February 24, 2012

Travel Zoo Deal @ Etsu

I bought a travel zoo voucher for Etsu awhile back, and it was a great deal! I hardly ever eat Japanese food downtown, but Etsu has a pretty good reputation in the Baldwin Village. I've previously been here for lunch once, and I was looking foward to trying out dinner. The restaurant was surprisingly empty for a Saturday night, so we were able to enjoy a quiet dinner. 
Our package included a cup of tea. Oddly enough, they don't have the typical green tea, and instead have offerings like Earl Grey, honey ginger tea, and peppermint. I went with Earl Grey, but it was an odd match with the food.
We both started with miso soup and Jeremy's order included a wakame (seaweed) salad. The salad was very nice and refreshing.
I got the Seoul combo, which started with a kimchi trio instead of the salad. I love kimchi and I really liked that there was a variety. When I was young, I would eat kimchi that was so spicy that my eyes would tear up. Nowadays, I find that restaurants rarely serve anything overly spicy (or perhaps my tolerance for spicy food increased?) Anyhow, I wished the kimchi had more heat.
 Our shared appetizer was a sushi pizza- deep fried rice crisp with fresh toppings: salmon, onions, green pepper, and fish roes ($8.95). I loved the thick slices of avocado that topped the pizza. It was a little hard to eat all the components together because the toppings fell off very easily, but everything was delicious.
This was the rest of my Seoul kalbi combo ($20.95), featuring 6 pieces of kalbi, 6 pieces of sushi, and 6 pieces of tempura. I loved my platter of food, but my only complaint was that the sushi became a little warm because it was sitting too close to all the hot food.
The kalbi was juicy and tender. I had no complaints at all.
But the best part was definitely the tempura, because Etsu uses unconventional ingredients. I couldn't identify half of the battered vegetables that I was eating, but everything was fresh and delicious. My favourite was the banana tempura, which I've had before as a dessert (paired with ice cream). But eating it here with the savoury tempura dipping sauce worked remarkably well.
Jeremy opted for the Narita sushi and sashimi combo ($20.95) which came with 10 pieces of sashimi, six pieces of sushi, and six pieces of tempura. Everything was fresh and tasty.
Both combos came with a bowl of rice, but there was so much food that I couldn't eat much of it at all!
We ended the meal with a small scoop of espresso ice cream. I was happy with the small portion as I was absolutely stuffed at this point. It was the perfect sweet ending to our feast!
I have no regrets in buying the voucher. $29 was a fantastic deal for all that delicious food! I wouldn't drive all the way downtown just to eat at Etsu, but it's a great option if you're around the Baldwin Village area.
Etsu Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon


  1. I've never been or heard of Etsu before, but that does seem like a good deal! Very empty for a Sat night indeed.. I'll keep this place in mind though :)

    1. I took the picture at the end of the meal, so by then there was only one other table left at the restaurant. When I started my dinner (at 7pm) there were a couple of other tables, but still relatively quiet.



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