Ebisu on Robson, Vancouver

You might have guessed by now. We are eating out more in downtown than we used to.

We eat out in Richmond most of the time but of late Suanne and I have more time on our own since the boys have more activities of their own too. I am not sure if it’s good or bad because it also means one thing … that in a few short years, our boys will be more on their own and before we know it, they’ll be moving out of the nest.

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We went to Ebisu on Robson. Apparently, Ebisu has several outlets. We know of one in Richmond but had never been there before. We were actually there on the recommendation of someone who knows the General Manager of this outlet. Suanne and I thought it would be great to check out a place where we get to learn and not just dine at the place.

This particular one is located at the intersection of Robson and Bute.

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We went there very early at 5PM and were met by Deon. Being curious, we enjoyed the fact that we get to learn more about Ebisu from Deon who spent a lot of time telling us about this two year old restaurant.

Apparently Ebisu is an offshoot of the 40-year old Kamei Royale, one of the earliest traditional Japanese restaurant in Vancouver. Today, many of the chefs in some of the more popular Japanese restaurants have their root in Kamei Royale. Unlike Kamei Royale, Ebisu serves contemporary and fusion Japanese food.

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You all probably know I appreciate little things in a restaurant. When we were seated, we were handed HOT (disposable) towels. To me, this shows that they think of every minutest of details.

Talking about hot towels, this one I use to wipe my face … it feels good. But … you know in some Chinese restaurants, they also hand you hot towels but not the disposable ones (like this type in Ebisu). Do you use it to wipe your hands only? I had always wanted to use those to wipe my face because it feels so good but have never done it (in public!) because it makes me look like I am uncultured! LOL!

I have seen people using the towels to wipe their hands, face … and NECK!

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I love their menus. Lots of big pictures and lots of variety. They are promoting their Happy Hour menu with a lot of good deals. They only started the Happy Hour menu about 4 weeks ago.

I remember we took an awfully long time to choose what we wanted that the waitress came by three times asking if we were ready to place our order. We finally made our choices with the help of Deon. We like this because we can ask as many dumb questions we wanted to make sure we know exactly what we are ordering.

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We asked Deon what is the one thing on the menu he is most proud of. Without hesitation, he said the drinks particularly the one he calls the Golden Balls. He also told me that every single drink on the menu is his own creation — we were quite impressed.

What we like most of the menu is that they print the alcohol content on each drink. That makes it easy for people like Suanne and I who does not take much alcohol to choose our drinks.

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I got the Golden Balls which is Orchid Lychee Liquer, Peach Schnapps and Apple Juice. It was a very nice drink and I can see why Deon says that it is their most popular drink. They use fresh lychees to make this (i.e. not canned lychees).

Suanne had the Virgin Lime Margarita which is $3.75. It was sourish with a hint of bitterness. We like the glowy snow whiteness of the drink — like it’s radioactive or something.

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Since the oysters were just 99 cents, we ordered just three to try. Deon was raving that their oysters are very popular, always fresh and never kept more than 48 hours. He also said that at 99 cents, Ebisu has perhaps the cheapest oysters. Some places charges like $20 for six pieces alone.

Suanne is squirmish over raw stuff and hates the sliminess of oysters. It came in a large ice bowl and was surprised that they even have four different types of sauces. The sauces are vinegar, Tabasco, chili sauce and other one we could not quite figure out. It is an unique chili sauce with a little bitterness in it.

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However, the oysters are pretty small. Maybe that is why it’s just 99 cents. We enjoyed it. I said we because Suanne mustered enough courage to try one. The sauces were great. I wanted to order more but felt kind of silly to ask for “three more please”.

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We had some “action” food, or “interactive” food, if I may. It is called the Inferno which comes with either Hamachi (yellow tail) or Saba (mackerel). We got the Hamachi one ($9.90). They torched it in front of us. Seated by the window in broad daylight, there was not much of an action here. I would love to take a picture of this in darker settings with the blue flames blasting the hamachi.

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There are 8 pieces … box pressed with some green thingy in the rice. At least this is somewhat cooked and so Suanne took some. If it had been just raw, she would not have touched it. 8 pieces for $9.90 … it was OK don’t you think?

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The other “action” food is the Shrimp Sizzler. They pour the sauce in front of you onto a hot plate … lots of sizzle, kind of fun to watch.

