Business cards casually hanging out on the ledge when you first walk in.
Impressed how busy this place has been on both trips. Service was the typical Japanese standard of excellence. They constantly came by to refill our water and tea (which was complimentary). You know they’re legit when they play jazz music.
In case you don’t know what kushikatsu is, it’s up on the wall.
Cute cartoon heads on the walls. Chef’s top 5 if you need help picking what to eat.
Couple sake options also scribbled on that same wall.
Homemade dessert menu is on the back wall.
Their display case showcasing a few desserts and their popular pina colada and watermelon punch drinks.
There’s a couple menus: daily specials (1, 2 and 3), daily drink specials (1 and 2) and a regular menu. The regular menu is broken into kushikatsu, tapas, vegetable, meat, seafood, sushi, rice & noodle and drinks. Tons of variety but I was shocked to see oden on the menu. One of the few places in Van that does it.
We dropped in on a late Thursday evening (around 9:30 pm) and the place was bumping. People were still coming in at 10:30pm and even chilling outside on the patio.
Deep fried and panko breaded. It comes with a secret dipping sauce.
The skewers were perfectly cooked and had a light, addictive crunch to them. Seriously, you can’t go wrong. Order a few. I’m sad we didn’t try this when we were in Japan.
The side of karashi mustard had quite the zip to it.
The variety of fish cakes, sausage and daikon was excellent, as was the broth. Hearty and deeply satisfying.
Bang-bang chicken ($4.80)
Boiled chicken thigh tossed with sesame soy dressing, jellyfish and topped with kaiware. This was fairly simple but well executed. Loved the chewy, crunchy texture of the jellyfish.
Pork cheeks were fantastic and the yuzu paste put it over the top. Bottle that in a jar and sell it Rajio! To be honest, we love anything yuzu.
A good mix of sashimi (tuna, salmon, yellowtail, fish roe and octopus) and spot on sushi rice. Seriously, texture was fantastic. The strips of tamago and pickled Japanese vegetables (carrot, daikon and umabushi) added another element to the bowl.
Second time around, we came with a group of 7. Made reservations and the only time slot available was for 5:30pm on an early Friday evening. We only had the table till 7:00pm. Short and sweet.
Better than most places that specialize in oysters.
Every time that we’ve ordered chicken karaage (whether here at any of their other sister restaurants) has been top notch. They clearly have mastered this dish.
Saba was fresh and had a smooth texture.
Didn’t get to try this one but it looked good.
Mentaiko kimchi udon ($8.80)
Pan fried udon noodles tossed in cod roe and garnished with chopped kimchi, scallions and dried seaweed. A slight (and I meant the slightest) hint of heat. Good but a small portion.
Figured we could use some more carbs.
Just as good as the first time we had it.
The + Group Restaurant people continue to kill it in the izakaya game. Can’t wait to come back!
Rajio Japanese Public House
3763 W 10th Avenue