L only cares for traditional Japanese food, so I was a little hesitant to bring him to Li-Ao. However, after Peaches last glowing post, I wanted to sample more of the menu. I used my new foodie journal that my neighbours bought me for my blogging. I usually like to jot some notes down while I’m eating, particularly if I partake in a glass of wine.
We received a complimentary taster – deep-fried tuna gyoza. As usual, Henry, the owner of Li-Ao, was jovial and complimentary. I asked Henry what was in the green sauce underneath the gyoza, because I knew Peaches was dying to know. Turns out it is a concoction of avocado and honey.
We ordered: Lobster Roll ($9.95 plus extra for substitution); Dynamite Roll (2.95); Scallop Roll (9.95); Special Scallop Nigiri ($2.00); Toro Nigiri ($2.50), Seared Tuna Nigiri ($1.85), and a side order of Chicken Teriyaki ($5.95). We received tea promptly by a very sweet woman – she was busy throughout our visit serving all the customers as well as tidying up the tables.
I asked our server if the lobster roll could be served with scallop instead of shrimp. Let’s just say I won’t be asking to do any substitutions in the future. There was some mix-up with the way it was ordered. I know I’m making a bigger deal of it than it was, but it made me really uncomfortable to hear the sushi chefs loudly scold her, and at length, in Chinese. I can’t speak Chinese but I do understand it. I apologized to her, to which she smiled and dismissed my concern. She said she made a communication error and everything was fine.
My favourite item was the Toro Nigiri. The piece was larger than what you’ll find at other Japanese restaurants. What impressed me was the texture and taste of the toro, it was buttery, smooth and sweet. I like the garnish on the seared tuna, but personally, the tuna itself was a tad over torched for me. The chopped scallop was pretty standard, though I like the cool temperature at which the scallop was served to me. L preferred the scallop roll over the lobster roll while I preferred the latter. He thought the balsamic sauce worked on the roll while I enjoyed the mango sauce with the lobster.
Peaches was dead right on about the teriyaki chicken. For the price, it was a winner. The chunks of chicken were juicy and well-marinated in a sweet and slightly garlicky sauce. I enjoyed the addition of just cooked onions mixed in with the chicken. I would definitely order the teriyaki chicken again.
Neither of the specialty rolls needed any soy sauce – it was already loaded with flavour. I’m happy to report L liked the maki rolls at Li Ao. L wants to return and try all the special rolls minus the sauces. I’m too thin-skinned to ask for substitutions, so L better be the one doing the requesting in the future.