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Kei's Dining Bar


SBonner
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It’s 7pm and Helen and I are in the mood for some of Umami’s eel and foie gras… :smile: wow we arrive without a reso and discover Umami is no more :shock: but now called Kei’s Dining Bar. I believe, Kei was Hiro’s sous chef, so even though startled that Hiro has gone and the restaurant has changed name the food most likely is still what we after craving. Thankfully the eel and foie gras is still on the menu along with about 40% of Hiro’s popular menu items. The menu is now divided up into salads, cold tapas, hot tapas, Japanese tapas, and entrees. The prices have been reduced by a dollar or two making the tapas menu between $7 and $12 dollars and entrées $14-$18.

Service was stellar with Bridgette (ex Blue Water Café and Oasis) working the floor and patrons. The room looked the same after a 10 day close down period other than a small ledge built along the bar and back light by candles and art work on the walls (old Cinzano and Campari ads). The music was more upbeat and louder than during Hiro’s days. We tried Kei’s Japanese French fries ( paprika spiced wedges) pretty tasty but a nice side of lemon aioli or mild wasabi aioli would be have been nice. The chicken wings with a light dry curried rub were hot and tasty and a big departure from the Umami school of food and wine pairing. The wine list has the same wines by the glass as selected by Chef/Sommelier Hiro but the reserve wine list is no more. On the dessert front, Hiro pushed the envelope on flavours with his Blue mountain blue cheese and black sesame crème brulee, and now Kei has done the same thing with his grapefruit and chocolate crème brulee.

We will go back, tonight was the soft grand opening, but where is our friend Hiro? Anyone know?

Cheers,

Stephen

Edited by SBonner (log)

"who needs a wine list when you can get pissed on dessert" Gordon Ramsey Kitchen Nightmares 2005

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Interesting. My wife and I we're taking odds on how long Umami would be around. Not because of the food or service ( both we concure we're very good), more so of the proximity of space and casual observations of patronage on our nightly walks.

A favourite over Shiro Bay anytime, we really we're crossing our fingers for the success. Hopefully the new owners can persuade the market to come in and give them a try.

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I understand there is some connection between the new partners involved in Kei's Dining Lounge and Zest, the newish Japanese restaurant on W. 16th, and Yuji's Tapas on W. 4th. Anyone know more?

Laura Fauman

Vancouver Magazine

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  • 6 months later...

I'm suprised this place is still in business. Helen and I went there about a month ago on a Friday night and we were the only table there for two hours. I miss the inventive cuisine established by Hiro, the original owner, chef, and sommelier.

Stephen

Edited by SBonner (log)

"who needs a wine list when you can get pissed on dessert" Gordon Ramsey Kitchen Nightmares 2005

MY BLOG

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Sad to hear the Umami we knew is no more. I remember Hiro from his days at En on Granville, his passion for wine and foie gras, and the development of Umami (foremost in my memory is his excitement for the name, Umami, a meaty/savory taste sensation). The restaurant was a favorite of my wife's in particular but, given it's location and our subsequent move out of the Yaletown neighborhood, it was somewhere we hadn't visited in quite some time.

I too would love to know what Hiro is up to.

www.josephmallozzi.wordpress.com

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