One of my favourite Japanese restaurants (or restaurants period) in the city is Kobe. They've been open since 1995 in the Callingwood neighbourhood, and since December 2015, they've opened a second location in the southside called Kobe Sushi Ramen.
Besides serving ramen during lunch time, Kobe and Kobe Sushi Ramen basically have the same menu. With ramen in their name, I thought ramen would play a bigger role in their concept but I guess not.
Miso soup was the first item to hit the table, and it came complimentary with the dinner set we ordered. A warming bowl filled with green onion, seaweed, and tofu.
Next up, we got a half order of salmon sashimi (6 pieces for $13.50). Presented on a mini toboggan, the slices of salmon were firm, fresh, and naturally sweet.
At the west end Kobe, the grilled squid with geso is a must. Since we already ordered quite a lot of food, we decided to just get the geso ($7.50) which are deep fried seasoned squid legs served with a side of spicy mayo. These were okay, but they didn't quite live up to our expectations. The squid legs were quite skinny and didn't have that same meaty quality that you would get at the original Kobe.
Another Kobe favourite of ours is the sweet passion roll ($15.00), with tempura shrimp and grilled eel on the inside, and seared salmon belly on top. Garnishes include a drizzle of sweet passion sauce, chopped green onion, and a sprinkling of shichimi togarashi (7-spice blend).
Seared sushi (or aburi) is becoming quite popular in Edmonton nowadays, but it's been a staple in Vancouver for many many years. A quick kiss with the blowtorch adds a smoky quality to the roll and elevates the flavour that much more. There was a bit too much rice on this particular one, but it's my favourite item to get at Kobe. So much so that a waitress at the west end location recognized me during one of our visits and knew I wanted the sweet passion roll before I even ordered it. Either she has a scary good memory or I've been there too many times.
Our last dish of the evening was the tonkatsu dinner ($21.50): breaded deep fried pork cutlet with tonkatsu sauce. All dinner combinations are served with a bowl of rice, the aforementioned miso soup, and salad.
The tonkatsu pieces were meaty, but a tiny bit dry. The shredded cabbage, which was light and tangy, was a big help in cutting the grease. It's a decent offering but for the price, you're better off getting their dinner special which comes with more food and a greater variety of dishes.
Since I'm already a big fan of Kobe in the west end, there wasn't any real surprises at Kobe Sushi Ramen. Some of our favourite dishes weren't maybe as good as the original, but I'm not that mad about it considering how farther of a drive Kobe Sushi Ramen would be.