Gyoza at Minato Sushi in Halifax
My one dining experience at Minato Sushi in Halifax was not a very good one. I don’t wish to completely dismiss a restaurant as poor on the basis of a single visit as any establishment can have an off day, but the service and food were just not very good. I did have one dish there that was quite decent, and another that was mediocre. Their Gyoza, unfortunately, were nothing short of atrocious.
Gyoza are, of course, the Japanese version of the Chinese pan-fried Jiaozi dumplings, more commonly known in the West as ‘Pot-stickers’. They tend to be a bit smaller than their Chinese cousins, often with thinner wrappers, but the preparation and typical fillings are much the same. I have had Gyoza in Japanese restaurants that were every bit as good as those served at high-end Dim Sum restaurants and it is a pity that the Gyoza at Minato Sushi fell so far below the standard.
Now the dumplings didn’t look that bad when they arrived. They weren’t especially well-folded from an artistic standpoint, but they appeared to have been fried to a nice golden brown and were otherwise inviting. There was a decent dipping sauce on the side, which was a form of Ponzu Sauce, as far as I could tell. It was tangy, and tasty, but turned out to be the only part of the dish that was.
The dumplings were like overcooked, second-rate Pierogi where the typical blandness has been replaced by the flavors of burned toast and overused deep-fry oil. The wrapper itself was properly cooked in the sense that they were crispy from the pan-frying, yet still chewy, but the taste was revolting.
As for the filling, this was sparse and mostly unidentifiable except for some very mushy, texture-less cabbage. These were supposed to be Pork Gyoza according to the menu, but there was no hint of anything like that in these dumplings. Normally, I complain about insufficient filing, but in this case, I’d say it was something of a blessing. These were truly revolting.