Garneau spot offers some outstanding Japanese fare
By Steven Sandor | November 9, 2023
When it comes to what we call “new and notable,” a place that opened in the summer is pushing it, a bit. So, you’re right to blame us for taking this long to visit Tansen Izakaya, located just a stone’s throw from the University of Alberta Hospital.
And, boy, were we missing out.
There’s an inventive menu here, with sushi and sashimi on offer, plus house specials and meat and seafood cooked on the stone-fire grill.
Craving salt, I started with the salmon collar — and I have to make this statement right now. Of anything I’ve eaten at any new restaurant this year, this is my current favourite. The salmon was buttery, with some pronounced saltiness. I was scraping the plate with the chopsticks, making sure not to miss any errant piece of salmon that had flaked away as I took apart the meal. Make sure to get your own, these aren’t big enough to share, and you wouldn’t want to share. The skin was perfectly crisp, and it soaked in the salt and lemon and sweet so, so, well. I thought about ordering another, but I wanted to get to the next dish. (And maybe the server would think I was being weird.)
Also on order was a selection from the pressed osisushi menu. I got the hamachi. The pressed rectangle of rice is covered by the fish, with a dollop of sweet mayo and black tobiko. It’s sweet, it’s rich, it’s salty — and the six pieces went by so, so fast. It wasn’t just good — it was inventive.