One of the places my Iaido sensei - Inoue Hironori likes to go is Octopus Garden. Actually, let's go back in time a few years. Before he was my Iaido sensei, he was just "Hiro", one of the founding members of the Vancouver Japanese Sword Appreciation Club. I met him over 10 years ago when I first joined the club, and Octopus Garden was a regular place to go after our monthly meetings. I would not join them because at the time, I was a starving college student and didn't even drive at the time. After enrolling in his iaido class about four years ago, we'd go to Octopus Garden for special occassions such as birthdays and farewells. It got a bit expensive for most people and after a while our visits sort of dropped off.
The VJSAC fell apart sometime last year, and my last visit to Octopus Garden was after one of those events.
Me and Ritchard T., from class, tagging along with the grown-ups.
Daniel (left), a sword polisher from Japan (centre), and Inoue Sensei (right).
Complimentary tako salad.
Edamame, the usual compliment to beer and sake.
Agedashi tufu, another common dish in most local Japanese restaurants.
Some sort of fusion something or other.
Some good old, regular assorted nigiri sushi.
A deep fried roll...starting to be a trend here in Vancouver.
The food is pretty damn good at Octopus Garden. It's authentic in the way that the ownership, the prep and staff are all Japanese, but the food itself has a foot in the door for fusion. For example, the first time I EVER had foie gras was at Octopus Garden...Foie Gras Nigiri Sushi. I fell in love with foie gras that night, and added it to my list of must have's for my last meal on earth, ethics be damned. The service is pretty friendly as well, and the food arrives quickly (when it's not busy).
One thing I'd like to add is that I saw my favourite sake here - Koshi no Kanbai....the only problem was it was selling at $300 for the 1.8 litre bottle....for the price of 4 bottles, I could fly back to Japan and bring back 4 of my own. Sadly, Ocotpus Garden is overall a little bit too pricy for me at the moment and I can't afford to go there as often as I'd like.