As Vancouverites, we’re pretty spoiled in the sushi department. Like most hotly debated food categories in the city: everyone has their favourite, and no one is afraid to tell you about it. I’ll go first. In the heart of Yaletown sits one of mine. Minami—known for their sustainably caught fish, aburi sushi and unique entrees. The restaurant is celebrating ten years with a brand-new surf and turf menu, and while it's known for the surf, the turf is pretty amazing.

 Minami Carpaccio

The first of the new turf options is the wagyu beef carpaccio. On first glance this beautifully plated dish doesn’t appear too different from a carpaccio you might receive at a high-end Italian restaurant. But looks are where the similarities end. Topped with wasabi crème fraiche, bright-yet-spicy wasabi pickles, fried capers, shallots, arugula and the ideal amount of Grano Padano, this incredibly marbled wagyu melted on the tongue but brought hits of explosive flavour. The amount of toppings was just right—just enough to not overpower the delicate nature of such thinly sliced beef.  Minami EggplantCredit: Cecila Gatchalian

Could you argue that veggie-focused dishes also fit within the realm of turf? I’d like to say yes because that means I can nominate Minami’s chilled miso eggplant as one of the top turf dishes around. The eggplant was marinated in the umami-forward sauce but retained enough texture to avoid the dreaded eggplant-mushiness. The black garlic puree served alongside should be bottled and sold: its depth is unparalleled and brought a slightly sweet, yet still savoury, complexity to the dish.

 Minami CauliflowerCredit: Cecilia Gatchalian

Cauliflower was en vogue for a while and during that time it gained a lifetime follower in me—but with that, my bar was raised pretty darn high, and I am rarely impressed by it anymore. Until now: I was humbled by Minami’s cauliflower. This multicoloured veg retained a crunchy texture and was seasoned just right, but truly the dish was all about the sauces. An almost fluffy, sweet, tofu-based yuzu crème sat like clouds around the edge of the plate while a dark, aged miso hid beneath. Mixed, they transformed into a balance of salinity, umami, citrus and sweetness.

 Minami Sashimi

The surf portion began with a bang. When the sashimi bowl was placed in front of me, it felt like an out of body experience. On a bed of ice cubes with beautifully arranged accoutrements, the sashimi almost felt too gorgeous to eat. Almost. I started with the delicate Hokkaido scallop from Japan and things just got better from there: king salmon, otoro, and BC spot prawn (crispy head included) brought a variation in textures and flavours.  

We quickly detoured from surf back to land with the flame grilled wagyu nigiri. Seasoned solely with sea salt, I wanted this luxurious one-biter to last forever. My sadness that it was gone was quickly remedied, however, by three stunning rolls that were quickly placed in front of me.

 Minami Rolls

The spicy poke roll was one the favourite of the night. It's filled with cucumber and spicy hamachi and salmon. A thin layer of inari on top added sweetness to this otherwise savoury roll. The new Yaletown roll was a combination I’ve never had before: Ocean Wise tako (octopus) with basil and cucumber inside and topped with hamachi, heirloom tomato and tobiko—it merged classic flavours of Italy and Japan in a completely innovative way. The mosaic fukomaki was one of the prettiest: with shiitake, cucumber, tomago, chutoro and topped with jewel-like ikura.

 Minami MosaicCredit: Cecilia Gatchalian

Minami Wagyu

Seared Iwate A5 wagyu tenderloin brought us back to land for the last time. The steak was buttery but had a hard sear and was boldly flavoured with green peppercorn, those spicy wasabi pickles, mushrooms and white asparagus. Although everything on the plate was great, my focus was laser-pointed on the steak, which makes sense as it is Japan’s most award-winning wagyu.

Minami Lobster

We went back to sea for the final two dishes—and they went head-to-head with the wagyu for most luxe. First up: flame seared lobster tail with truffle Miku sauce (Miku being Minami’s sister restaurant). The name really says it all: if you’re a fan of truffle (I am) and a fan of lobster (I am also this)—then this might just be your new favourite food. The sauce is fearlessly truffle-forward with a richness that is balanced by the delicate lobster. An array of impossibly fresh nigiri closed off the savoury portion of the evening with sea urchin, otoro, tai (sea bream), spot prawn and chutoro.

 Minami Cheesecake

If you know me well, then you’d know that my favourite desserts are citrus, and my favourite citrus is yuzu. So, Minami’s cheesecake made of yuzu almond sponge, blood orange cream, grapefruit jelly, yuzu cookies, coconut tapioca, yuzu honey sauce and candied grapefruit was right up my alley. Creamy and not too sweet but texturally intriguing, this is a dessert I will come back for—especially when it follows a meal that was so wonderfully executed.

Minami
Address: 1118 Mainland St.
Website: minamirestaurant.com