Wa’s Japanese: Birthday Lunch
February 4, 2013
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AY was in town again. This time around, she was lucky enough to experience Calgary’s cold climate (-20). For lunch, my preference would have been to take AY to Downtownfood or Charcut Roast House, but neither was open for on a Saturday afternoon. So, I defaulted to my favourite Japanese restaurant, Wa’s.
I called ahead to ensure that we had reservations. In the last two months, it’s become increasingly difficult to get a table. Seriously, it’s harder to get into Wa’s than some of the busiest clubs in Vegas. Unlike a club, a cute skirt and a smile won’t cut it.
We ordered tea, chirashi with udon and a sashimi lunch set. As the restaurant was packed, our server informed us the food would take longer than usual. Personally, I don’t mind waiting at Wa’s as the food is worth the wait. To pass the time, we snacked away on complimentary dishes that were included in the lunch sets: miso soup; green salad with baby shrimp; and a dish of chilled, crunchy beansprouts and carrots tossed in a dry peanut sauce.
I love the little touches in the chirashi bowl, such as various types of tobiko, daikon threads, and shredded tamago. The sushi rice was lovely – the rice was cooked so still firm, with the right balance of vinegar and sugar. Etiquette be damned, I didn’t leave a single grain behind. I still don’t understand the logic behind leaving food on your plate. Apparently, in North American culture, it signals to the host that you’re full and thus fully satiated by the meal. However, what if you aren’t full but you leave some food behind that would have satisfied your appetite? Furthermore, if you are eating out and there is no host, who would you be leaving food behind to show that your full? I’m sure the chef wouldn’t care if you left food behind on your plate.
Back to the food. The sashimi in both lunch sets were excellent. The salmon was melt in your mouth good. The tuna was just firm enough and wasn’t mushy in texture. In the sashimi set, there was about 8 pieces of fish: red tuna; white tuna; salmon; scallop; tako; mackerel and ebi. I really enjoyed the tako, which had a good texture and a bit of a crunch. At this point, AY and I were full, but couldn’t stop slurping on the udon noodles. The broth had a lot of flavor, a hint of sweetness, and was filled with seaweed and pillow like bits of tempura. The noodles were slippery and chewy.
Wa’s is the sort of place I’d bring out of town guests who are accustomed to fresh seafood. AY agreed – she thought the food was delicious and the chirashi extraordinary. Just remember – make reservations or expect to be turned away at the door.