Rajio Japanese Public House is located on W 10th Ave in Kitsilano. It’s the newest restaurant by the same people who own Kingyo and Suika. The serve many of the same Japanese izakaya type dishes here, but at Rajio they specialize in kushi katsu, which are various skewered and deep fried items.
To start we were brought a complimentary bowl of cabbage salad to share. It was drizzled with a light salty and tangy sauce. This was a refreshing little snack for us to munch on while we waited for our food.
The corn karaage ($4.80) was a bit different from I was expecting. At the Kingyo location, the kernels are removed from the husk and they are battered and deep fried, whereas this was a piece of deep fried corn with no batter.
The corn was juicy and fried to golden perfection. For being a deep fried dish, it wasn’t overly heavy or greasy. My only complaint is that I wish the pieces were bigger.
Tako wasabi ($3.80) is something I’ve never tried before. It is made with pieces of raw octopus and pickles that are mixed in a wasabi sauce. They also give you little seaweed sheets to scoop and wrap up the octopus.
The wasabi flavour is pretty strong and it dominates the dish. The octopus had a slightly chewy texture and it tasted fresh. The sauce was quite liquidy, so these were a bit messy.
The tuna salt tataki ($5.80) looked beautiful when it came to the table. It was topped with a green onion sauce, and a chili pepper jelly, which hit sweet and salty notes. The tuna was as smooth as butter and still nice and rare on the inside.
The kimchi sobameshi stone bowl ($8.80) is made with a mixture of rice, yakisoba noodles, ground pork, cheese, kimchi, and vegetables all served in a sizzling hot stone bowl. This is what it looks like after they mix the bowl at your table for you.
I don’t know why it is, but anything made in a stone bowl just tastes better, and this was no exception. The rice tasted smoky and it packed a lot of flavour. Many of the other items here are small, so it was nice to load up on some filling carbs. I would definitely get this again if I came back.
You have to order ebi mayo ($6.80) if you go to an izakaya restaurant. Even though it’s a pretty standard dish, it’s always one of my faves.
The shrimp were plump with a springy texture and coated in a super crisp tempura batter. The heaps of mayo and chili sauce add tons of rich creaminess and make this dish so delicious.
If you order any of the kushi katsu items, they bring you condiments for them. On the left is a creamy tartar sauce, in the middle is a slightly sweet and tangy smooth onion relish, and on the right is lemon salt for sprinkling. I liked all three of these items and it was nice to have a few different options to go with the skewers.
We each ordered a takoyaki ($1.50 each) skewer, which are deep fried octopus balls.
I have a weakness for takoyaki. I love how doughy and indulgent they are on the inside, while being crunchy on the outside. The piece of octopus inside, seemed a bit small, but I enjoyed the skewer nevertheless.
The premium kushi katsu set ($12.80) was a featured set that came with the following skewers: shiitake mushroom stuffed with shrimp, asparagus wrapped with pork, stewed pork belly, shiso chicken meat ball, lotus root stuffed with chicken, shiso wrapped shrimp, and seaweed wrapped rice cake.
I had the asparagus wrapped with pork, the shiso chicken meatball, and the lotus root stuffed with chicken. I found the lotus root skewer bland, but I enjoyed the other two, especially the chicken meatball, which was moist and very flavourful.
The hellz ramen ($8.80) is made with a clam, shrimp, spicy miso and pepper broth and is filled with ground pork, egg, and green onions.
Despite the warning about the spiciness from the waitress, I didn’t find this dish to be as spicy as I was expecting. It was a good spicy, that awakens your senses, but doesn’t burn your mouth so much you can’t taste anything. The broth was rich and delicious, I could just drink a cup of it.
I liked the addition of the egg to the soup, which came out thin and almost scrambled. It added a hearty comforting element to the dish. The noodles were nice and chewy and there was plenty of them to be split between the three of us. This was one of the highlights of the meal for me and it is the perfect item to warm you up on a cold winter night.
Even though we were pretty full by this point, we had to end off the meal with dessert. We all shared each of their three puddings.
The mango pudding ($3.80) was light, airy, and sweet. To me it actually tasted like peach for some reason, but I still enjoyed it. The mango slices on top of the pudding was a nice touch.
The almond tofu ($3.80) was very refreshing. If you don’t like sweet, rich, desserts, this is a good option for you. The tofu was smooth and it had a mild almond flavour. It was topped with a crystallized sugar and citrus topping. The citrus brightened up the dessert and added a bit of tartness.
The smooth pudding ($3.80) was like a creme brulee. The pudding itself was silky smooth and had a delicate creamy texture. At the bottom of the cup was a liquid version of a dark caramel sauce. All three of us agreed that this was our favourite of the puddings and I would highly recommend it if you are looking for a dessert at Rajio.
I had a great evening at Rajio. This is a good place to come with a group of people to share lots of different dishes. The food was fun, creative, and tasty. I appreciate how they have more unique items than most Japanese restaurants around. Some of the items were on the small side, but I have no complaints taste wise.
Yes, for fun and tasty izakaya food.