Nagomi, Gibsons BC

June 2020

Visiting this lovely little restaurant broke our three-month Covid-isolationassociated eating-out fast. Here on the Sunshine Coast we’ve been lucky to have very little of the virus around, and restaurants including this one are now opening with suitable contagion safety precautions. Nagomi’s location is convenient, a stone’s throw from Gibsons wharf which is pretty much the centre of town.

We were four, with another couple we share appreciation of food and drink with, seated in one of the two or three rooms which are charmingly decorated with simple blond Japanese-style wood and low ceilings, all providing a warm intimate informal atmosphere.

Hostess is a charming slim Japanese lady who helped us disinfect our hands and phones and seated us at one corner of a space with four tables, only one of which another couple occupied during the 90 minutes or so we were there. Our server was a young white gentleman who was attentive, polite, and cheerful.

Our friends being familiar with the restaurant from several visits made suggestions which we happily followed. Drinks were a big shared bottle of Asahi beer followed by their flight of three sake samples.

I’m not sure I remember the order of arrival of all the dishes, which we shared entirely among the four of us. In the first flight was spinach gom ae, a perfectly spiced golf-ball -sized sphere of cooked spinach with a dark-coloured salty Asian coating, sitting in a contrasting sauce. I believe the maki spicy tuna roll and tempura dynamite roll came at the same time. These were conventional absolutely fresh and delicious sushi rolls with traditional accompaniments. Prawn gyoza completed the first group, a crescent dumpling pan-fried with a prawn and green vegetable filling that was on the cusp of crisp and soft, delicious with soy.

I don’t think I’ve been exposed to enough well-prepared tofu because I haven’t been a fan, but the agedashi tofu was four slices of light-textured slightly crispy (lightly deep-fried I think) tofu in a delicious soy-based sauce with (again I seem to recall) grated daikon. The spicy chicken karage was a soft and again externally crispy little curl of chicken breast with a strong-flavoured and contrasting spicy sauce. We had to wait for it to cool off. I think scallop roll maki also came with that grouping.

Negitoro roll (tuna belly with chopped green onion) came at the end, again a classic maki perfectly prepared with its soft slightly sweet rice. There was a very fresh sashimi as well and a poke salad with sour dressing.

The three-sake flight was very varied: junmai was a clear strongly rice-flavoured drink, a milky cloudy one called nigori was acidic, and I think the other one was called ju. All quite lovely and authentic as accompaniments to our beautifully prepared and presented Japanese dinner.

Pre-tip price was about $42 each, frankly an amazing bargain when you’ve had sushi in a lot of places in Vancouver, but also in Tokyo and Kyoto. Overall this has to be one of the best, maybe the best, restaurant on the Sunshine Coast. We will definitely be back.

Food 9.2, service 9.0, ambience 9.1, value 9.3, peace and quiet 9+ but may perk up once Covid restrictions lift.

About John Sloan

John Sloan is a senior academic physician in the Department of Family Practice at the University of British Columbia, and has spent most of his 40 years' practice caring for the frail elderly in Vancouver. He is the author of "A Bitter Pill: How the Medical System is Failing the Elderly", published in 2009 by Greystone Books. His innovative primary care practice for the frail elderly has been adopted by Vancouver Coastal Health and is expanding. Dr. Sloan lectures throughout North America on care of the elderly.
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