Dan Japanese Restaurant
Dan’s is the kind of small, unpretentious neighbourhood place in Kits that is frequented by an army of low-key regulars that are in-the-know and know each other too. I was lucky enough to be taken there by two such experienced patrons who had the wherewithal to place an order for the salmon belly in advance as it runs out early – the oily fish was gently grilled so its flesh was just cooked, still pink at centre. We started with a simple seaweed salad which married this Asian staple with Western greens and a light dressing. Their Chicken Karaage – a deep fried chicken prepared like tempura – comes with a light batter coating lusciously tender meat within, and a mayo sauce for dipping. We also very much enjoyed the sablefish given a similar treatment accompanied by a flavourful ponzu sauce. My favourite dishes were when the bones and skin of the fish we had enjoyed earlier were deep fried and returned to us as crispy morsels that were shockingly delicious bites.
Dan focuses on simple ingredients and preparing them well and since they are so driven by the availability of fish, they have a list of daily specials featuring fresh offerings that are definitely worth checking out. Although we did indulge in more than one deep fried dish, they were expertly prepared with light and airy results. This is the kind of place I could enjoy nightly and not worry about an expanding waistline or feeling that restaurant-heavy post-meal food coma; the delicate dishes come in relatively small portions, perfect for sharing several, tapas-style. And while it’s more expensive than the average bento box joint, everything I ate felt like a luxurious morsel. Although I can’t speak from personal experience, I am assured there are many vegetarian options on offer and the eggplant dish is particularly amazing. I will definitely be going back – as soon as possible. (EL)