• MAIN STREET EATS

    Main Street Eats: Simply Delicious

    Overall Rating 6/10

    4316 Main St, Vancouver, BC 
    (604) 875-9866

    7 Days A Week 4pm – 1 am

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    After our amazing night at Ogenki Sushi we saw that we had another Japanese restaurant coming up, Simply Delicious, and were curious how they would compare. Though not the most Japanese name for a sushi restaurant, it was clear by their menu that they were. They describe themselves as a lounge type restaurant serving up casual Japanese fare. By the vibe we got from the place this seems very accurate.

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    Simply Delicious was laid out unlike any restaurant we’ve ever seen on this journey thus far. After climbing the steep staircase to get to the restaurant, you see that the tables are lined up parallel to each other across the whole restaurant. It was like a big picnic with these tables all touching each other and running parallel to one another. It was very unique and seemed to work for them although we’re not sure how private it would feel having your meal here. If they seat groups beside each other we felt like it would feel intrusive being so close to the next party and take away from any private moments you wanted to have with your group. If they’re going for the casual lounge experience where people are often standing and mingling then this doesn’t seem like it would be a problem, however, if your group wants any sort of privacy this seems like it would be a big turn off. One last thing about the layout of the interior, the patio seemed like it was the best part of this place; it looks right out onto Main Street and it was covered which is nice for all the rain we get. They also had a cool little bar height table outside their front door that gave it a cool casual feel before you even entered which we though was a nice touch.

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    We ordered take out from them and the service was excellent. We were told it would be ready within 15-20 minutes and when we arrived 15 minutes later our order was ready. The lady who gave us the food was friendly and happy to allow us to take some photos before we left. There wasn’t anything she could have done differently to make us feel better about the short moment we encountered with their service.

    Simply Delicious does not have an updated website, there is one from years ago but it is very old and has no menu on it, so the best we could find was this menu from a Yelp review.

    The food was good. Not great, not terrible, just good. If we had to compare it to Ogenki, it’s not even close but it definitely wasn’t the worst Japanese food we’ve ever had. We ordered the following:

    • Spicy Tuna Roll
    • Assorted Tempura
    • Gyoza
    • Chicken Teriyaki
    • Crispy Crunch Roll

     

    As we mentioned last week we prefer the tuna in our Spicy Tuna Roll to be marinated in the spicy sauce rather than just have the sauce poured on top as this was. The amount of sauce on this roll was almost too much and that’s coming from people who love sauce. Note, we said almost. The other thing we didn’t like about the Spicy Tuna Roll was that it was made maki style. We prefer our rolls to be uramaki style, in fact this was the first time we have ever had a Spicy Tuna Roll maki style. As you can see from the picture, this roll is just rice, seaweed, tuna, and sauce. In our experience, there is usually something else in the roll, most of the times something green like avocado or cucumber. This roll didn’t have that and it left it feeling cheap. It tasted fine but was nothing memorable.

     

    The tempura was solid. The crunch of the outside was, well, crunchy, as it should be. There were, however, two issues with the tempura: first, one of the vegetable selections was avocado. This was the first time we’ve ever seen avocado in a tempura and while we both love avocado it was basically just a mush when we tried to eat it which was unfortunate. It seemed like an odd choice to us because this seems like it would be expected if you deep fry avocado. Second, there were big pieces of tempura that were fish. The fact that they were fish was not the problem, the problem was that the fish portion sizes were massive. Most of us can usually eat a piece of tempura in about 3 bites, right? Well, this fish tempura as as if it had been taken off an entree order and battered with tempura. It was way too big which threw off the batter/fish ratio and  it was full of bones. The other vegetables pieces of tempura were excellent but the fish and avocado not so much.

     

    The gyozas were the second best tasting thing we had all night but they too had an issue. The filling, which is why we order gyozas, was severely lacking; what filling there was tasted excellent but the outside/inside ratio was way off in favour of the outside. But again, the taste was excellent which made the lack of filling that much more disappointing.

