When Miku opened in Vancouver in 2008 with a little something called Aburi sushi, the city was likely a bit confused. Rectangular sushi? Flame-seared fish? It probably seemed at odds with the traditional round rolls that locals were used to. But nearly 10 years later, Aburi sushi is something of a phenomenon at Miku and sister restaurant Minami. The special technique (aburi literally means “flame-seared”) results in a piece of sushi so soft, so elegant, so melt-in-your-mouth, it feels almost sinful. With a light charring on the top thanks to the flame, the flavours of the seafood are heightened. It’s so good, in fact, that it has been copied at restaurants around Vancouver and beyond.
So, the team at parent company Aburi Restaurants Canada decided it was time to elevate the Aburi experience even more, and show customers and followers that it has more aces in its deck.
“We wanted to take Aburi sushi to the next level,” says Miku executive chef Kazuhiro Hayashi at an intimate preview tasting. Hayashi works as he talks, expertly and quickly forming the small wedges of shari (seasoned sushi rice) that form the base of Miku’s new dish: Aburi Prime.
Comprised of nine pieces of premium nigiri sushi, each one with a different kind of seafood, Aburi Prime gets the Miku treatment with flame-searing, signature house sauces, and delicate toppings.
Watching Hayashi at work, it is clear this is a painstaking process, but the results are worth it. Once each piece of fish is atop its rice and seared, Hayashi takes small tweezers to add the final touches. There is Akami Maguro (seared Brome Lake foie gras, soy reduction, kiku flower, and pickled wasabi); Kelp Cured Japanese Hirame (ikura caviar, yuzu zest, microgreens, negishio); Atlantic Lobster (herbed jalapeno dashi coulis, shiraga negi); and A5 Japanese Wagyu (uni, micro dianthus)—and that’s just four of nine.
While toppings may vary slightly over time, the results are sure to be the same: mouth-watering, flavourful edible art.
Launching Dec. 6, 2017 as part of Miku’s permanent menu, Aburi Prime is available to order as a standalone dish, or as part of a tasting menu that begins with an amuse bouche of Uni Soy Milk Panna Cotta (ponzu ikura, chilled dashi) and then moves to a Kaiseki Trio featuring a daily sashimi selection, Aburi Beef Carpaccio (sterling silver AAA short rib, jalapeno garlic ponzu), and Kyoto Saikyo Miso Baked Sablefish (yuzu miso reduction, kale goma-ae). Finally, dessert: the restaurant’s classic Green Tea Opera along with Ichigo Mochi Daifuku (and yes, the mochi is made in-house). Those really looking to have the full experience can opt for the drink pairings as well, which run the gamut from a Japanese-inspired Aperol spritz, to sake, to Japanese whisky.
While the now-classic Aburi sushi might forever reign supreme, Aburi Prime proves that Miku is playing the long game. And it’s very likely to become a definitive dish in its own right.
Read more in Food and Drink.