Walking around for extended amounts of time during the night time in December is usually a cold, drab experience. As such, instead of braving the frigid temperatures for extended periods of time to get to a restaurant that I knew, I recalled walking around town and finding a patch of untried restaurants extremely close to the ROM and St. Michael’s College. I thought to myself, “sometimes taking risks is a good thing!” Well, this time it was not.
Location: 54 Cumberland Street, Toronto
Price: Too expensive for what they were offering.
The experience started off cool enough. We walked in and there was a classic wooden sliding door that my girlfriend and I had to open to get inside. Upon entering though, I noticed that there was only one other table seated — in retrospect, I should have realized something was up. Interestingly enough, we were greeted by a hostess decked out in a traditional Japanese kimono, which I thought was cool, and soft traditional Japanese music was being played in the background. After a long look at the menu, we decided to order the Chirashi ($16.95) and the Shioyaki (salt, deep fried) salmon bento (9.95). Being one of the only two tables in the restaurant, our soup and salad came quickly enough.
Nothing especially unique. At this point of the meal, I was thinking that Shogun Sushi might be a good choice for people who wanted to have a more traditional Japanese Sushi experience with basic, but good flavors. Boy, was I wrong.
I’m saving the best for later, but for now, my girlfriend (who mysteriously always orders salmon when she eats out with me…) gave her appraisal. The meat was overcooked, dry, and not juicy at all. The gyoza were soggy since they had been left in the accompanying sauce for way too long, leaving the dumplings texturally unpleasant — not to mention, the only flavor we could discern was that of the sauce. Also, now that I look at this picture… That’s a pretty small (not delicious) salmon steak.
Absolutely terrible. The fish was not fresh — there were bones in my red snapper. The egg was mushy and gooey and cold and disgusting, the rice had been flavored oddly and tasted half like it had gone bad, the seaweed on the side was not fresh and thus soggy and chewy rather than crispy, and the plating, as you can see, was dismal. I was given about nine or ten pieces of fish that looked as if they had been cut with a sawblade rather than a proper knife (notice the rough edges on some of the fish.) Did I mention that it was $16.95? The Chirashi at Sushi Couture costs $13.95 at dinnertime and comes with fresh fish, more fish, and significantly cleaner plating. For $16.95 at dinner time, I can get this at Sushi Couture. Perhaps I am a little spoiled when it comes to value for my meal — but why eat at a bad place when I can eat at a good one for a lower price?
To finish off the meal, we were provided with some complimentary oranges. This seemed simple enough — but even when I picked up this orange, I noticed that the bottom had been mysteriously cut for no reason — there was some orange on it that I couldn’t get to, and if I poked my oranges too hard the bottom would fall off and orange juice would spill out. How can you mess up cutting an orange? I almost didn’t even want to tip at the end since I knew I’d never be going back, but my better half was kind enough to leave a tip anyways. Lucky for them.
Verdict: Guys, I think this has been my most negative review ever, and I think it will be the most negative review I will ever write for a long time. I almost titled this review Shogun Sushi: Sho ****. But not even I’m that mean. Trust me though, my review is negative is for good reason. New Generation or Sushi on Bloor or even Top Sushi would be significantly better choices.