Location: 1013 Wellington St. West, Ottawa, ON
Cuisine: Japanese/ Sushi/ Fusion
This has definitely been my greatest find in Ottawa. That’s why I feel like this restaurant is terribly under-rated and doesn’t receive enough attention. Apparently, this restaurant has been around since 1985 (Wow! That’s a long time!). Yet every time I’ve visited this Fusion Japanese Bistro, the dining area has been close to empty. Although Chef Hino presents quite a tough exterior, I’m sure he’s not the reason for this lack of traffic. He seems to warm up quite quickly to those that just want to chat and even allows you to watch him brilliantly cook your meal. I’ve heard that the Chef has a few helpers, but usually I see the same waitress; she’s extremely friendly and remembered me on my second visit!
I actually thought this dish would be more visually appealing because by the looks of it, it’s like any other salmon roll I’ve eaten. But if you’re expecting that generic All-You-Can-Eat-Taste, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. I’m not sure if it’s the sesame or how the salmon was prepared, but there’s a fresh and distinct flavor that makes this simple roll not as simple as you’d think.
My friend actually had to persuade me to order this dish because I didn’t really feel like eating anything deep fried. However, I’m lucky I was convinced because this Chicken Kara age was excellent! The outside was crispy, but didn’t give you that greasy after feeling. While the inner meat was delightfully smooth and juicy.
You really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, so my plan is to just make my way down the list. What comes with most dishes is the Hino Salad, which I love! You might think it just looks like a mix of colorful veggies glazed in some sort of vinaigrette, but this is one heck of a side-salad! Although, the salad is only the sidekick on the plate. The Chicken Breast Hino Style is cooked perfectly with a slightly crisp skin and tender white meat. While the Hino Sauce is something special; I could probably eat a tub of rice with the sauce alone!
I was pretty interested in trying the Miso Chicken because I was wondering if it would taste like Miso Soup (LOL…face palm.. No:P). Well it’s really not like a Miso Soup; it’s bursting with a sweet sesame aroma. The chicken is grilled with a golden crust and glazed just right with the Miso sauce. I’m not sure if everyone loves sesame as much as I do, but the Miso with a light kick of sake really pleased the tastes buds.
Based on the picture this might look like the Chicken Breast Hino Style, but do not be deceived because this is one packed dish! The brochette consisted of chicken, beef and shrimp! Well it was no surprise that the sauce just lingered on my tongue; it was just awesome! The shock for me was the beef, I personally don’t eat too much beef (except for the occasional Steak or Burger craving) but this was absolutely mouth-watering. I’d say, I practically licked the plate clean (well… I didn’t, but I would!).
The most interesting thing to me, actually, is that my friend was able to order off the menu. Despite the fusion flavors Chef Hino cooks up, he can definitely make a very authentic Kushi Katsu. I’ve been to Japan, but I probably wouldn’t know the difference. All I knew was this deep-fried skewer made me a fan of pork! But according to my friend, this was just like Japan.
For a quiet night-out and some great food, I’d definitely come to Hino. It doesn’t just offer an excellent Japanese flavor, but with that Fusion twist you can get your supply of pastas, steaks, and seafood. I’m not crazy about revisiting places since I always want to try something new, but I think I’ll have to make an exception for Hino! I’m on my way to becoming a regular 😉