Photos: Dine Out Vancouver experience at Torafuku

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      The much talked about annual culinary festival kicked off last Friday (January 15), and as a food lover and a writer who likes to keep up with the city’s food scene, I went on my first dine out of the year.

      On Monday night, I ventured to Torafuku (958 Main Street) with my two of my fellow Georgia Straight comrades. We were excited to try out this Pan-Asian eatery—especially after reading good reviews about it.

      The brick-and-mortar restaurant just opened last year, so it is their first time taking part in the Dine Out Festival. Their menu ($30) offers three appetizer choices, three entrée choices, and two desserts choices.

      Take a look at the images below to get a taste of our dining experience.

      Tammy Kwan

      Appetizers are served as shared plates, so we picked two items from the menu to share between three people. Top dish titled Bird’s Nest: comprised of a scotch egg, vermicelli nest, Japanese mustard pickles, and remoulade.

      Bottom dish titled One Fish, Two Fish: a sashimi salad mixed with salmon, tuna, geoduck, salad greens, wakame, and sesame dressing. In my opinion, the sashimi could do with just a bit more seasoning or sauce.

      Tammy Kwan

      For the entrée, each of us picked a different creation so we could all try something different. First dish titled Call of Duty (CoD): crispy ling cod, clams, root veggies, sake kumbu broth, and handmade gnocchi.

      Tammy Kwan

      Second dish titled Kare Kare: an artistically crafted plate of seared beef blade steak, three grain risotto, pickled veggies, oxtail, and peanut ragu. The latter really complemented the beef blade steak.

      Tammy Kwan

      Third and final dish titled Magic Mushrooms: a combination of shiitake, enoki, and trumpet mushroom cannelloni with toasted cashews, sour apple slaw, and porcini béchamel.

      All of us agreed that we weren’t filled up by the main dishes, and still had a lingering appetite for more food. That being said, dessert had yet to arrive.

      Tammy Kwan

      When the last part of our meal came (my favourite part of any meal), we quickly picked up our spoons and dug in. All three of us chose the same dessert, titled J-E-L-L-O: oolong infused yuzu jello, condense milk ice cream, topped with crispy salted caramel and a few fresh berries.

      This was delicious. I probably finished it within 3 minutes. Their other dessert option is named Mousse on the Loose: a dark chocolate mousse mille feuille with white chocolate crumble and kumquat compote.

      All in all, my experience at Torafuku was enjoyable but I remain reserved about their special Dine Out menu being able to fully represent what the restaurant can offer. I’ll have to make a second trip to try out their other items, such as the Kickass Rice 2.0: Aburi style torched pork belly sushi.

      If you’re keen on trying out this eatery, be sure to make a reservation in advance as word of mouth says that this year’s Dine Out Festival is the busiest one to date. Restaurants participating for the first time are getting high waves of bookings—unusual for this time of the year.

      Torafuku’s three-course Dine Out menu is available until January 31.