After two years in development and much anticipation, Bamboo Izakaya opened last October on NE Alberta, giving our Asian-drinking-snacks-obsessed city another place to satisfy our cravings for the salty, savory, fatty Japanese foods that go so great with booze. But it turns out we are more hungry for sushi than skewers cooked on authentic binchotan charcoal grills, and after six months of watching sushi-demanding customers walk out the door, the sustainability-minded Bamboo team is waving the white flag and transitioning the restaurant to a third Bamboo Sushi outpost.
A statement from founder Kristofor Lofgren reads:
"Each evening since we've opened, we receive countless requests for sushi. We kindly let the guests know that sushi is not something that Izakaya offer and that we are sure they will find something to delight their palate at Bamboo Izakaya. Without fail, almost every one of those guests leave to go and find sushi. Overall, the Izakaya, while a fun and delicious concept, does not carry the same appeal that sushi does."
Although some of the izakaya's dishes will appear on the menu after the transition to Bamboo Sushi, Lofgren says the charcoal grills are going away because they produce too much soot for a sushi bar and they don't fit in the kitchen. So if you want one more chance to eat the much-loved salted mackerel, get in there before the izakaya closes this Saturday, March 21. After a brief remodel to install the sushi bar, the restaurant will reopen April 2 as Bamboo Sushi.
As for the West End space that was supposed to become Bamboo Izakaya #2, Lofgren says they're keeping the location, but aren't ready to reveal what they have planned for it. Stay tuned.