Kobe Japanese Bistro is a small, nondescript restaurant nestled on the outside of a Callingwood strip mall. GY introduced me to this place early in the year and I have been back numerous times. It's sad when you can actually track the number through Instagram posts, but through the photo evidence, it's quite clear that I mostly come for two specific items on the menu.
If you trust my judgement (which you should), order these two items and consider yourself a new regular.
The restaurant is pretty casual and laidback, though it can get busy during dinner on the weekends. It's never too long of a wait for a table though, and service is always quick and friendly.
My family and I came to Kobe for my dad's early birthday dinner. We ordered my must-haves, as well as some new items to share.
A bowl of miso soup comes if you order any of the dinner combinations. Pretty standard bowl filled with green onions, seaweed, and tofu.
I normally don't like beef tataki, but Kobe's version is pretty good. Served on a bed (more like mountain) of shredded cabbage dressed in Ponzu, the rare slices of beef are both tangy and buttery.
My family loves raw oysters (I don't, because slimy should never be an adjective when referring to food) but they didn't have any available that night. The waiter instead recommended the kaki fry, basically 4 deep fried oysters coated in panko, and served with a ponzu salsa.
To close off our round of appetizers, one of the items that I always get no matter what: the grilled squid with gesos. Squid is a highly underrated seafood, and it is weirdly one of my favourites if it is prepared right. Forget lobster and crab, it's all about the squid.
Here, the squid body is grilled to smoky perfection. Gesos, which I believe translates to the squid's tentacles, are deep fried in a tempura batter. The dish is served with a ginger dipping sauce and a bowl of cabbage dressed in ponzu. Both squid variations are incredibly tender and incredibly tasty. A must-order.
The next items on our list were two of their dinner combinations (or their version of a bento box but displayed much more pretty). We ordered both their chicken teriyaki (above) and their beef teriyaki (first photo). Served with a medley of tempura and a variety of sashimi cuts, the dinners are pretty good value and acted as our fillers for the dinner.
Out of the two, I much prefer the chicken teriyaki, as I found the beef slightly overcooked and a tad chewy. The sashimi is also pretty fresh and sliced not too thin. The tempura was okay, not bad but not too memorable either.
Moving onto sushi rolls...
I believe this was called the deep fried spicy salmon roll. My sister wanted to get this because it had the essence of a Dragon Eye roll, basically a deep fried roll with salmon and served with a spicy mayo. There were also shreds of fried potato sprinkled over top, although I didn't think they were necessary. It certainly didn't add much when the sushi is already fried and crunchy.
Kobe does serve a larger Dragon Eye roll, but my sister was disappointed by the skimpy portion of spicy mayo they used the last time we ordered it. I guess it varies depending on the person making it. My sister lives for spicy mayo apparently.
And finally, saving the best for last:
So picturesque. The Sweet Passion roll, which consists of eel and shrimp tempura, topped with salmon belly and then torched and drizzled with a creamy sauce. I don't know what it is about torching sushi (there's a term for it: aburi), but the smokiness brings the entire roll together. So harmonious. So amazing. GET. GET. GET.
To recap, grilled squid with gesos and the sweet passion roll. That's all you need to order here.