was on a ramen kick, but also had a hankering for some vegetables (if you know me well, this would genuinely shock you), so I opted for the Vegetable Ramen.  I loved how it came in this rectangular, trough-like bowl, adorned with a mound a nicely sauteed vegetables and corn.  Unlike the rich, creamy broth of the ramen we’d had the night before, it was a lighter, vegetable-based broth.  The best part was that the noodles were perfectly al dente (aka toothsome), just the way I like noodles.  This is the ramen I’m more used to – with the clearer broth – and it was a nice portion size.  Mmmm, can’t beat a good bowl of noodles and soup.

We also got some nigiri to share, nothing too crazy.  We stuck with the usual – wild salmon, tuna belly, and prawn.  It wasn’t as good as Sushi Bar Ajisai, but it wasn’t bad either.  The pieces were actually quite gigantic.  I’m not sure this is such a good thing.  Yes, it’s great value, but at the same time, I feel like the more expertly sliced, smaller pieces of sashimi make it more enjoyable, since it’s a smaller bite and more easily enjoyed in one go.  That’s just my personal opinion.

Shuraku was an enjoyable experience, but nothing jumps out as being especially memorable.  I do like the more modern, hip concept and the food seems to be solid.  I think for Japanese fare other than sushi, this is a good place to go.  Their menu is quite extensive and there’s a lot of different items to choose from.  Shuraku gets a thumbs up from me.

Shuraku Sake Bar & Bistro
833 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC V6B 2C9
Phone: (604) 687-6622
http://www.shuraku.net

ShuRaku Sake Bar and Bistro on Urbanspoon

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