Restaurant Review: Red Ember

>> Friday, May 9, 2014

Ever since we moved last year it’s been extremely fun exploring places in and around our neighbourhood. During our commute to and from work we notice different stores and restaurants we never saw before and made a mental note to drop by when we could. Since they’re so close now, we didn’t have an excuse not to visit. One of those restaurants was Red Ember on 14 Street. I’m always craving Japanese food, so it didn't take long before we paid a visit.

Atmosphere: Cozy interior featuring dark wood finishings, a bar opening up to the kitchen and a select number of tables, it’s best to make reservations to avoid a wait.

Price Range: Mid $10s

Food: I always find it hard to narrow down the different types of sushi rolls I’d like to try when ordering at a Japanese restaurant because they all sound so tempting. Add on the appetizer dishes and I’ll always manage to over order. I was craving Gyozas and these fit the bill. They had a chewy outer shell and tasty filling coupled with the dipping sauce, it helped satisfy my hunger for dumplings. We also had the Miso Glazed Black Cod, which is one of my favorite types of fish not to mention the preparation. I’ve always found miso to bring out the sweetness of the black cod and since it’s already a fatty fish, the unctuousness just adds to flavour.

For those that have a penchant for fried foods, the Prawn Tempura was light and fluffy and came as a larger order than expected. Perfect for those that enjoys their deep fried shrimp. I did find the Calamari a bit over dredged in flour and it slightly hindered the taste of the squid itself. I personally prefer a lighter coating on my calamari because I enjoy the chew of the squid.

We ordered a bit off both the classic and signature rolls menu. It’s hard not to get the standard Spicy Tuna Roll, Dynamite Roll and Mango California Rolls. They’re the typical go tos and always a delight. These ones were no different. Each roll was delicious as expected. I enjoyed the traditional use of the siracha for the spicy tuna roll and the crab mix was perfect in the California roll, barring the unripen mango but its winter in Calgary so that was a given.

I quite enjoyed the rolls off their signature menu, especially the Mexican Roll, featuring steamed prawns, crab meat, avocado all topped with jalapeno and spicy mayo. I really like spicy food and tend to gravitate towards sushi rolls that provide that bit of zing. It’s also rare to find the steamed prawns rather than tempura prawns which also makes the roll a slightly healthier choice (minus the spicy mayo).

The Caterpillar Roll was interesting featuring baked smoked salmon with onion, avocado and seaweed salad. I found it quite inventive to include onion and seaweed salad in a roll. It added a different texture and additional sweetness which layered on additional flavours especially when combined with the satly smoked salmon and tanginess of the sushi rice. Another roll that also had interesting textures were the Kamikaze Roll made with special scallop (mayo and scallop), tempura flakes and tobiko all wrapped with tuna. The bits of tempura added a nice crunch to the roll and provided a nice texture contrast. It was reminiscent of a dynamite roll but perfect for those who aren’t fans of or can’t eat shrimp (yes there really is a shrimp allergy).

My Picks: Mexican Roll, Kamikaze Roll

Overall: It’s been extremely fun exploring new restaurants in and around the area that we live. Knowing all the available options we have nearby made it quite exciting. I always enjoy trying new places and it's great that there's something close by so we don't have to go far whenever we get that sushi craving again. Especially since I know exactly which rolls and dishes to order!

Red Ember
609 14 Street NW
Calgary, AB
(403) 453-0577

Red Ember Japanese Cuisine on Urbanspoon


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