2016-02-16 08.33.45 1

Grilled meats, ramen and late night

Shokunin is doubt, one of the most highly-anticipated restaurants coming to the Calgary food scene for 2016. It recently opened in January and specializes in yakitori (skewered meats grilled over Japanese charcoal) and Japanese small plates. You can find their daily ramen/udon and a few small plates for lunch and their full extensive menu with grilled meats in the evening.

Ambiance & Service

I came here this week for a foodie date with Jenny, Cathy and Kim. First impression of the restaurant is very nice. Edgy, modern and clean definitely came to mind. The restaurant just opened for lunch when we first arrived so it was pretty quiet. Our server was very kind and helpful – 2 thumbs up there.

Main seating area
Shapes & Sizes
Bar area facing the outdoor windows
Food & Drinks

The drink menu was quite extensive! It was roughly around 5 pages worth and the food menu was definitely more concise which I love. It makes choosing far more easier! I opted for the iced matcha green tea. It was light in flavour but refreshing at the same time.

Large drink menu and small lunch menu
Iced matcha green tea – $4.50

After patiently waiting, our small plates came to our table. The octopus fritters were presented well with a load of bonito flakes sprinkled on top. The kewpie mayo and sweet soy did contribute a lot to the taste which I enjoyed. It came with only 3 pieces which is quite hefty for a $16 price tag.

The spicy maki tempura came with 6 pieces and was loaded with tobiko. Now, a maki roll at $16 is very expensive in my opinion. Especially considering there was no fish in the roll and only quail eggs, I was unfortunately unhappy with the taste. It had a nice spicy kick to it but the value just isn’t there.

Kim ordered the sprouted lentil salad as her main but she was kind enough to share some of it so we could taste it. The dressing was good as it had a nice nutty, miso flavour and the sprouted lentils were fresh. At $9, it’s priced quite reasonable.

OCTOPUS FRITTERS – sweet soy, kewpie mayo, bonito flakes, scallions & kabayaki – $16
SPICY MAKI TEMPURA - tobiko, pickled ginger, wasabi & quail eggs
SPICY MAKI TEMPURA – tobiko, pickled ginger, wasabi & quail eggs – $16
SPROUTED LENTIL SALAD – cucumber, goma-ae, sansho oil, mizuna – $9
DAILY RAMEN – pork, scallions, sesame, soy egg & nori – $14

Jenny and I ordered the daily ramen. The menu is quite confusing since it only states ‘pork, scallions and sesame’ but in reality it came with nori and a soy egg as well. Unfortunately, the ramen was the biggest disappointment in our meal. The broth was a bit too salty and the noodles was overcooked. Don’t get me wrong, I love soft noodles but you could tell that it wasn’t cooked properly. The soy egg also was over-seasoned. The yolk was nice and goey but the combination of salty broth and salty egg became too overwhelming.

Overall Thoughts

I so badly want Shokunin to succeed and crossing my fingers for them. I’m always doing my best to support the YYC food scene, especially the upcoming and thriving Mission neighbourhood, but this restaurant definitely needs to fix a few things up. I’ll probably give it a second try in a couple months time once the restaurant is a bit more experienced. I am hopeful for them!

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