So, I don’t really post much anymore, but I felt the need to spread the word about a nice new place that I recently discovered. Enjoy.
Location: 11 Charles Street W
Phone #: (416) 923-1888
Hours of Operation: Mon-Thurs – 11:00AM-10:00PM, Fri-Sat 11:00AM-11:00PM, Sun 11:00AM-10:00PM
From what I read prior to posting this review, it’s run by more people who used to be from Japango. The quality of the fish in comparison to the fairly low price point, along with its relative closeness to UofT make it a pretty appealing choice for students on Campus. (Or it should!)
After being greeted in a loud, friendly way by the two owners, I had a quick gander at the menu and opted for my usual Chirashi Sushi. By the way, lunch here goes on until 4:30PM! I also asked what was fresh, and ended up going with Aji (horse mackerel) that they’d gotten on the same day. I was presented with the usual miso soup and salad, and since they look the same as all the other miso soup and salads I’ve had, I don’t feel the need to post a picture. I will say however that the miso soup was intensely flavorful, and that the dressing used for the salad was a little sweeter (and more delicious) than usual.
My Chirashi arrived soon after, and I was definitely surprised by the presentation. It was good though, since sometimes the traditional method of presenting Chirashi makes it somewhat difficult to get to the rice. I actually had trouble getting all of it in one shot, so I took pictures from other angles. Yay!
The egg scattered over the rice had been made with mirin, which made it a little sweet to the taste, with a nice creamy texture. A few pellets of salmon roe were added as well to increase presentation appeal — always a nice touch. The sea bream and the escolar had both been blowtorched — while I found the escolar a little over-torched, which meant that the normally fatty, supple piece of meat had gotten a tad overcooked. As such, it resembled the kind of fish I usually eat at say a Chinese place… not my kind of white fish, though I’ll chalk it up to the fact that anyone can make mistakes. The sea bream however had been torched nicely and laid out on a cucumber arch, which was refreshing to bite into after the slight charred, crispy quality of the sea bream. The shrimp was presented uniquely, kind of like a single cocktail shrimp, and it was very succulent. It made me want more, which is always a good thing — and they had definitely cooked the head a little as well just to make sure that we could eat it with no regrets. I do like the attention to detail.
The star of the show was undoubtedly the BC Tuna, which had a much more velvety and smooth feel to it. I feel that it is likely marinated or worked on in-house because any attempts at trying to use soy sauce would simply make the tuna too salt. Instead, eating this one as is will probably bring about the perfect flavor profile!
The a la carte option I’d decided on arrived soon afterwards and damn was it fresh. I literally had to close my eyes and ever so slowly chew, feeling the texture of the delectable morsel and its rich flavors slowly mingling with my taste buds.
This is the Kaisen Don Meal. It’s a little cheaper than the regular Chirashi, but very filling and filled to the brim with delicious tasting fish.
Pretty standard teriyaki sauce, well-cooked salmon, peppery. The plus of this is that many Japanese places usually charge more for their salmon teriyaki over their chicken/beef teriyaki. This place does not, offering three large chunks of salmon to dig into. I might prefer the cooked food elsewhere, though.
Final Thoughts: You know, when someone comes out of retirement to blogpost about a place… it likely means that it really did taste good. Check it out folks — you won’t be disappointed. Do remember to call in or something if you’re going during peak business hours, I do imagine it fills up fast. Happy eating folks.