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Ottawa Citizen Article
Ottawa Magazine
Published: July/August, 2007

Genji  ****1/2    (4.5 stars out of 5)

Dining at Genji for the first time feels a little like falling in love. In the glow of the warm white space, there are a few semi-private tables, some pretty lanterns, a sushi bar, and little else. In other words, there is nothing to distract from the glorious food. Expectations soar from the first bite.

Nasu Dengaku is spectacular, the buttery flesh of fried Asian eggplant melting on the tongue as it mingles with a sensuous sauce made of miso and Japanese mayo. Next up is an understated baked tofu appetizer bathed in smooth sesame sauce that is the essence of umami, the illustrious fifth taste. Then there is Genji's signature starter, tasty little shrimp-stuffed tempura dumplings wrapped in seaweed rather than noodle. This is followed by more tempura shrimp and a tangle of battered up match-stick veggies, mostly sweet potato, in a dish aptly named Medusa. Sure, we find ourselves dipping and devouring this frivolous fare with abandon, but the meal soon settles into something more serious.

Our assortment of sushi is meticulously executed, supremely fresh, and punctuated with welcome surprises. The sushi sandwich is akin to cocktail-hour canapes: dainty squares of rice adorned with layers of cream cheese and smoked salmon topped with a frill of green onion and a wisp of lemon. Equally delicious, albeit less delicate, is the sushi pizza, which contrasts the crunch of a golden fried rice crust against a luscious mound of minced and mayo-slicked salmon crowned with tiny pearls of bright red roe. The Genji spicy tuna maki pairs heat (spicy mayo) and crunch (tempura bits) with the fresh flavours of cucumber and green onion. If you prefer the tempura on the outside, rolls can be ordered that way as well. And then there's the Stampede roll, specialty of the house so good that it nearly makes me blush. Ruby red slices of tender grill-kissed beef are wound around maid with a heart of bright green asparagus, avocado, and more of those beloved crunchy-creamy elements. The Boston maki, a combo of Alaskan king crab, shrimp, avocado, lettuce, and spicy sauce, is as fresh as the ocean and puts plain old California rolls to shame. As we work our way through all this edible art, it's difficult to imagine it can get any better. But the grilled short ribs napped with superb teriyaki sauce are as fall-off-the-bone tender as they are absurdly delicious. Even the stir-fried veggies on the side are exceptionally good. Alas, the grand finale is the one disappointment: ho-hum green tea creme brulee and tempura banana a la mode. But at this point, it's easy to forgive any small imperfections—after all, we're already smitten. Steps up to entrance and down to washrooms. Lunch Monday to Friday, dinner daily. Delivery available on Friday and Saturday. Fixed-price dinner for two, $64.99. Sushi and sashimi range from $3.49 to $13.95. 175 Lisgar St., 613-236-2880, www.genji.ca.


Ottawa Citizen


Gay Cook, Ottawa Citizen
Published: March 15, 2006



Genji Japanese Restaurant, 175 Lisgar St., opened several months ago. The dining room and sushi bar have a simplicity that creates a peaceful atmosphere to enjoy the extensive sushi menu. There are soups, salads, grilled items along with hot and cold sushi and maki beef tataki -- thinly sliced and seared AAA beef with ponzu sauce; chopped yellowtail, shrimp and butterfish baked with tempura-bits and Genji sauce; umeboshi (pickled Japanese plum), shiso leaf.





Ottawa Citizen Article
Anne Desbrisay, Ottawa Citizen
Published: Sunday, April 09, 2006


Revel in the Details

(excerpt)

"Tranquil, spacious, mostly beige, Genji offers familiar dishes packaged with miso soup. But the sushi is very good, the tempura delicate, and the cooked fish very fresh and well done.

… I like the crisp asparagus spears and spring onion wrapped in a thin jacket of beef. I like the gyoza, fragile and tangy, meat and basil filled pan-fried dumplings, and the all-dressed tempura (aptly named Medusa) shrimp, crab and vegetables lumpily united under batter and fried to golden goodness. Like a bad hair day on a plate, but tasty. Source: Ottawa Citizen's Dining Guide

At lunch, the teriyaki beef and salmon are fine: the meat is tender, the fish fresh and nicely cooked, the teriyaki sauce balanced, not syrupy-sweet as it often is. But the winning main dish is indeed the black cod. Sometimes called butterfish, the black-skinned fish is miso-marinated, then grilled, its flesh melting in rich buttery lumps in the mouth. It comes, as do all the main dishes, with rice (fine) and vegetables."


Anne Desbrisay’s Dining Guides 2006

Genji has been included in Anne Desbrisay’s 2006 dining guide as one of the recommended Japanese restaurants in Ottawa.

Photo of Chef Patrick Lam (right) was published on the front page of Ottawa Citizen’s weekly Food Issue section on Sunday, October 8, 2006.


Xpress



Lucy Rest, Ottawa Xpress
Published:  July 6, 2006


THE TALE OF GENJI

How's this for some masterful stealth marketing?

