Ebisu on Robson
827 Bute (upstairs), Vancouver BC
Ebisu is a delicious disaster. I like Ebisu – the food and presentation are both fantastic and the service is fast and efficient. So what’s the problem? How come I’m not raving about Ebisu telling everyone to go there? Because Ebisu gives me a headache! It tries too hard to be the hippest place on Robson – and I’m just not feeling it. When you walk in it feels as though you’re in a nightclub just as much as a restaurant. Everyone is there just to be seen. And I keep expecting some loser with overly gelled hair to try buying me a drink.
I can’t properly explain Ebisu – it feels cluttered – like the menu is a flyer for discount wares and the decor inspiration is pulled form 17 different ideas. A good example of how Ebisu is over the top is the menu – there are Japanese, Korean, American, and Mexican dishes. Yes, Mexican – why not get a side of nachos with your tuna sashimi? Seems weird – too weird. But it is sort of a good thing, since this way there is really something for eveyone – the whinny person in the group who refuses to try raw fish can order the yam fries and New York steak.
I suppose you’d refer to Ebisu as a Japanese restaurant – but I’d use the Japanese term very loosely since it’s such a mash up of so many different things – it’s too different and bizarre to call it izakaya, so let’s go with the generic term “small plates”. The portions at Ebisu are mainly small plates for sharing – so the dishes seem cheap – but the price adds up quickly; and watch out for the weird price points – it might make it difficult to calculate totals in your head. We filled up nicely on several dishes that were all under $10 – but it totalled more than $25 each by the end.
The presentation at Ebisu is nice, super nice. we got the bacon wrapped asparagus ($4.95) and it came to the table with a small fire pit so we could crisp it up even more – but then little sticks sorta caught on fire and I thought ‘jeez – that’s a little excessive just for presentation’. The presentation style was similar to this oyster – which will have to do because I didn’t take a photo of the asparagus:
We also had the cheese yakitori ($5.64), which was really good and uber cheesy with green onions interspersed throughout. The chicken was tender and served on the metal skewer. The beef short ribs were succulent and in ample supply for $6.98. One of the table’s favorites was the cajun tuna tacos ($6.98) – the tacos were crispy and the fish was perfectly done and doused in a creamy sauce – where the cajun aspect fit in I’m not too sure – but they were still delicious.
We tried a couple types of sushi rolls – they were all pretty good and decently sized – we went for a unagi tempura roll and a yummy fresh veggie roll for a mere $4.80 – it tasted like a crisp salad of lettuce, yam, avocado, red pepper, and carrot wrapped in rice. I also tried the delightfully creamy sashimi salad which is served on greens and extra sauced for $9.57
So yes, Ebisu is delicious and I recommend it – if you don’t mind the really annoying excessive hipness and the waitresses wearing hypnotiq shirts. Bleech.
No, I didn’t take these pictures – they are too good. I ripped them off Ebisu’s website.
There is now also an Ebisu at 601 W. Broadway @ Ash tel. 604-876-3388