Zest serves up innovative Japanese

By Grace Cheung,
Special to The Post 
Spot prawn season is one of my favourite times of the year. To celebrate nature’s bounty, I decided to try Zest in the Arbutus Ridge neighbourhood. The contemporary Japanese restaurant is a local favourite, and after my first visit, I know why.
Spot prawns, known for being sweet and firm, are delicious when handled right, and the kitchen at Zest knows just how to handle these seasonal treats. Just a bit of wasabi to bring out the sweetness is all you need, as I experienced with my first dish of the night.
I also tried the Deep Fried Spot Prawn Heads. They are crispy, golden nuggets of prawn heads were crunchy and tasty. We also tried the Sashimi Salad, which is had a lot of greens and seaweed, accompanied by salmon, tuna, and surf clam in a light ginger soy dressing. This dish had a great blend of textures and flavours, but the salmon was a standout for me.
We also ordered a hot dish, and settled on the Wild Sable Fish. The fish is perfectly cooked and flakey, while the seared skin has a hint of smokiness and a touch of crispiness. The kale and beets highlight the sweetness of the fish. It was my second favourite of the night and I highly recommend this dish. 
Perhaps the most disappointing dish of the night was the Zest Roll. The contents are albacore, sockeye, salmon skin, cucumber, and one of my favourites, tobiko. What ruined the roll for me was the soft (almost chewy) seaweed, and the lack of flavour overall. The salmon skin was also soft, and added to the general sogginess of the roll. The fish was fresh enough, but the execution of the roll was lacking.
Overall though, I enjoyed my first visit to Zest.  
Grace Cheung is a leading food blogger on Urban Spoon. Read more of her reviews at www.xmasbb.blogspot.ca.
2775 West 16 Avenue, Vancouver
Take Note:
• Zest is situated in a strip mall with a Starbucks, but the prices defy this humble settling. 
• Courses are served one at a time, so you can enjoy each dish as it comes. 
• Get a seat at the sushi bar and chat with the chefs
• Zest is affiliated with Shu Raku in Downtown Vancouver
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