     

    The chicken teriyaki was the most disappointing thing we ordered. The chicken itself was seasoned and cooked well but the teriyaki sauce was non existent. Usually with a dish like this there is a decent amount of sauce that you can actually see. Well, in the photo above you can’t see anything really. It looks like a very mild glaze if anything. With a dish like this we usually have sauce running off onto the rice below. Look at that rice, it’s bare. This was extremely disappointing as chicken teriyaki is such an easy thing to do well. The salad that came with it was delightful though.

     

    The bright spot of the meal was the Crispy Crunch Roll. It had the perfect amount of crunch and spice on the outside to compliment the filling on the inside. Every bite was delicious and this is the best thing we ate all meal.

     

    In terms of value, this place was a little low on value in our opinion. The total bill for the 5 dishes came to about $40. If we say each dish is about $8 on average then, I think we can see it’s a little bit overpriced. We ordered two spicy tuna rolls and each one only came with 6 pieces, for $4 per roll on average, that’s high especially since there was nothing else in the roll. $8 for a specialty roll like the Crispy Crunch Roll is fine as that was our favourite dish, but $8 for 5 gyozas seems high to us especially since the filling was lacking. $8 for assorted tempura which only gave us 5 pieces total? Yeah that seems high too. And then $8 for an order of chicken teriyaki seems fine but again the sauce was an issue. If everything tasted as we expected it should have then we may have had less of an issue with it, but we would not be happy to pay that price for these dishes again.

    Simply Delicious is probably a place we wouldn’t sit down with the kids as it does have a very lounge like feeling where kids usually aren’t the most welcomed. In the end, we were happy this was a take out restaurant for that reason. There were also no high chairs in sight and, though we didn’t expect one, no kid’s menu.

    Though the service was extremely friendly and welcoming, the food did not live up to any expectation. We would be more than happy to walk a few steps down the street and get our Japanese food at Ogenki. If we had to return we would definitely order the Crispy Crunch Roll again but wouldn’t be very excited for anything else.

    Have you been to Simply Delicious? What was your experience with the restaurant and food?

    Food 5/10 – everything had an issue with it except the Crispy Crunch Roll

    Service 9/10 – the short encounter we had with the server was pleasant and without issue

    Kid friendliness 2/10 – no high chairs or kid’s menu and in a lounge-like setting we would avoid bringing the kids here to sit down

    Decor 8/10 – a cool vibe and all the wood tabletops were very neat

    Value 6/10 – overpriced for the quality of food

    Never stop adventuring!

     

