CUISINE / RESTAURANT REVIEWS Downtown Japanese Ramen Vancouver

Irashai Grill & Motomachi Shokudo

We were, like some other bloggers, invited to the Irashai Grill Open House.  All I can say about that was….disappointment and chaos.  It was pretty bad.  More about that later.

Obviously, it was so chaotic, messy, disorganized,  over-crowded, chaotic (did I say that already?), that we stayed probably a bit over 30 minutes and decided to leave.  Also obviously, we needed dinner after that.  We were in Downtown already, so what better place to go than to Motomachi Shokudo???

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s my 3rd time in Downtown in a little over a week.  A bit of a  feat for me if I can say so myself.

Motomachi shokudo: Shoyu Ramen

So on this visit, Boyfriend and I basically ordered the same thing…Shoyu Ramen, except his has extra BBQ Pork.  Specifically for the Shoyu soup base, they have a note saying that we can add a flavored oil with burnt onions into the soup for a unique, aromatic taste.  So we both did just that.

But if I had known Boyfriend was going to do that too, I would’ve just kept mine original so I can taste the soup by itself.  Oh well.

Motomachi Shokudo: Shoyu Ramen with extra BBQ pork

This was Boyfriend’s with his extra, super fatty pork.  Overall I thought the soup was too salty.  I’m not sure if I felt this way the last time I went to Motomachi Shokudo but this time it was definitely very very salty.

As for the flavor oil, I thought it made the soup overly oily (haha…figures).  The burnt onion fragrance also covered up any reminant of the Shoyu soup base, which was what I regretted.  All in all it was a fine meal but not the best one I’ve had here.

Motomachi Shokudo: Sakura-men

Ooh they also have a new item- the Sakura-men.  You can read the description above.  Boyfriend joked that if that’s how the girls ordering this will turn into, I better not order it haha.

F also accompanied us on this outing.  She ordered the Bamboo-Charcoal Chicken Ramen which I’ve reviewed before.

Now back to Irashai Grill.  Now I’ve not been to a restaurant Open House before, so I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be as chaotic as Irashai’s.  F told me that she’s watched “Opening Soon” on Food Network and when the have Open Houses, it’s much more organized.  The servers brought trays of small bites around and the guests were able to taste everything in an orderly fashion.

Totally not the case here.  It was like everyone-for-themselves there.  The waitresses only had to carry the plate out of the kitchen and all the food on the plates would be gone.  When a plate manages to land on a table, people approached it like vultures literally.  Some even would just put the chopsticks in their mouth and just grab the food with their hands.  People also had to chase the waitresses around to get food.  Believe me, in these kinds of situations, people lose their manners.  We’re in no way comfortable in that kind of situation so obviously we didn’t not get to taste much.  Some people were seated in their limited amount of tables and seemed to get preferential treatment in that the waitress will try to fend off us vultures and bring a whole plate of food to them.

Another thing, I’m thinking the point of their Open House was to showcase their food offerings.  However, understandably with these types of situations, they cannot bring out the best quality food they have or they’ll for sure lose a lot of money.  This however resulted in the reverse affect of what an Open House intends to do.  Poor quality and amount of food, so how are food bloggers like us that were only invited to their Open House supposed to recommend the place to others?

Let me count how many pieces of food I got – 2 small Cali rolls, 2 small Chopped Scallop Rolls, 1 piece of yam fries, 1 piece of Chicken Karaage, and 1/3 of a yakitori skewer (that was shared amongst the 3 of us).

The Cali rolls were nothing special.  One piece of avocado and one piece of imitation crab.  Nothing I couldn’t get at a normal Chinese-owned Japanese restaurant.  Same goes for the Chopped Scallop Roll.  The Yam fries were bland, as was the Yakitori.  The Chicken Karaage was overly salty.

I’m not sure if they’ve underestimated the amount of people that’ll show up but this was a RSVP event, so for sure the amount of people allowed can be controlled.  It seemed like they wanted more people to bring up the hype instead of showcasing food.

Another thing, when I got the invite via email, a pdf file was attached with information on the Open House.  It said “Friends & Family Welcome”.  Now what happened was, I originally RSVP’d just for Boyfriend and I.  Then I decided to get F to come along to try the place out to see if it’s a good place for us to recommend to our friends when we go out for dinner.  The response I got from the organizer was less than inviting.  Basically, she told me that if the 3rd person I’m adding to our RSVP is from out-of-town or would not be likely to become a return customer, then I should forget it (I believe her exact words were “I’d ask for you to use discretion on who to bring“.)

Now I totally understand that, but still I was offended.  If I had RSVP’d for 3 people in the beginning, would she have said that to me?  Would I still have had to hold a screening process?  If she had to say that to me, I don’t think the Invite should’ve had “Friends & Family Welcome” on it since they’re not unless they fit a certain criteria.

Usually I take lots of pictures right?  But in that environment it was just not inspirational to take any pictures.  Just being in their made me feel stressed.  Overall I felt the whole event was extremely poorly planned out- knowing the # of people that’s going to be there, preparations should’ve been made to ensure ample amounts of food gets out from the kitchen.

I don’t know what to think of the place.  It just wasn’t a pleasant experience for me.

Another thing, this Japanese Restaurant is Chinese-owned and operated.  Only the head chef is Japanese.  The sous-chefs seem to be all Chinese.

Motomachi Shokudo on Urbanspoon Irashai Grill on Urbanspoon

5 Comment

  1. Foodosophy saw this gong show coming, and decided not to take up the invitation. 🙂 Sorry to hear of the disappointing experience – as indeed properly organized and executed restaurant open houses are generally very pleasant experiences. Hope you get a chance one day to partake in a much better one…

  2. Well, I was there at the beginning and I guess I was lucky to try everything. But at around 6:00 it got completely out of hand. I just had to leave. And went to Kintaro. However, when I went to the tasting event at Irashai 3 weeks ago, the food was excellent. Too bad the open house was a mess.

  3. In the end, it seems it was a good idea I chose NOT to the Open House. And, indeed, when the food is “free”, logic goes out the window…

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