Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Across from the Cop Shop along West 2nd Avenue, just past the Cambie Bridge, lies a Japanese restaurant as eclectic and hidden as most of the businesses in this manufacturing district of Vancouver. I have been going to the Clubhouse for about eight years and have always found the quality of their food and their beer specials to counterbalance the cavernous and gaudy interior of the restaurant. I must note, however, that the owners made a big effort to tone things down and unify the decorative themes of the restaurant in preparation for the 2010 Winter Olympics. While it is still cavernous and odd, the large painted mural of a fairway that covers the east wall and the tastefully framed photos of famous golf courses that hang throughout are a testament to the name of the establishment.
The menu is large, which is usually a warning sign, but it is not ambitious. For example, their sushi and nigiri section takes up one entire page, and another page is dedicated to noodles and okonomiyaki. While the selection is broad, the items offered are essentially Japanese standards. Although, there are a few unconventional delights up for grabs.
It is a tradition for my dad and I to eat at the Clubhouse every year after the big NHL hockey pool that we have with family friends, and this year I finally had the courage to try one of their Holy Maki Rolls. I had seen this on the menu before and it scared me: fried maki rolls...gross. There are several varieties, but we opted for the California roll option. I was expecting the roll to be coated in a heavy, greasy batter which would disguise (and ruin) the contents. I was very happily surprised when the sliced Holy Maki Roll was brought to us sporting a thin, translucent, crispy layer of tempura batter. The roll was also larger in diameter than anticipated, and the crab-avocado interior was still cool despite the hot, crunchy exterior.
This genre-defying oddity will not be a hidden gem for long, seeing as hundreds and hundreds of condos were recently constructed just two blocks away in preparation for the past Olympics. This major event prompted the Clubhouse to clean up its act, but it also destroyed the restaurant's low profile.
Keywords: "Japanese Restaurants Vancouver", "Alex Dawkins", "Clubhouse Vancouver"