Rajio Public House is part of the same restaurant group as Kingyo and Suika, like the other two the name for this restaurant is taken quiet a literal translation. Rajio meaning ‘radio’ in Japanese, however, unlike its sister I’m not that much a fan of this establishment. Like any typical izakayas that are popping up in the Lower Mainland, it boasts an authentic Japanese interior, with handwritten specials and Japanese staff. Rajio serves skewers, but in no sense is it competition for Zakkushi because the skewers here are deep fried – otherwise known in Japan as kushikatsu.
I came here once before, but nothing about it gave me much reason to return, course everything tastes delicious deep fried, but not much skill is needed to skewer something and throw it in the fryer. Aside from the skewers, there are plenty other tapas to choose from as well.
RC really likes Rajio, and comes here often enough, so I thought I would try and give it another go. We arrived around 9PM and it was pretty packed, seating was tight and limited, we waited for about 20 minutes or so before being seated. There were still more people lining up at the door, it peaked my interest to find out what the whole hype was about. We started off with a bottle of 月の光 Tsuki No Hikari Shochu, something different than our usual sake and beer. Each table was given a complimentary bowl of raw cabbage served with a salty and tangy dressing, it was simple yet appetizing start to the meal. It was quickly devoured before I remembered that I had not taken a picture of it. However, I much preferred the ones given from Manzo Izakaya in Richmond more.
Tomato Kimchi; kimchi marinated tomato with Chinese chives & cilantro oil
My manager was raving about Rajio’s Tomato Kimchi earlier this week, so I thought to give it a try since I like both things separately, it would be interesting to see how it fares combined together. It was somewhat a let down, maybe because I gave it too high hopes. It was tasty, but not to the point of outstanding. I didn’t taste much kimchi falvours to this dish, it was very mild, nor did the chives or cilantro give anything to enhance the flavours.
Corn Karaage; deep fried fresh corn on the cob dressed with soy butter
Since I love corn, this dish sounded delicious. Whatever type of batter they used to fry the corn in, it worked. It kept each kernel juicy with the soy butter latching on to them perfectly. It was so good i was even eating the batter off of the inedible insides of the cob.
“Y’s” Mommy’s Assorted Oden; a Japanese winter comfort food, a long simmered one pot dish with mixed ingredients
A good definition for those that don’t know what Oden is. It is a Japanese staple, not to brag or anything, but the oden I make is pretty good. Which makes it a problem for me, I can’t seem to enjoy Oden elsewhere anymore as a result. I had requested for no daikon (radish) since I dislike it in any form other than pickled or shredded as props for sashimi. There was no way of knowing what assortment I would be getting so it came as a huge surprise when I was served hanpen, since not a lot of restaurants have that due to the higher costs. Our bowl of Oden had a wiener, hard boiled egg, chikuwa, satsuma age, and my all time favourite hanpen! The broth was alright, a bit light for my taste, but with the addition of hanpen the rating for this dish hit the roof. All the other ingredients is as one would expect, but that huge piece of hanpen was so fluffy and soft, it absorbed all the wonderful soup base and melted in my mouth all the way to my heart. If it’s possible, I’ll request that in my Oden each and every time.
Clam Vongole Yaki Udon; fresh clams are simmered in sake and release their flavour into the pan-fried udon adding seaside note to the dish
There were a good amount of clams, more so than what I would have expected, the sake and clam juices gave the udon a really nice creamy finish. However, this resulting dish was quiet bland, aside from the few sprigs of green onion, sesame and a pinch of kizami nori, this dish needed some black pepper.
Summer Premium Deep-Fried Skewers Set; shiitake ebi (shrimp stuffed shiitake), nori mochi (rice cake with seaweed), buta maki asupara (pork wrapped asparagus), tori tsukune (chicken meatball), tomato bacon basil
We had to order their specialty, though I never really got the hype of it, kushikatsu. They used to have a few condiments for you to eat alongside the skewers, such as tartar, a sweet onion jam, watery tonkatsu and lemon salt. Now they’re trying to keep it traditional by serving a “One Dip One Life” communal jar of tonkatsu, like how it is served in Japan, you all use the same sauce without changing so there would be no double-dipping allowed. It’s a nice touch, but I’m a bit concerned about hygiene problems of whether or not Canada’s Health Regulations and Food Safety would permit it. Needless to say, the same goes for my first visit to Rajio, I still do not get the hype.
Overall, the experience and staff were excellent, especially Daiki the manager. We had fun talking and drinking, think we may have made a new friend. Food is good, aside from the kushikatsu for which they are known for, but that is a very biased remark since I do not fancy them. Though sauces and batter were on point, it would not be something I would order for myself.