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  • MAIN STREET EATS

    Main Street Eats: Ogenki Sushi

    Overall Rating 9/10

    4342 Main St, Vancouver, BC 
    604-875-9975
    Monday 11:00am – 9:30pm
    Tuesday 11:00am – 9:30pm
    Wednesday 11:00am – 9:30pm
    Thursday 11:00am – 9:30pm  
    Friday 11:00am – 10:00pm
    Saturday 11:30am – 10:00pm           
    Sunday 11:30am – 9:30pm
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    Sushi is the one thing our family can eat any day of the week and any time of the day. Lucky for us, we live in one of the best cities for quality sushi in the world. Ogenki Sushi lived up to the Vancouver sushi hype.
    Originally we were supposed to go to Shameful Tiki Room, but they were reserved well in advance and are not kid friendly so we will go another time when we can go without kids and make a reservation. The place looks very cool inside so we’re excited to go.
    Back to the sushi. Ogenki Sushi looks small from the street but it is two storefronts together to make it bigger. There are a total of maybe 10 tables in the whole restaurant but the kitchen was going the whole time we were there presumably for take out and delivery. They offer their own delivery for $3 (within 3km and $25 min purchase) and also use SkiptheDishes, Foodora and JustEat.
    We were sat in the corner with half bench half chair seating. Ogenki has a large menu like most sushi restaurants around town. They also have special lunch and dinner menus. (Scroll to the end of the menu in the link to see them.) These menus offer a great variety for an affordable price and is what we ordered when we went.
    We were quickly served tea and soon made our order. We ordered:
    Dinner Special – Spicy Tuna Roll, Chicken Teriyaki on Rice, Gyoza
    Assorted Tempura
    Custom Poke Bowl – Spicy Tuna, Edamame, Wasabi Peas, Cilantro, Pineapple, Avocado (+$1), Tomato, Cucumber, Corn, White Rice
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    Ogenki recently added a Poke menu that you can customize or order from their set poke selections. We made a custom one and ordered a large (three scoops of protein) for $14.95 ($13.95 plus $1 avocado).
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    The above photo is what our table looked like after getting our dinner order and before our poke bowl. All of this was very quick to come to our table as things usually are at sushi restaurants we find. There was nothing on this table that we would complain about. Even the salad, which we usually skip, was tasty. The gyozas were nice and crispy on the outside with well cooked pork filling on the inside and a nice sauce to add that little bit more. The tempura was crunchy on the outside with soft veggies on the inside as it should be. The chicken teriyaki on rice was just as we expected it to be, chicken with teriyaki sauce on white rice, pretty hard to screw that one up and they didn’t. The miso soup started our meal off nicely. The spicy tuna roll, a particular favourite of our family was excellent. Typically we prefer when the tuna itself it tossed in the spicy sauce, this tuna wasn’t but for whatever reason it didn’t bother us like it usually does. The tuna tasted fresh and the sauce had the right amount of kick to it to fire up your taste buds.
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    Once the poke bowl came we were pretty full and this bowl was huge! Determined to finish everything we went to work on it. It wasn’t hard to finish this beast because it was so delicious. If you look at what we put into it it was a pretty bis mishmash of ingredients but somehow they worked together beautifully. The corn and cucumber gave a good crunch, the pineapple gave a nice sweetness, the spicy sauce gave some kick and together with the rest of the ingredients everything came together to make an extremely tasty poke bowl that we would eat again right now if we could.
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    The prices were not bad at all either. Our whole meal, before tip and tax came to about $40. Considering how stuffed we were when we left we figured that was excellent value for what we got.
    The restaurant was excellent with the kids, too. They had many high chairs which they brought right away along with a booster seat for Nixon to sit on the bench with me. They brought Nixon his own little water and whenever that happens we know that the restaurant knows how to deal with kids well. The other guests in the restaurant were very welcoming to a family with kids joining their section and overall we felt very welcomed in the restaurant with the boys in tow.
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    The one negative would be the service. While the service was good, it was infrequent, we had to ask for more drink twice between them taking our order and them clearing our plates. We wished they had come back to check in on us.
    There are many more sushi and Japanese restaurants along the route in the coming months but Ogenki definitely set the bar high.

    Food 9.5/10 – sushi is best fresh and nothing on our plates felt like it wasn’t

    Service 7.5/10 – they took great care of the kids and were prompt with their service. Would like them to come check in on us more often

    Kid friendliness 9/10 – excellent service to the kids, had high chairs and booster seats

    Decor 7.5/10 – pretty typical for a sushi restaurant with light coloured wood everywhere

    Value 8.5/10 – no issue with any of the prices and the combos provide excellent value

     

    Never stop adventuring!
  • MAIN STREET EATS

    Main Street Eats: Chickpea

    Overall Rating 9/10

    4298 Main St, Vancouver, BC 
    604-620-0602
    Sunday 10:00am – 11:00pm

    Monday 11:00 am–11:00 pm
    Tuesday 11:00 am–11:00 pm
    Wednesday 11:00 am–11:00 pm
    Thursday 11:00 am–11:00 pm
    Friday 11:00 am–Late
    Saturday 10:00 am–Late

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    Chickpea was not next up on our list but it was the closest restaurant to our next one that was participating in Dine Out Vancouver. We thought trying some restaurants’ Dine Out menus would be a great way to try more of a their menu. Since making that decision, however, we made another decision to go on a last minute trip to Bali so Chickpea will be the only Dine Out menu we get to try. We will resume the order once we get back but due to this trip there will not be another review until the week of February 11.

    Let us start out by saying that we are not vegan. If you’ve been following along for any length of time you’ll know we eat meat and we really enjoy it. So, when we decided on a vegan restaurant we must admit we were hesitant. Vancouver is a big hub for vegans and it, from what we understand, has exploded in the last few years with high quality vegan restaurants.

