Taku-Sui with Dengaku Combination Plate for $20.50
The Dengaku consisted of a block of uncooked tofu, round of broiled eggplant and cooked shiitake mushrooms with a ginger miso glaze.
The Dengaku vegetables were wonderfully prepared, but horribly bland without the sauce. The sauce on the other hand was awfully overpowering and tasted as if they has put a spoonful of miso paste on my dish. The dish could have used some more thought, especially for the price charged. To have a completely successful dish, flavour and preparedness of your vegetables must fuse superbly. To fail miserably in one of these areas and decide to still charge $10 for the plate while singeing my taste buds with miso paste slightly offends me. I know I have high standards, but I am paying for my dish and this was only worth about $4.50 at the most.
Where the Dengaku failed the Taku-Sui didn’t do much better. Steamed veggies, veggie gyoza, broth and noodles. Simple. No complaints because after the first dish I wasn’t exactly ready to be wowed by the dish to follow. I got what I ordered and there was a lot of it, which if I’m paying ten bucks for bland Japanese food I might as well get a lot of it. Is corn a traditional japanese filler for gyoza? There is nothing more frustrating than when restaurants throw non-traditional vegetables in their fare because either, they are cheap or they don’t know how to cook… Corn in Japanese dumplings? What?!
Moral of the story: Don’t pretend to be fine dining by charging high prices unless you have the food to back it up.
I will probably not return to Cha-ya unless I am starving and out of options in the Mission, which is highly unlikely. I’m sure Malloreigh will make up for my disdain right about now…
I was annoyed from the minute we stepped in to Cha-Ya. They’re a cash only restaurant, and though they have an ATM on the premises, it charges an extra $2 on top of whatever your bank fees are for taking out cash, and I saw more than one person have trouble with it during the time we were there. Maybe if this were a quick grab-and-run cafe, cash only would be acceptable, but they have a minimum $9 charge per person, plus tip. To top it all off, there’s a sign clearly displayed on the wall that states they retain the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason.
At least the food was good. We ordered a combination meal – taku-sui with dengaku – and the vegetables were perfectly cooked. Everything was fresh and well done, but like Kaylie said, I found the miso glaze pretty overpowering. The vegetables themselves were bland. When the taku-sui – a hotpot with veg, tofu, and gyoza – turned out bland too, I started to feel like my $20.50 plus tip plus $5 in bank fees plus a conversion to Canadian currency was a waste.
Still, the service was alright, and though there wasn’t any music, the din of conversation and the kitchen was comfortable. I don’t think I’d go back to Cha-Ya on my own accord.