2484 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach
I now bring you a post that's a couple months old. Marc and I dined at Itoshin on our way to Pottsville, at an inconvenient time when we were moving house and didn't have internet. After that, I forgot all about the trip until I started rummaging through my old photos. I'm pleased to say that Itoshin recalls fond memories and it's very much worth covering even if my experience is outdated.
As I mentioned above, we were driving to Pottsville from Brisbane one night with the intention of having dinner at the Gold Coast. Some may beg to differ but Marc and I have never had a good experience trying to find parking at the coast. I'm sure it's a similar situation for outsiders trying to have dinner out in Brisbane CBD but because we've always lived locally, it was never a problem for us. The GC on the other hand...
We decided to just drive along until something caught our eye, provided there was street parking conveniently close by. Interestingly, it was a Filipino diner that I wanted to try but it was BYO and as we were walking down the street to find a bottle-o, we spotted Itoshin and decided to head in there instead. More accurately, I noticed the mysterious curtain separating Itoshin from the outside world and we ducked in, discovered it was a restaurant and figured "why not".
Even though Itoshin is understated from the outside (I wasn't exaggerating when I said it was just a curtain with slits), the restaurant is fairly large once you head in. It was also really busy when we got there and we were offered a couple of tall seats at the sushi bar. I normally hate bar seating because I feel self-conscious eating perched up high, but the exception to the rule is sushi bars. I really like watching the sushi masters go about their work.
Small sashimi platter
Itoshin was great because there were a couple of old Japanese chefs crafting fish right in front of us. It was an awesome spectacle and comes in handy as something to focus on if you, like Marc and I, are a couple who are way past coming up with new and interesting conversations.
Small sushi platter
For our meal, we really went to town and ordered a feast. We went with their set menu, which allowed for an entree, main and dessert. For our entrees, Marc chose the small sushi set, whilst I went for the rice-free equivalent aka sashimi set. Both platters were artfully arranged, fresh and satisfying.
Squid with vegetables
My main of choice was the squid. This was probably the disappointment of the night. There were no distinct flavours and overall, the squid was rather bland. It wasn't an inedible dish but compared to everything else we tasted, it was a definite low point. I picked out the veggies and left the rest for Marc.
It came with a Japanese style garden salad that was zesty, garlicky and very moreish. I'm really digging wafu dressing. I think I'll start incorporating that into my own home cooking.
Teriyaki chicken with tempura vegetables
Marc went with the teriyaki chicken with a side of vegetable tempura. I loved this dish and kept stealing pieces. The chicken was full of flavor and juicy. The veggies had that perfect light and airy crisp tempura coating.
After an already filling and delicious meal, we ended the night with dessert. Marc and I both opted for the tempura ice-cream (because deep fried veggies weren't enough, we needed deep-fried sweets too). I had the green tea flavour and Marc kept it plain with vanilla. I used to be a regular consumer of fried ice-cream (back when my metabolism was fast enough to compensate for any amount of eating) and there is a huge variation in 'success'. These ones from Itoshin were amazing. Like the tempura veggies, the coating managed to be light, yet retained the crispiness despite the cold ice-cream. The batter formed a shell around the ice-cream, ressembling a cream puff. It was served with a simple dusting of icing sugar and light syrup. Delicious.
Both Marc and I have a high opinion of Itoshin. The food we had was great and whilst Japanese cuisine can sometimes leave you barely satisfied, we were both very full by the end of our set meal. The dining environment was lovely and we enjoyed our view from the sushi bar. Staff were friendly and attentive. I only wish this place was closer to home!