    That being said, there was a time about 6 years ago when I, Kyle, had to go on a strict dairy-free, wheat-free, sugar-free, alcohol-free diet for some health issues. Veganism, from our understanding holds to the dairy-free aspect of that diet and the others are personal preference. The dairy-free part of the diet was by far the hardest. I mean c’mon, no cheese?! No milk?! That’s a daily thing my body enjoys. Back in 2012, the dairy-free options were not good, not like we have today. I was having cardboard “cheese” and a sad attempt at mimic dairy products. The almond milk, however, has stuck in my diet ever since. So, with that background, you hopefully understand our hesitancy knowing Chickpea, a vegan restaurant, was where we were headed.

    Man, were we wrong. This was probably the best restaurant we’ve eaten at so far. We were absolutely blown away. From the second we entered we knew this was gonna be good. We were welcomed by a very friendly gentleman who made us feel as if he was honoured to seat us. He gave no indication he knew who we were or anything about this journey, he just seemed very happy and one of those people who genuinely enjoys his job. He did tell us it was his first day and it seemed like it was a good one.

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    We were sat at a table that was under a tree with birdhouses hanging from it. A nice table for 5 since we had my mom with us that day. We were quickly waited on by an awesome girl who took our drink orders and brought us waters.

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    The Dine Out lunch menu (click the link for the dinner menu also) was straight to the point. 3 options for lunch and since there were 3 of us we each picked one. I got the Chicktea to drink and Chickcheese sandwich, mom got the chocolate almond milk (for Nixon) and the Malawach and Sam got the Limonana and French Toast. We got both of the baklavas for dessert.

    img_9677First off, we were all fighting a cold this day and the chicktea was perfect. It was essentially just lemon, mint and hot water which was perfect for soothing our colds. The Limonana was frozen lemonade with mint which was amazing and on a hot summer day would be ideal. The chocolate almond milk was a disappointment as it came with ice and was super watered down. Nixon didn’t care though.

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    We didn’t go here for the drink though. We came for the food. And the food was the bomb. Oh. My. God. This food was so good. Remember, in our minds, vegan food was cardboard crap; this place revived our faith in vegan food. The chickcheese sandwich somehow tasted like it had actual cheese in it; I don’t know how they did it but whatever they did to it was perfect. It had so much flavour and was very filling. It tasted no different than an actual grilled cheese, just with more vegetables than we usually put in our grilled cheese. The salad it came with was a nice refreshing element on the plate also.

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    Of course we had to all try each others’ dishes. Mom’s malawach could be described as a chickpea burrito. A very generous helping of chickpeas accompanied by many other veggies and spice. By now you know how we feel about spice so this was an excellent dish. She couldn’t finish it so we were more than happy to help her out.

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    Sam’s french toast was amazing. Obviously they couldn’t use traditional egg wash so as you can see on the menu they just do almond milk and sugar. Having sugar in the wash and no egg leaves for the chance to easily burn the toast, but obviously they’ve done this a time or two before and didn’t burn it. The sautéed bananas were delicious with a nice touch of cinnamon and then the coconut whipped was to die for. No idea what kind of dairy-free cream one would use to make whipped cream but they nailed it.

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    The baklava was tasty as well and it came with the coconut whipped cream we already loved from Sam’s french toast. To be honest, neither of us could tell the difference between the two, they were both good although if it didn’t come with our meals we probably would have skipped dessert since we were so full from our meals.

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    The service was great also. Constantly coming by to make sure we were taken care of and our drinks were full.Chickpea is licensed for those of you wanting a more adult beverage. Our food did seem to take longer than usual. Neither of us have ever worked in the restaurant industry but from people we’ve talked to the goal is usually to get the food to the customer within about 20 minutes. We waited just over 30. Other than that we had no service issues.

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    Chickpea was the first restaurant to really cater to families. As soon as we walked in we saw plenty of mothers with their kids and we could see why. There is a whole corner of the restaurant designed as a play area for kids. There is a table close by so we could see that table getting annoying for customers so we assume Chickpea seats the families at these tables. The mats at the kids area were slightly dirty but that is bound to happen with kids coming in on rainy days. As long as they get washed daily we should see no issue letting your kids play here. There was plenty to do and Nixon had a blast there. When the very happy gentleman sat us at our table he also brought a high chair over.

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    The Dine Out menu was great and we felt $20 per person was a fine price to pay. Not incredible value but not bad enough to complain especially since the food was amazing.

