So there’s this person on Urbanspoon that has a strange hobby of disliking Japanese restaurants. I happened to click on their profile last weekend and noticed that Mio was on their recent list of dislikes. I was then thinking, hmmmm… there’s a new sushi place in Airdrie? A quick look on their menu shows really great lunch bento box selections (available every day too!) and very reasonable prices, so after our Costco shopping trip last Sunday my brother and I decided to try this place out. We arrived to a very new, clean and spacious restaurant with a modern look. We were greeted immediately by our server Cynthi (sp?) who is also the owner. I immediately took a huge liking to her as she was very personable, and we chatted like friends rather than owner/customer. I found out that the restaurant opened back in July. Cynthi, herself, also loves Japanese food and apparently we live in the same neighborhood! Talk about small world :)
Here’s what we tried today:
Miso Soup – served with bento box
Standard tasting miso soup that was not too salty. My toddler and I both enjoyed it as my brother doesn’t like miso soup.
Bento Box: Sushi, Spicy Tuna Cone and Chicken Katsu – $12.50
The lunch bento boxes here are available every day from 11-4pm. They are $12.50 with your choice of 3 items from 18 to choose from. This is what my brother chose and as it was set down before us, we were surprised at the huge portions and neat presentation. Everything definitely looked delicious. I can say that my brother enjoyed everything.
Bento Box: Sushi, Sashimi and Tempura – $12.50
This was my bento box. It looked as pretty as my brother’s and everything tasted really good. The tempura (two shrimps, one eggplant and one cucumber) was lightly battered and fried, and it was crispy with very little grease! My toddler saw me munching on the crunchy shrimp and opened his mouth immediately… The nigiri was a good size – about a two biter, and I noticed right away how fresh the fish was. The sashimi was smooth, buttery and at the right temperature – each bite was clean with no stringy fibres (where you’d get if the fish was sliced improperly). The salad was topped with dried cranberries and sunflower seeds, lightly dressed with a sweet vinaigrette.
Black Cod – $6.00
I ordered this for my toddler so he can eat it with my bowl of rice from the bento box. I can’t always feed California Roll to him ;) There’s two small pieces of grilled cod in what I assume their house-made miso marinade. It was very flavorful and the fish was buttery smooth, but I did find the marinade a tad too salty so eating it with rice was perfect!
In addition to our bento boxes we ordered other pieces of sushi to try.
Tempura Ebi Nigiri – $1.50
My brother loves the tempura ebi at Li-Ao, but the frugal side in me have a hard time justify paying $2.50 for a piece when a four piece tempura shrimp order is only $4.95! So I said to my brother, hey look… they have tempura ebi nigiri, and it’s only $1.50 a piece! Immediately he jotted down an order of three pieces. Once again the shrimp was lightly battered and crunchy, drizzled with a sweet sauce and mayo and topped with masago. This was tasty and definitely a great deal!
Nigiri: Special Scallop – $2.75; Toro – $2.90; Amaebi – $2.80
These are my orders. I found the mayo in the special scallop a tad too thick, but the scallop was sweet tasting and had a firm bite to it. The toro was really good – oily, creamy and easily melted in my mouth. The amaebi was sweet and crunchy – I was hoping to see the large spot prawn but for that price I knew I wouldn’t be getting that. Once again all of the nigiri here are very well made and a good size.
Spider Roll (4 pcs) – $6.50
This was also my brother’s order. He did offer me to try a piece but I was getting so stuffed that I kindly turned down his offer. He said it was very tasty and it’s nice to be able to order it half size! The roll itself looked really neat (well-made, not falling apart) with a decent amount of fillings.
Strawberry Mousse - Complimentary
Cynthi brought these out for us (and another table) to enjoy. I can’t tell you if these were made from scratch, but they were a great way to end the meal and we appreciate the gesture.
I really enjoyed the food here today and can’t wait to come back for more! All of the food was delicious, well priced and service was just top notch. My brother was definitely surprised at how good the food was and commended me for my choice. I honestly think the low score on Urbanspoon does not do the restaurant justice, but since they are quite new I’m sure more people will visit! Also, I don’t know how long this is going on for, but if you spend $50 on your bill you have a chance to enter a draw for a $50 gift certificate for the restaurant. I know I’ll be back to try their stone grilled meats and grilled (torched) sushi!
Oh, and lookie:
Mio took the time to read my review and sent me a nice response! It makes a blogger feel good when their reviews get shared/tweeted/favorited/acknowledged :p