Volcano Restaurant

Volcano is in a great location for those living south of Whyte Avenue–easily accessible by Calgary Trail and Gateway Boulevard, the restaurant offers both Japanese and Vietnamese cuisine in a well-decorated, spacious building. The combination of Asian flavour offerings is unusual but not unheard-of in our city, where one can get Korean short ribs at many Japanese restaurants, or enjoy a Pad Thai served up alongside a Curry Laksa.

When we arrived at the event, we were greeted with a glass of prosecco and given a chance to grab a seat at one of the many tables. The food samplings were laid out in platters: sushi, sashimi, and maki on one side of the table, short ribs, spring rolls, and pork chops on the other. The divide was interesting but not unwelcome–it’s nice to be able to pair cool raw fish with a cooked item or two.

I took a little bit of everything, grabbed a sake caesar, and sat down with my plate of goodies. Everything was good, although the short ribs will always come up tops for me. The tuna sashimi was light and fluffy, as it should be, and the unagi maki was filled with flavour.

We were lucky enough to witness the ribbon cutting ceremony, introduced by Ingrid Schifer de Dennis from Schif and the City and followed by a brief speech from the owner of Volcano. The event also had a photo booth set up by Mojo Photo, which was a great way to document the occasion (other than the usual flurry of tweets and food photos, of course).

I haven’t had a chance to try the full menu yet, but I’d rate Volcano as a tasty, reliable Japanese/Vietnamese restaurant based on my experience at the grand opening. I don’t feel like I can give it a fair rating until I dine there on a regular night, so my apologies for not including the usual wine glass ratings at the end of this post.

The prices are in the mid- to high-range for a sushi restaurant, so I’d estimate prices to be around $40-50 per person for sushi (depending on how much you can eat) and around $15-20 per person for Vietnamese. They also offer a variety of Western and Chinese dishes, including brunch omelettes and chicken stir fry. The menu on the website doesn’t appear to be working at the moment, but you can view their full offering on SkipTheDishes.ca.

Volcano Edmonton
4226 Gateway Blvd.
Edmonton, AB T6K 7J1
(780) 756-2218

HONG HUONG VIETNAMESE RESTAURANT

It’s a weekend morning. Or afternoon. You’re not quite sure because the pounding behind your eyeballs is making it difficult to focus on your cell phone. You’re feeling a bit rough (but who wouldn’t after all those shots of Belvedere and your stint as queen of Flip Cup?) and you know–you just know–you need to eat some pho.

It seems as if pho is rapidly overtaking dim sum as the most popular brunchy Asian food and, luckily for Edmontonians, there’s no shortage of places to park your butt and eat some noodle soup.

We recently decided to give Hong Huong Vietnamese Restaurant, a small place on the outskirts of Clareview, a try. To be concise, it was pretty good. It didn’t blow me away, but I did have a good, solid meal.

One of the things that I really liked about this restaurant was the amount of natural light streaming in through the restaurants windows, which covered most of the building’s facade. It makes the restaurant seem more friendly, while also setting the scene for some great food photography.

Our table may have been sticky, but the service was decent. They were reasonably fast with our orders: a 6-colour bowl for Taner and soup with rare beef, flank, and brisket for me. The bun bowl exploded with meats: pork, beef, chicken, shrimp, and meatballs, all accompanied with the usual spring rolls. The pho was less colourful but just as tasty. I generally prefer a darker, full-bodied soup for my pho (as I like my wine)–Hong Huong’s soup was much lighter but was full of flavour. The rare beef had unfortunately already cooked to well done by the time it got to my table, but I ate it with relish regardless.

The vietnamese coffee was much too sweet for either of us to drink, so that was left mostly untouched. Everything else, though, was great. We were happy with the food, content with the service, and pleased with our overall experience. As with most Vietnamese restaurants, the prices are extremely reasonable. For two meals and a coffee, our bill came under $30. Bargain!

If you live in the south or west end of the city, you probably won’t need to make the trek to Clareview for a great bowl of pho. If you’re a northsider, though, give it a shot. It’s about time that you tried something other than Namao Centre’s Pho Hoan Pasteur or 97 Street’s Pho Song Huong.

Hong Huong Vietnamese Restaurant
14425 Miller Boulevard NW
Edmonton, AB T5Y 0L4
(780) 476-3024
Sun-Thurs: 11am-9pm
Fri-Sat: 10am-9pm 

 3.5/5