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This is $6.80. We love this one … from the julienne onions and grated ginger topping to the soft texture of the shrimp in it. As simple as it seems, it was kind of hard to eat because it is so soft that it falls apart after the first bite.

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We did not order this but Deon wanted us to try this one. It is called the Cajun Tuna Taco. It was marvelous. We like the taco shell which is very light, not like those Mexican taco shells you normally find. The tuna was lightly cooked on the outside. Along with the tuna are fresh avocado, tomato and lettuce … so fresh I can even smell the freshness. It is then garnished with mayo and some black roe.

It looked pretty, tastes good … but … the shell is so soft and crunchy that it broke apart at the first bite. Keep a plate below as you eat this!

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The Chawanmushi was the other one we ordered on the recommendation of Deon. This one takes time to make and will need 15 minutes.

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It is like savory version of the Chinese Tau Foo Fa (soy pudding). It is eaten with a small and shallow wooden spoon … wished that the spoon is bigger as it was kind of hard to scoop. For $5.50, I recommend this one as it is unique.

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Capping off the evening, Suanne had to try the Creme Brulee Cheesecake. Like creme brulee, they have it with sugar crust at the top. Suanne likes it. $6.50.

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Suanne and I enjoyed that dinner. It was a great experience being able to learn so much about the restaurant, the food and the people behind it all.

We observed that Ebisu on Robson draws a lot of the younger crowd. The crowd started coming in after 6PM. By the time we left, there was already a line waiting for a table. Go and take advantage of their Happy Hour specials … it is from 4:30PM to 6:30PM everyday.

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  1. koji

    when eating raw oysters, it’s never about size, but the taste.
    Go to Granville island, specifically Lobster Man, you can see what oysters they have in stock, buy about 2 of each type to bring home. eat with a bit of minced shallots and red wine vinegar, and some lemon wedges.
    you will really notice the difference in flavour. royal miyagis are pretty standard. kushi’s are good too. effingham (sp?) i don’t really care for.
    but the people at Lobster Man really know their stuff, they’ll give you tips and help you out. it’s the ONLY place in town if you want raw oysters for home.

  2. Phil

    Awesome review and pictures, I have never been to Ebisu on Robson but just the one on W.Broadway but that was like 5 years ago for lunch. I am a big fan of raw oysters so have to check out their specials. And having a weakness for sweets, that creme brulee cheesecake looks like heaven. And as for the towel, I use it for hands, eyes, face, neck, behind ear, its so relaxing!

  3. Sherman

    Nothing beats some torch action at your table… I need to check this out.

  4. Vanessa

    Oh ! talking about cheap oysters, there is one in richmond too! its right beside the cow cattle cafe i told u to try a few days ago!
    they have daily specials, and i remember either Monday/ Tuesdays they have oysters for 50cents each! veryyyyyyy good deal!

    1. The Oyster Bar at So.Cial (so shall) at Le Magasin in Gastown has fresh shucked oysters for $1.25 every day from 3 pm to 8 pm. Lots of changing varieties and they also have the really high end premium oysters for $2.25 same time, 3 – 8 pm.

  5. Vanessa

    oh btw, that restaurant i just mentioned is called SOUL izakaya

  6. Fei

    I’m not a big fan of tuna..but that rice taco sure looks good!! i just read the hoyummy review on this too ^^~~

    I’m wondering if you guys have been to “The Observatory” on Grouse? I heard its a great dinner with an ever better view (especially at night) ~ I’d love to see you guys snap some breathtaking pictures!

    Fei

  7. J

    Great review ! !

    5 years ago.. the Ebisu on Broadway was Kamakura.. the food was very similar and is also affiliated with the Ebisu family.

    I’ve know Deon for years now and the Ebisu on Robson never fails. Their prices are extremely competitive and the quality is always there. You can’t find a better restaurant with this price point anywhere else along central robson. Also great that the playoff games are always aired at the restaurant.

    I believe they have a new promotion on.. buy a pitcher and tell them who is going to score next. If you win.. you get another pitcher for free.

    =)

  8. Wendy

    Hey Ben if you enjoyed the torched sushi, try Toratatsu. They have the torched saba too. I have a video of it on my site…and it was night time~!

  9. Katy

    Ebisu is great and has an awesome atmosphere… I love it especially going there on a weekend evening.

  10. gigi

    I liked the fish tacos when I was at Ebisu too! Some of the dishes you guys tried looked pretty tasty so I think I will have to try those out the next time I’m there.

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