[Ann Arbor] Pacific Rim By Kana

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Pacific Rimwww.pacificrimbykana.com
Address: 114 W. Liberty Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Verdict: Food is worth the dent in your wallet but don’t get dessert here
Will return: Definitely
What to get:
   – Tuna Tartare
   – Sablefish

I thought I would start my inaugural post with one of my favorite and most frequented restaurants, Pacific Rim By Kana in Ann Arbor where I went to college. I have tried the majority of dishes on this menu at least once (some repeatedly) and can say the quality is very consistent.

The appetizer portions are small and ideal for splitting between two or three people as the amount of food can vary from 1-3 pieces. Any more than that, you will have to start cutting pieces up. The entree portions can be eaten alone or split with another person depending on how hungry you are.

Tuna Tartare with Taro Chips ($10) 
Sashimi-grade tuna mixed with avacado, wakame seaweed, scallions, and togarashi, with taro chips.

This is one of the best tuna tartares I have had. The ingredients of the tartare come together very nicely and they use good fish. The taro chips are a really great complement. Get this.

Tuna Tartare with Taro Chips

Southeast Asian Crabcakes ($11) 
Crabmeat with diced jicama, red bell peppers and scallions, with a cilantro-lime sauce.

When my friend suggested we get the crab cake, I was pretty skeptical. Crabcake is one of those dishes that is usually a safe bet to get but also tastes pretty much the same everywhere. But the sauce on this really brings it home. You will be soaking every last bit of it up with your crackcake crabcake. Trust me.

Southeast Asian Crabcakes

Pork Belly (can’t remember price)
This looks really good right? It’s not. I don’t see this on the menu anymore so it might have been a special. As a Shanghainese, I am a huge fan of pork belly and I have had my share of pork belly both at home and at restaurants. Perhaps I am a bit biased but this was nothing special. It came in one small piece and my friend and I had to cut it in half. The flavor and texture just weren’t quite there.

Pork Belly

Taro-Mushroom Pierogi ($7) 
Housemade taro-Chinese mushroom pierogi with caramelized fennel and shiitakes and a wasabi sour cream. Meh. Tasted like a regular pierogi. I would not recommend getting this.

L-R: Tuna Tartare with Taro Chips, Southeast Asian Crabcakes, Pork Belly, Taro-Mushroom Pierogi.

Coconut Curry Soup (Cup $3, Bowl $5)
Coconut-green curry coup with sweet potatoes, butternut squash and shiitakes. This had a very unmistakably Thai taste to it but it wasn’t executed well. The soup was really watery and didn’t hold the flavor well; the whole thing tasted very diluted. I didn’t like this and everyone at the table all preferred the butternut squash soup to this.

Pacific Rim Ann Arbor

Butternut Squash Soup (Seasonal)
This is a butternut squash puree soup topped with creme fraiche. It is a seasonal soup and is not on the menu but your server will tell you about it when it is available. While the coconut curry soup was very watery, this is rich and creamy. I really like this and would recommend getting a cup for yourself or a bowl to share.

Pacific Rim Ann Arbor

Five-Spice Duck ($28) 
Pan-seared duck breast and duck confit risotto with a Chinese 5-spice reduction sauce and Shanghai bok choy. This was good but pretty standard. This tastes similar to what you would find at most restaurants that cook duck like this. If you are looking to try something unique, this is not it.

Pacific Rim Ann Arbor
Five-Spice Duck

Seared Big Eye Tuna ($28)
Lightly seared big eye tuna with ginger-miso sauce, wasabi oil, julienned jicama salad and crispy sushi rice. The flavors of this dish is reminiscent of a sushi roll; I usually describe this dish to my friends as a deconstructed tuna roll.

The tuna is seared on the outside and raw inside. The rice is crispy on the side but mostly still mostly soft and sticky. The sauces really make this dish. I generally don’t like ginger but I can stand the ginger-miso sauce (orange color) and the wasabi sauce (green) rounds the dish out nicely. I like this very much because it is quite an interesting and delicious concept. For entrees, I recommend this and the sablefish.

Pacific Rim Ann Arbor

Japanese-Style Sablefish ($28)
Sablefish marinated in miso and sake, pan-roasted with a soy-tamarind sauce and served over a bed of rice, sauteed nappa cabbage, shiitake mushrooms, and Korean vermicelli noodles.
I seriously have a love affair with this dish. I come to Pacific Rim to eat this. The cooking and flavoring of the sablefish are really well executed and just melts in your mouth. Sablefish has a high fat content so it is a tastier fish so to speak. Unless you are deathly allergic to fish, you have no reason to not get this.

Japanese-Style Sablefish

Let me preface the dessert section by saying I hate cherries. I also really don’t like ginger. So I can never have dessert at Pacific Rim (but I did try them). If you are also like me, don’t get dessert here. Go down the street to La Dolce Vita for dessert instead.

Warm Chocolate Cake (Front) and Crème Brûlée Tasting (Back)

Warm Chocolate Cake ($8)
Bittersweet chocolate cake with toasted coconut-Kahlúa ice cream and sake-macerated cherries.

You have to order this in advance because they make the cake from scratch. Your server will tell you this when you order and will remind you again when your entree comes out. I have thought about asking them to make it without the cherries but honestly it’s a main component of the dessert so it’s all or not at all. Everything except the cherry part is really good though.

Crème Brûlée Tasting ($8)
Three miniature variations of crème brûlée.

The flavors I had were passion fruit, ginger, and green tea. My friend who went on a different occasion had vanilla, ginger, and green tea so they may have switched out passion fruit for vanilla. The green tea was good but the passion fruit and ginger were not good.