Oh shiiiiiiiz, a new izakaya opened in Edmonton. I spotted Dorinku a few months ago when they were first doing reno’s. It peaked my interest but after my last disastrous attempt at trying a different izakaya in town (cough cough Ikki), I was keeping my expectations tempered. After seeing a couple friends post photos, we decided to give it a try late Sunday evening when we were debating where to go for dinner.
L is back in town after a couple years of hiatus so it was a good excuse to try a new spot. Dorinku had their soft opening early July and still had their soft opening menu up when I visited both times. The regular menu should be up and running now.
Open till midnight but now, Friday and Saturday’s are till 1:00am!
Salad, sashimi and seafood.
Meat and sushi. Pressed sushi? Never seen that in Edmonton before.
Rice and dessert to round things off. Dorinku joining the ramen game.
The aforementioned grand menu. Expect dishes and prices to differ.
The place was packed so that was a good sign. So many Asians! We came around 7:45pm and were quoted a 20-25 minute wait but it was more in the 40 minute range.
Inside is clean, modern and crisp. I like the vibe a lot. We sat in the back both times.
The decor is very manga inspired. Naruto manga and a full on manga wallpaper.
I didn’t even notice but their figurines are separated into guys and girls. One leads to the men’s washroom and the other to the ladies room. Brilliant.
What I don’t get is how come the ladies washroom has all the glitz/gadgets (the bidet and toothpicks!) while the men’s gets shafted. Typical.
Pachinko gambling machine. You can play for free apparently. I’ve never seen one of these before ’cause I haven’t been to Japan yet. 😦
We weren’t quite expecting this based on the menu description but it’s a fun way to get involved with your food. Taste wise, it’s just like any other fries I’ve had. Meh.
Chicken peperone udon ($12.80)
Italian-Japanese fusion pan-fried noodles with chicken, jalapeno garlic and scallions. This was easily our favourite dish of the night. The udon was amazing. They were already out of ramen so the udon was our next choice. Lucky us. Great, springy bite to the noodles.
Pressed wild salmon sushi ($13.80)
Wild sockeye salmon and avocado sushi with Japanese mint and creamy soy sauce. Pressed sushi is all the range in Vancouver (see Miku and Green Leaf Sushi) so of course, Edmonton is light years behind and just getting it. I’m more of a nigiri person but the salmon was lightly seared and these just melt in your mouth.
Jewelry bowl ($11.80)
Sliced sashimi, Japanese mint, daikon pickle and salmon roe over rice. I guess this is their take on chirashi but they cubed/diced up all the sashimi. The rice was nicely seasoned but this dish really didn’t impress me.
Second time around, I came with a bigger crew to try more dishes. It was busy for a Wednesday evening but this time, we were able to snag a seat with no wait time. Happy to see that they added seats to the bar area because there were none on my first visit!
Five kinds of sashimi ($26.30)
Tako, tuna, toro, yellowtail and sockeye salmon (from top clockwise). You get 15 pieces total which is slightly difficult to share between four people. Everything was fresh and cut with precision.
Presentation is beautiful as it comes out on a chunk of slab (heavy too). The toro and yellowtail definitely stole the spotlight.
Chicken karaage ($9.80)
Deep fried chicken served with green tea salt and chili mayonnaise. This is a classic dish and Dorinku’s version does it justice. Nicely battered, crispy exterior and oh-so soft and tender on the inside. I have no idea how they cooked it so perfectly.
Dip into the chili mayo (the green tea salt didn’t do much for me) and you’ve got a winner winner deep fried chicken dinner.
Agedashi tofu ($6.80)
Deep fried tofu, carrot, yellow pepper, eggplant served in a shimeji and golden mushroom soy soup topped with scallion. I wouldn’t really describe this as being “deep fried”, more so lightly fried. Another classic izakaya dish done well. Silky smooth on the inside. This dish will convert all you tofu haters out there into tofu lovers.
Pressed wild salmon sushi ($13.80)
Oops, accidentally ordered the same pressed sushi as my first visit but it was okay because everyone liked it. I’ll to try their two other pressed sushi options next time.
Japanese style calamari ($9.80)
Deep fried squid served with Japanese tartar sauce and mint salsa sauce. This was delicious. Straight up. Generous portion of squid and the “mint salt” sauce, think pico di gallo Japanese style, elevated this calamari to next level shit. The tartar sauce was great too.
Seafood ishiyaki fried rice ($14.30)
They serve this table side with all the components separate. The stone bowl is pipping hot (don’t touch it!). We got to watch our waitress put in the raw egg, then green onions, garlic flakes and finally rice. I think it’s a bit overpriced but the dish was tasty. The stone bowl really cooks the rice and gives it a nice crunchy, umami flavour.
Dorinku ramen ($13.80)
Slow-cooked pork and chicken broth, ramen noodles with binchotan charcoal grilled pork chashu, kaiware radish sprouts, green onion and shredded spicy pepper. This bowl looks pretty basic but don’t be fooled. Broth was excellent and the noodles had a good toothsome bite to them. We were sharing everything and they kindly brought out four small bowls for us to split. Yes, it’s possible to share even ramen. Boom.
Portions are smaller than normal. Expect that when you come here because it’s an izakaya. Prices are a little steeper if you come solo or as a couple. Your best bet is to grab a crew of friends as you’ll get the most bang for your buck and get to try more things. Dorinku has impressed me so far and I can’t wait to try their full menu.
10205 – 82 Avenue