One day, I went to an exam too early. Now, instead of doing last minute studying, I decided to do something far more productive — an early dinner to fill me up before my test!
Location: 168 Major Street
Located slightly off all the cheap Sushi joints in the Annex sector, Akai is a fairly small Korean-run Japanese restaurant close to the University of Toronto’s West end. We all know what I’m comparing Akai to when I go here! (Hint: SUSHI COUTURE) And I think that it holds up. I’d say that it’s Sushi Couture-lite, but this place is actually more expensive than Sushi Couture, so… Anyways! As usual, I decided to order the Chirashi to try this place out. I’d get a good taste of their rice along with a variety of fresh fish.
We all know that most Japanese places come with the standard miso soup and salad, so I’ll skip that today since they were both pretty average in favor of these more Korean-styled appetizers.
There was a perfect amount of frying done for the tofu, and the teriyaki sauce overtop added additional flavor to the otherwise bland tofu. Meanwhile, the thin strands of potato ended up being delicately cooked: retaining its shape in your chopsticks, and easily falling apart in your mouth. A good way to start off the meal.
Imitation crab, BC tuna, tuna, seared tuna, salmon and butter fish and egg were the offerings that came with this Chirashi. All the fish was quite fresh, and I felt like for $15.95, this was a fair amount of fish. In fact I kind of feel like they could have used a bigger bowl or something since it was really hard to get to the rice until I got ‘got rid’ of some of my fish. A personally preference of mine is that I don’t like my dishes to look like they’re stuffed to the brim — some might disagree, but I just feel like it’s kind of messy. I also feel like the fish was all at a warmer temperature than I would like — even though it was definitely fresh, it was almost lukewarm as opposed to gently cool.
I realize that these are minor gripes, but I feel like they add up. It’s important to think about everything: not just how fresh your fish is. How you present it, how you serve it… those things factor in as part of the meal too! Still, this was a solid meal.
As I was getting the bill, the waitress came over with this pretty little dollop of mango ice cream, cream, and wedges of fresh fruit all in a fine-looking glass. I feel like this was a nice gesture to end the meal, and the ice cream didn’t seem like it had been frozen forever or anything. Good stuff!
Conclusion: Yeah guys if you’re close to the AC or something this is a pretty cool place to try out. Definitely better than New Gen or Sushi on Bloor, though it’ll cost you $5-$6 more. There’s also a dessert bistro really close by if you’re into indulging on fancy-looking desserts. 8/10 Cheers!