Located in the Callingwood community, Kobe Japanese Bistro is situated in a quieter area. I was intrigued by the high ratings for Kobe and decided to finally give them a try. I never thought to venture out to Kobe because 1) it’s quite far for me and 2) I had associated it with KOBE Ramen and Sushi, which was never really a good experience for me (They are no longer open*). Don’t get the two confused though, they are completely different!
Kobe’s menu has a lot to choose from! They offer all the usual dishes that would be expected at Japanese restaurants. Appetizers, sushi, specialty rolls, donburi, bento boxes, dinner sets, etc. Compared to other restaurants, prices are much cheaper and this allowed my boyfriend and I to try multiple dishes!
To start, we ordered the Agedashi Tofu ($7.50) – a soft tofu that is essentially deep fried and served with a sauce made up of soy sauce, mirin, and dashi. The tofu pieces were large and there was so much sauce that the dish was practically a soup in and of itself. Kind of weird to have so much liquid but luckily, the sauce was rich in flavour. The tofu itself could have been better but after sitting in sauce for the entirety of a meal, it’s inevitable that it starts to fall apart a little bit.
The Chicken Karagge ($7.50) was probably my favourite dish of the night. The chicken was fried crispy and golden and was served with a delicious ginger sauce, which complimented the saltiness of the chicken perfectly.
We also decided to get a few rolls to try: The Mexican Roll, the Spicy Tuna Roll and the Albacore Tuna Roll. There was definitely a tuna theme going on lol.
The Mexican Roll ($12) and the Spicy Tuna Roll ($9) were essentially the same thing. The only difference between the two was the fact that the Mexican Roll was a bit more spiced up with tempura shrimp, avocado, and omelette in it. Both unfortunately did not meet my expectations at all and that was really disappointing for me because I usually love spicy tuna rolls.
To start, the rolls were very big and awkward to eat. There was far too much tuna in each roll…to make things worse, the texture of the tuna was so mushy, it honestly felt like it just came out of a can. The spice aspect was not distinctive and it was as if the tuna was just scrambled with some hot sauce. I definitely would not order these again and wouldn’t recommend these rolls overall.
On the hand though, the Albacore Tuna Roll ($14.50) was great! Next to the chicken karagge, this was my other favourite of the meal. The albacore tuna was seared nicely and tasted delicious. It reminded me of pressed sushi, which I’ve come to enjoy more than regular rolls. This roll also had spicy tuna in it but the seared albacore tuna on top was much more memorable and balanced it out, thankfully. Though this roll was good, my only complaint (again) was that they were rolled largely, which made it difficult to eat. Sushi needs to be a one bite deal!
The sashimi here was one of the better ones I’ve had. I normally avoid sashimi because I fear the ocean-y smell/taste (ironic). But, I did enjoy the Tuna and Salmon Sashimi Combo ($13.50/6 pieces) that we ordered. The pieces were reasonably sized and they did not have that potent fish taste, which I liked.
Overall, our meal at Kobe was ambiguous. The good dishes made up for the bad ones so I still believe there is some potential here. Portion sizes are large, but oversized sushi and tofu pieces are not the easiest to eat. Kobe may not be my first choice for sushi but I would consider coming back for their cheap prices, great service, and large menu selection.
Kobe Japanese Bistro
#516 – 6655 178 St NW, Edmonton