If you’re a fan of sushi — and I mean good sushi — you’ll be thrilled to know there’s a new hotspot for Japanese food in Calgary’s East Village. Nupo, chef Darren MacLean’s latest restaurant, features sustainable fish and plant-based dishes, creative tea-centric cocktails and sakes you can’t find anywhere else in town.
The contemporary restaurant is located in the Alt Hotel Calgary. The decor (done by Connie Young Design), with its clean lines and modern, minimalist aesthetic, provides a perfect backdrop for the menu, which is focused on clean eating.
In addition to a selection of fresh, imported sushi like Hokkaido scallop and konbu-cured white tuna belly, the restaurant also offers sushi fish that’s been dry-aged in-house for up to seven days. This unique-to-Calgary process enhances the flavour and texture of fish, and you can see the custom-built chamber for yourself at the back of the dining room.
There’s a “Plant” menu that features all vegetarian dishes, includes two house-made tofu dishes, a tempura green chickpea and curry fritter and a vegan “tonkotsu” ramen. And there’s also a “Fish” menu, with such creations as sake-steamed pink scallops and the highly Instagrammable boneless whole fish taco that comes with a selection of sauces and salsas, as well as nori, black shari sushi rice and jicama tortillas.
For the true sushi connoisseur, there’s the Omakase Sushi Experience, available by reservation only. This feast features 12 courses of precisely handcrafted single-piece sushi. And if you’re wondering “where’s the meat?”, note that the restaurant also offers one premium meat dish, which varies by the day, because this is Alberta, after all.
And speaking of Alberta, Nupo also houses Eight, a concept-dining space that showcases a fresh, modern expression of Canadian cuisine. “At Eight, I serve a style of Canadian food that focuses not only on the local ingredients but also the people who make up Canada’s cultural mosaic,” says MacLean. The eight-seat room is designed to host an interactive experience between guests and the chef, who will guide conversation about the contemporary Canadian table.