439 Preston, Ottawa – Website
Date of Visit: June, 2016
Kiko Sushi Bar is a nice little place in the Little Italy section of Ottawa but, as the name may suggest, serves no Italian cuisine at all. I was actually thinking of eating at a particular Italian spot for lunch one morning but, when I saw this place, I developed a sudden craving for Japanese…
The interior of Kiko is more spacious than it looks from the outside. It is well laid out with a smart modern Asian feel, featuring a fair bit of bamboo and some traditional Artwork. I arrived just before the noon hour on a Wednesday and it was about a third full already. There was one fairly large and raucous party at one table and he overall noise level of chatter was quite high. Actually, this rather drowned out some background jazz music which I didn’t mind at all.
The service was generally excellent throughout my meal as the servers were not only very attentive but very polite and friendly as well. I wasn’t seated for a minute before I was served a nice cup of complimentary green tea that was very good indeed. The only thing that marred a perfect record was he fact that my waitress forgot to place my very last order with the kitchen and I endd up waiting a long time for it. I think this happened because, just after I made the order, she had to attend to a large crowd of diners who left all at once and kept her busy at the till. She was very apologetic when she remembered me, however, and I didn’t take the error too much amiss.
Toro and Saba Sashimi – Toro is belly tuna (which is fattier, and thus paler than the dark reddish tuna meat most commonly served as sashimi) while Saba is mackerel that is generally pickled briefly with a little salt and vinegar. As is usual with sashimi, these selections were served with shredded daikon, wasabi and pickled ginger slices. The Saba was also topped with a little freshly grated ginger that I didn’t care for and scraped off. The Toro was very nice, with a buttery texture and a delicate umami meatiness that gave way to a sweet marine finish. Wasabi would have been overkill in my opinion and I just used a little soy on each slice. The Saba, though usually one of my favorites was, unfortunately, not as good. The pickling was very mild, which was fine by me, but it was a little less than at peak freshness and was even a little harsh towards the end. Still, I liked this selection well enough to give it a 4 out of 5.
Tako Sashimi – I can rarely resist Octopus and I was especially glad I didn’t pass it by on this occasion as it turned out to be the best Tako sashimi I have ever had. It was cut nicely thick and the flavor was exactly like good lobster tail meat. It was a little bit more fibrous but that was actually a plus for me as I enjoy the chewy texture. I gave this a well deserved 5 out of 5.
Soft-shelled Crab – This was a Deep fried selection from the appetizer list. It came with slice of eggplant tempura that was really well done and a nice little bonus. My only complaint about was that was warm rather than piping hot, which would have been better, but the flavor was lovely. It was nicely cripsy and he texture of the lower part of the legs was especially good. I rated this at a 4 out of 5.
Barbecued Squid – There were several BBQ items on the menu, including short ribs and yellowtail (both of which I would like to have tried) and I rather regretted choosing the squid as it was the one disappointing dish I had at Kiko. Possibly, this was partly due the inordinate delay in getting the order which rather caused my appetite to diminish a little, but, in fact the squid was a bit dry and over-grilled. The tentacles were quite nice but the rest was only mediocre and not helped by the soy, ginger, sesame oil sauce that came on the side. I could only rate this at a 2 out of 5.
Despite the disappointing squid dish, everything else about Kiko was great. The service was excellent, the ambience pleasant, and the food generally very good. I rate it at an unstinting 4 out of 5.