Tempura Shrimp at the Sushi Village in Ottawa
The Tempura Shrimp at the Sushi Village in Ottawa’s Byward Market came as a bit of a pleasant surprise. Not only was it very visually appealing, the batter was excellent and the deep-frying was flawlessly done.
The very first, and also the very best Tempura I have ever been served was at the Japanese restaurant inside the Resorts International Casino Hotel in Atlantic City some 35 odd years ago. The hotel is still there but, somewhat understandably, the restaurant is long gone.
The Tempura at this establishment was prepared in the dining room itself and the batter was exquisite. It was stark white and like a thin, very crisp, covering of lace over the various food items. I have always used the Tempura at this establishment as a bench-mark for all subsequent experiences and, unfortunately, very few versions elsewhere have come close to that standard.
I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by the Tempura Shrimp at the Sushi Village. I have generally been unimpressed by dishes served to me there (their awful General Tso’s Chicken leaps to mind) and I was prepared to be disappointed by their Tempura skills. As it happened, though, the Shrimp you see pictured above were very nicely done.
At first sight, I rather thought that the Shrimp were coated in in a very coarsely crumbed Panko. You actually do come across Panko-crusted, deep-fried foods in some restaurants that are called ‘Tempura’, but, strictly speaking, these specialties are properly referred to as ‘furai’, not tempura.
As it happened, though, the ‘Panko’, in this case, actually proved to be a very delicate batter that fried to a curious lacy, snowflake texture. It was expertly fried, very light, and was crispy all the way through without any hint of the unpleasantly soft and undercooked spots you get in so many Tempura offerings.
My only criticism of the Sushi Village Tempura Shrimp was that the deep-fry oil was a little stale and this came through in the taste ever so slightly. Still, after so many disappointing Tempura experiences over the years, this was a relatively minor flaw and, overall, this version came very close to matching that of my excellent experience at the Resorts International back in the day.