Gyuniku Maki at Sushi Village in Ottawa
I have previously posted a review of the Gyuniku Maki at Ken’s Japanese Restaurant in Ottawa, which I thought were not especially pretty, but otherwise rather good. When Ken’s closed its doors for the last time, Sushi Village replaced it in the very same location and I had a chance to sample their version of the dish not long after it opened. It was presented a bit better than Ken’s, but was ultimately not as good.
These particular Gyuniku Maki appeared on the menu as ‘Enoki Beef Rolls’, which is, essentially, pretty much exactly what they are. The Japanese name basically means ‘Beef Roll’, and while you can have the beef rolled around scallion, or asparagus, Enoki mushrooms are a very common filling component.
Sushi Village at least attempted a decent presentation of their Beef Rolls, but, all in all, it was actually a pretty sloppy job for a Japanese Restaurant. Still, as I said about Ken’s, neither establishment is a Kaiseki level place and a certain lack of frills is to be expected along with the Formica tabletops and All-You-Can-Eat menu.
Unfortunately, the quality of the rolls themselves was lacking. Firstly, the restaurant rather skimped on the Enoki, which is somewhat common, but the cooking was also substandard. It is tricky to get thin slices of beef to the right degree of ‘done-ness’ and these ones were pan-fried (as opposed to being grilled) and they were cooked at too low a temperature and for a bit too long so that there was no decent caramelization and the meat ended up being dry and not especially tasty.
Similarly, the sauce used to ‘glaze’ them was just a generically bland ‘Teriyaki’ style sauce that was sweet but with no tanginess to act as a counterpoint, and no umami-depth. A decent sauce might have compensated for the bland beef, but this added nothing. As such, this particular rendering of Gyuniku Maki was a bit of a fail.