A certain Andrew Brown wrote duplicate glowing reviews of Genji on restaurantthing.com and chowhound.com, stating: "I never see such design... I have never found such taste in Ottawa." This was before the restaurant had even officially opened, yet he kindly included business hours. Then there was Goodie's post: "This is my first time writing review. I don't know what the format should be. However, I promoised [sic] the waitress to write my experience at Genji."

Nice, guys. Very subtle.

Source: Ottawa ExpressSelf-promo aside, both the sign in front of the Japanese resto (the one that isn't peeling) and the brown and white décor are indeed really nice. I like the tabletops, the banquettes and the lotus-shaped white swag lamps too. But why stop there? How about replacing the cubicle-issue carpet with some cheap-yet-chic laminate?

Never mind, I'm too excited by the Asahi Black (a delicious and hard-to-come-by dark lager) on the menu to be annoyed. After small bowls of complimentary edamame we begin with some perfectly acceptable miso soup. Then a fresh, crisp salad in creamy ginger dressing, delicious even if it's made of much-maligned iceberg lettuce (what do you want, mâche?).

Our dining companions are doing a set-menu thing, the most cost-effective option, especially considering the eight-course tasting menu at an already reasonable $30 is really enough food for two.

But Slinky and I don't want to be constrained, deciding instead to order an airy-fairy assortment of everything that interests us on the very long menu.

Like nasu dengaku: deep-fried eggplant in a smoky-sweet sauce of miso, mirin, sake and sugar that collapses on your spoon, dissolves in your mouth, teasing without filling.

For the traditional perspective, we try two ultra-fresh nigiris: buttery soft, delicately flavoured escolar and tasty marinated mackerel.

For the not-so-traditional, there's the decadent "stampede" roll: a thin 4.5-ounce AAA steak, ever so lightly seared and wound around a maki stuffed with asparagus and avocado. Absurdly good.

After that we need some palate-cleansing kyu maki: marinated tofu, ginger and avocado wrapped in thin sheets of cucumber with a light ponzu dipping sauce.

In all honesty, the meal could have stopped here. Slinky's unaju (barbecue eel, perfectly done, atop a bowl of rice) is good, but he can barely finish it.

I still have room for my saikyo yaki. Who wouldn't make room for this sweet and tender black cod (which is not cod at all, but sablefish) marinated in white miso and mirin, cooked perfectly and presented artfully on a stack of seasonal veg?

As I tuck in, A.T. marvels at my appetite - which was almost destroyed when some very stinky people are seated next to us. (Here's a tip: When it's 30 degrees out, you probably do need to take another shower.) Luckily, my olfactory system becomes so saturated with the pong that I'm able to block it out after a very unpleasant 10 minutes. (Another tip: Don't seat stinkies next to innocent diners when the dining room is half empty!)

I make yet more room for a few bites of dessert - crispy, sweet banana tempura - and then we've got to call it a night.

My 100 per cent genuine assessment? I'd go back in a heartbeat.

Click here to view the original article at OttawaXpress.




OttawaPlus.ca



OttawaPlus.ca


Genji Japanese Restaurant
"A taste of Japan in the heart of Canada’s capital region"

Traditional With a Twist
Genji Japanese Restaurant in downtown Ottawa prides itself on its quality and expertise. The chefs hail from the well-known Toronto sushi eatery Edo, and they insist on flying in their fresh fish. The restaurant serves traditional Japanese cuisine like teriyaki and sashimi but also a variety of new inventions. Its signature creation, the Boston roll, is a combination of Boston lettuce, shrimp, Alaskan king crab, avocado and spicy sauce.

Innovations
The open dining area of the restaurant seats 54, including its sushi bar, where you can sit and enjoy watching the sushi chefs create your meal. As well as many seafood and meat choices, there is a variety of vegetarian and tofu dishes on the menu. They also serve the very popular but not-so-traditional sushi pizza, a combination of seafood delights presented like a pizza on a bed of fried rice. For the Japanese food enthusiast, this is a must-visit location in Ottawa.

Great Dining; Greater Choices
The restaurant features modern décor with a few semi-private Japanese-style booths for your more covert dinner dates. You can make dining at Genji the ultimate Japanese experience with the large menu selection. They also have set menu dinners which have five courses including soup, salad and ice cream for dessert. The menu also has a wide variety of beer, wine and liquor, but Genji specializes in a variety of cold sakes, the traditional Japanese rice wine.

Click here to view the original post at OttawaPlus.ca





Lois Siegel

Lois Siegel’s website

Lois Siegel was named one of the Capital City's Top 50: People who are shaping the future of the National Capital, by Ottawa Life Magazine, 2002.

Genji Japanese Restaurant is included in Lois's Food Fiend's page.

“Excellent, Unique Creations,” Lois Siegel

Food photos shown are Dragon Roll and Ebi Almond presented by Chef Benny Yuen.

  Chef Benny Yuen
















©Photos by Lois Siegel
Dragon Roll
Ebi Almond