Named after a Japanese form of traditional theatre, it’s fitting that Kabuki, the sushi restaurant, is located right next door to the Garneau theatre. It’s the ideal pre-show place for a sampling of Japanese fare from an extensive menu. At night, the cherry blossom tree in the middle of the restaurant is lit, lending a romantic glow to the tiny space where photos of Japanese performers hang above an explanation of the restaurant’s name.
Familiar dishes like the dragon eyes are featured alongside the restaurant’s own take on maki. The UOA roll’s an example – it’s a large roll crammed with asparagus, spicy salmon, masago (roe) and crab. Slip a sliver of golden ginger over top of the green asparagus in the centre of the roll and it’s a colourful ode to the nearby campus. Crab is generously packed into the middle, leaving a sweet flavour that complements the spicy kick of salmon and the crunch of roe. Meanwhile, the Edmonton roll is also a lesson in texture with a crisp tempura prawn alongside spicy tuna and, again, plenty of crab.
And the menu includes a few unique options where traditional Japanese dishes are stuffed into roll form, including the chicken or beef teriyaki rolls. The baked salmon rolls include cream cheese, asparagus, avocado and, of course, salmon in a dish that’s a mix of Western and Asian influences. But if you want to end your meal with a traditional note, try to the vegetable udon dish, thick with noodles, mushrooms, squares of soft tofu, broccoli and asparagus. It’s hearty and can easily be shared by two people. (8724 109 St., 780-437-0077)