One of my trips downtown has awarded me with the discovery of a hidden gem of a restaurant. Please welcome: Solo Sushi Bekkan! Now in higher photo quality and with two new useful additions to the beginning of the post. 🙂
Location: 3 Grosvenor Street
Price: Can get a little pricey for lunch… good, though.
Phone #: (416) 925-3388
Hours of Operation: Mon-Fri: 11:30am-2:30pm & 5:00pm-9:30pm, Sat: 5:00pm-10:00pm
Woo! I haven’t been this excited about a write up in a while. This cozy, 20-seat Japanese restaurant is actually a place I’ve been meaning to blog about ever since I went a couple weeks ago. It’s slightly hard to find, considering it’s slightly off the main street and the entrance is a little hidden. If it helps, it’s on the other side of Kokyo! This establishment is actually an offshoot of the main branch, Solo Sushi Ya, in Newmarket.
From just entering the restaurant, you can tell that they put a little extra work in their design! It’s a nice change of pace from what you usually get at Japanese restaurants. Onto the food, my buddy and I decided we’d grab a shrimp tempura (dynamite) roll, spicy salmon roll, and a sashimi deluxe.
Yes, those are apple slices. Instead of the standard kind of salad you get at Japanese restaurants, Solo has opted to go with fresh mixed greens, topped with carrot, microgreens, and a vinegary ginger dressing that livens up the appetite.
The miso soup has a really rich and powerful aroma that jumps out at you right when you lift the small covering off the bowl.
These spicy salmon rolls were to die for. By the end of our meal, we actually got a second set of these just because we wanted more. The crunchy tempura bits, the spicy mayonnaise, and the fatty chunks of salmon all come together to make an excellent tasting roll. By the way, Solo’s soy sauce is house-made, and it is a little more sweet than what you usually get at other restaurants. I personally enjoy Solo’s soy sauce, but keep in mind that it’s not quite as salty as usual. So try a little first! The keen eye will also notice that their wasabi looks a lot more gooey than other restaurants. I find Solo’s wasabi to be more mild than other Japanese places, and easier to apply to the sushi.
These are not California rolls, even though they look similar. Instead of the fake crab, tempura shrimp has been placed into the roll along with mayonnaise for additional crunch and flavor. This roll is actually one of my favorites to get since it kind of resembles the soft shell crab roll (spider roll), but usually at a much more affordable price. Solo’s rendition doesn’t disappoint at all, being filled to the brim with delicious, bright flavors. This one took a while to come out because they actually went to fry up some fresh shrimp tempura. The crunch of the tempura as I downed it (rather quickly I may add) was a testament to their extra work.
Right… I was sharing with my friend, so we decided to get the Sushi Deluxe because we thought it’d be a big portion for the both of us. When it came, it was 9 slices. Bad idea! For the cost, this is a terrible, terrible deal even though the fish (maguro, salmon, and hamachi) was very fresh. I should have asked the waitress before ordering this. To note: this was $20! But the spicy salmon roll was $4.50. You could even theoretically get more ordering a la carte sashimi. In the appetizer section, you can get 6 pieces for $10. So essentially, we paid $9 for three extra slices. Terrible call. This is half my fault (for not clarifying) and half just a bad idea on Solo’s part, in my opinion. You don’t want customers feeling ripped off (and taking an extra look at the menu after ordering this really does that to you). And while I’m being lenient because I like the place for its other attributes, others might not be.
I guess this is one of the secrets of Japanese restaurants: you’ve got to know how to make the menu work for you. Solo’s already on the slightly more pricey side, so ordering off their pre-made combos might not always be the best idea. Lesson learned!
Conclusion: Even though I just launched a fairly large complaint for their “deluxe” sashimi combo, I’ve got to say that the service, ambiance, and food were all great. When I asked the sushi chef directly for an extra order of the rolls, I commented that we just had to because it was so good. He had a hearty laugh and ended up bringing us the rolls himself when he had finished making them. The waitress on duty never failed to keep our cups of water filled, and even though the sashimi combo was over-priced, every piece was indeed delicious. Next time though, I’ll remember to order smarter. For now, I’m going to give Solo an 8/10. Cheers!
Probably not but we’ll see how it goes. 😛