Kingyo is a Japanese izakaya located on Denman in the West End. Like other izakayas, the inside has a loud, fun, and festive atmosphere with a cool ambiance and decor.
The package begins with a tomato kimchi tofu salad. I generally dislike eating raw tomatoes, however these were pretty tasty. The tomatoes soaked up all of the kimchi marinade and they were flavourful with a hint of spice. Every once in a while you would hit a big punch of ginger that also added flavour to the dish. The mixed greens were fresh and covered in a tangy sesame soy dressing.
The tuna tataki was lightly seared and covered with a ponzu jelly, green onions, and garlic chips. The tuna was cut into meaty chunks and had a buttery smooth texture. I loved the sweet and tangy ponzu jelly and the garlic chips added a strong flavour and contrasting crunchy texture. This was a tasty dish and it’s something I would order if I came back.
The stone grilled kobe beef was a unique and fun dish. They bring out a sizzling hot stone and some raw slices of meat that you cook yourself by placing them on top of the stone.
The slices of meat were pretty thin, so they cooked quite fast on the stone. The meat was small, but tender and flavourful. It was also served with two sauces, one was a spicy chili type sauce and the other was a thin sesame sauce. I enjoyed the sesame sauce on the meat more because it accented, but didn’t mask the flavour of the beef.
The last dish in the dining pass was the clam ramen. This was made with a soy based clam soup with shrimp oil, garlic and onion oil, and fish powder.
The ramen noodles were chewy and bouncy, just like they should be. There were about five clams in the soup that had a briny flavour. The soup broth didn’t taste as strong of seafood as I thought it would. It was mild and light.
Those items conclude the Simply Kingyo dining pass. The dining pass is now on sale for $22 at Vaneats.ca. Most of the items are small, but it is a great deal since the stone grilled kobe beef normally costs $21 on the regular menu. This package could be a complete meal for one person or could be shared between people for a snack.
Since I came with a friend and we were starving, we decided to order a few more additional items (these items are NOT included in the dining pass).
Ebi mayo ($8.80) is a staple dish that I must order at any izakaya. It came with six plump, sweet black tiger prawns. The crispy batter was delicious, especially when coated in a thick creamy spicy chili mayo sauce. This was a great version of the dish and it satisfied my deep-fried food cravings.
The cha shu rice paper roll ($7.20) was filled with roasted pork, lettuce, and cucumbers and it was topped on a bed of greens and a special sweet sauce. This item was okay, but not great. I was hoping that there would have been more pork inside of the roll. The pieces I had were good, but they were small. I also felt like it needed another item inside of the roll instead of so much lettuce. These weren’t bad, but I wouldn’t order them again.
The last dish we ordered was a special that I think was called death udon, that was made with pan-fried udon noodles, beef, nori, cabbage, green onions, and a spicy sauce.
The spicy sauce is what gives this dish its name. At first you don’t notice that it is spicy, but it slowly builds up and it packed lots of heat. I enjoyed the spicy sauce and it made the dish tastier than normal yaki udon. There was tons of thinly sliced beef mixed in with the noodles. This is a filling and yummy dish.
I liked Kingyo and it is a solid choice for a izakaya restaurant downtown. They have all of the basic izakaya items, but they also have different and unique options that I haven’t encountered at other restaurants.
Disclosure: I did not pay for the dining pass.
Yes, for interesting izakaya dishes.