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    The decor was super cool. Not a style we would put in our house but a style that gave a cool atmosphere for a restaurant. We don’t even know what you would call the style but we found it really cool.

    All in all, this is the first place we are excited to go back to and explore the rest of the menu. We had a great time here and we left with our bellies full.

    Food 9.5/10 – everything was delicious, no complaints

    Service 9/10 – kind gentleman seated us and the girls who waited on us were great

    Kid friendliness 9/10 – best place we’ve been to so far, kids play area was great but kinda dirty which was the -1, had high chairs

    Decor 9/10 – nothing special but not terrible 

    Value 8.5/10 – the Dine Out menu was great, maybe a little high at $20 for lunch but the food was amazing so we can’t complain too much

    Never stop adventuring!

     

  • MAIN STREET EATS

    Main Street Eats: Pho Tan Restaurant

    Overall Rating 6/10

    4598 Main St, Vancouver, BC 
    (604) 873-3345

    7 days a week 10:30am – 9:00pm

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    Our first pho restaurant along the way was this past week was Pho Tan Restaurant. We love pho, both of us and Nixon love pho, a lot. A user on Reddit, u/ruddiger22, warned us about all the pho coming up and we were excited about that.

    Pho Tan is a nice little restaurant with maybe about 12-15 tables. It’s not big by any means but we all know that means nothing in terms of quality. We were welcomed nicely by a gentleman and sat at our table. Tea was brought immediately and we were given menus. The service was off to a good start.

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    We weren’t super hungry this day but we obviously had to order some pho. It was the perfect pho day too, cold and rainy, or as we call it, just another day in Vancouver. We decided to order one other item on the menu to see how the rest of the menu was. Our order was two items: large pho with steak & brisket and banh cuon (ground pork wrapped in Vietnamese steamed rice roll).

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    Our pho sides came right away with the regular sprouts, lime, jalapeno and basil. Sam and I like to do our pho differently. We prefer our pho slightly differently. I like to add sprouts, lime and spice coming from the jalapeno. Sam likes to add sprouts, lime and spice from the hot sauce. We both love hoisin sauce also.

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    The large pho came in a big bowl and easily fed the both of us. Anyone who has ever had pho knows it is all about the broth. Without a good broth, no pho is complete. This broth was good. Just good. Not the best pho we’ve ever had but definitely not the worst. The broth was good and that’s the most important part.

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    The banh cuon on the other hand was not good. If any of you are like Sam and are texture eaters, you will not like this. I could only get through one before I had had enough. The menu describes the dish as “ground pork wrapped in Vietnamese steamed rice roll” so I expected to have a roll presented in front of me when the dish came. Expect they weren’t. they came more as patties. You can see in the picture how they were presented. The taste was okay. The roll itself was pretty tasteless but the texture was what got to me. I’m usually okay with any texture but the roll was extremely “gummy”. Like, stick-to-your-teeth-like-taffy-does gummy. I got through one so I could get the whole taste but I didn’t even know how to eat it. Chopsticks with one bite? Pick it up with my hands? Ask for a fork and knife? I broke it into pieces with my chopsticks and ate it that way. If I ate it wrong please let me know. In the end, the banh cuon left the table with only one of them eaten. It came with four.

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    The value was quite good. We felt $10 for enough pho to feed two people was more than generous. We had no problem paying that amount for the amount of food we got. $7 for banh cuon though was a little much at almost $2 per “roll”. But if you’re going to Pho Tan we assume you’re ordering pho anyways.

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    The service was good. We were seated right away and brought tea immediately as I mentioned earlier. On the other hand, when we asked for ice water we had to ask twice before we got any. I’m assuming our server just forget and it wasn’t a huge deal.

    One thing to note before you go to Pho Tan is that they are cash or debit only. No credit cards. There is also a $5 minimum charge per person.

    In the end, we would return to Pho Tan but only for the pho.

    Food 7/10 – one good item and one not good, only get pho

    Service 8/10 – not outstanding but no complaints

    Kid friendliness – high chair, no kids menu but the kids ate what we ate

    Decor 6/10 – nothing special

    Value 8/10 – good for the pho

    Never stop adventuring!