Back in the summer, Zen moved from its Scarborough location to Markham. Since I live closer to the old location, I’ve always wondered what became of it! Today, I went back to find out.
Location: 2803 Eglinton Ave East
Phone #: 416-265-7111
Hours of Operation: Tue-Fri 11:30 am – 2:00 pm, Tue-Sat 5:30 pm – 9:30 pm
I was really hoping for the best here, so I ended up going for the omakase course for one.
The waitress claimed that these tomatoes were of the kumato variety, which comes from an especially flavourful variant of tomato originally developed in Spain. While it lacked the distinguishably dark hue that a kumato usually had, it still had a nice flavour to it. It also came with Shiso sugar (nice) and red wine salt (which made one of my tomato slices too salty).
Yuzu zest, sweet scallops, and small shrimps (that didn’t have their shells off). The soup was flavourful, but really just a miso soup at the end of the day.
This was aggressively flavourful and not something I’ve ever seen at a Japanese place before. This dish is what really showed me that Nakamori was a very different beast from Zen. The flavours were interesting and unique.
Don’t worry, that minced pink stuff on the steak is just grated radish, which was cooked to a nice medium rare. The Teriyaki sauce wasn’t too sweet and the steak was fairly tender. It also came with a Japanese version of caesar salad using watercress, parmesan, and a fried tofu crouton. The tofu had a rather interesting crispy/jerky-esque texture throughout but was quite bland.
This tempura shrimp with its mountain of batter and sea of wasabi mayo was once again quite powerfully flavoured. It actually didn’t taste half-bad, but I question the need to douse something in that much sauce! Next to it was a jerk spice chicken karaage. Once again, aggressively seasoned and somewhat overwhelming for the palate. Also, it was a tiny bit bitter.
Quite fresh. The scallop was nice and sweet, but the highlight for this part was the mackerel. This was probably the best part of the meal for me — kind of wish Chef Nobu focused more on showcasing his product.
Freezerburn ice cream complete with extreme crystallization! Somewhat crunchy! Wow!
TL;DR: It seems I got slightly angry as I wrote this. Pretty much everything I had was very powerfully seasoned and I lost a sense of the actual quality of the product. The sushi is still ok and if I ever do come back, I think I’m just going to stick to the maki and nigiri. I probably won’t be back any time soon though.