Saturday, April 9, 2011

Bonus: Sushi Inn (1.5 km)

Sushi Inn

So tonight I was wandering around trying to figure out what to have for dinner, when I simultaneously realized two things: 1) I haven't had sushi in forever, and 2) I was only a couple blocks away from Sushi Inn. If I'd kept going with the Sushipalooza thing, Sushi Inn would've come in around Week 39 or so.

Sushi Inn is located on Cumberland in the heart of Yorkville. It's oddly separated into two levels that don't seem to be connected to each other at all, as if there just happen to be two restaurants with the same name located one above the other. Not sure what's up with that. I arbitrarily went into the upstairs one.

Ika Sugatayaki

Feeling slightly adventurous, I decided to get an appetizer that wasn't Mixed Tempura or Gyoza. Instead I got this lovely Ika Sugatayaki (grilled squid). It managed to avoid the rubbery fate that befalls too many squid dishes, and the ginger sauce was quite nice.

Sushi Inn Roll

Then, as usual, I picked some rolls off the Special Maki menu, starting with the "house special" Sushi Inn Roll. Made with eel, avocado, and salmon skin, I found it to be worthy of its headliner status. Definitely my favourite out of the dishes I ordered.

Kani Salad Roll

They also offered 3 variations on the Dragon Roll; I went with the salmon-topped version. The avocado was a little on the soft side, and the presentation was, shall we say, somewhat odd. But it was quite tasty. Not as good as the Sushi Inn roll, but enjoyable nevertheless. The Kani Salad Roll was visually quite appealing, but the flavour was a little underwhelming. Probably because it was wrapped in cucumber. Should've seen that coming.

There we go, one more sushi place down! At this rate, I will have been to every sushi place within a 2km radius of my house by 2019!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Bonus: Simon Sushi (2.0 km)

Simon Sushi

Hey, long time no sushi!

I'm not sure when or if I would've gotten as far as Simon Sushi on Spadina for Sushipalooza proper, but it's not so far away. Definitely one of the 100 closest sushi places to my house.

Yonge and U.T.

I built my meal at Simon Sushi by selecting a few of their alarmingly cheap maki rolls. The "Yonge Roll" featured tempura shrimp and pickled daikon radish or whatever that yellow stuff is. The "U of T Roll" had eel and avocado and cream cheese. What's that you say? Sounds weird? It was.

Tropical Delight

My favourite of the rolls was the promisingly named "Tropical Delight". I don't even remember what was inside, but it had mango on top. You can't go wrong with mango on top.

So yeah, Simon Sushi: pretty decent quality sushi at crappy sushi prices, which equals a bona fide bargain!

Does this writeup seem a little half-assed, after all these months of silence? So sue me. I'm tired. Goodnight!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Bonus: Sushi Queen Izakaya (1.0 km)

Sushi Queen Izakaya

If you've been following Sushipalooza since last year (why??), you may recall the sad tale of Mochizuki, which went out of business just before I got around to visiting it. Well something new has finally opened up in it's space. Is it a coffee shop? A haberdashery? A Kinkos? Heavens no, it's another sushi place!

Well actually a sushi place / izakaya, because izakayas are the hot food trend of summer 2010. Sushi Queen Izakaya an offshoot of the popular (I think) Sushi Queen on Queen St., but with some extra izakaya-y stuff on the menu. Also some additional wacky maki rolls. I love wacky maki!

Bacon + enoki

But first I got started with some wakame seaweed salad which much like any other wakame salad I've had (i.e. good). Then from the izakaya menu, a bacon enoki roll, which is exactly what it sounds like, assuming it sounds like enoki mushrooms wrapped in bacon and grilled. And also assuming it sounds tasty. Which it was.

Gay Paris

As it happens, Sushi Queen Izakaya is right up the street from the ill-fated Tatami Sushibar (still closed by the way, and still scattered with remnants of lunches left by fleeing diners), and they've really stepped in to fill the void in over-the-top presentation. Complete with a glowing bowl of sprouts in the middle of my plate of Paris Rolls. The rolls themselves were pretty good too; like inside-out spicy tuna and salmon rolls topped with lobster salad.

Hang Ten

But personally I preferred the Hawaiian Roll, which incidentally contained neither ham nor pineapple. Instead it was tempura shrimp, crab stick, cucumber and tobiko in a rice paper wrapping. Oh and mango I think. Was there mango? I forget. Well it was good either way. (Ed.: No mango, but salmon. Good thing I take pictures to refresh my memory!)

Sushi Queen Izakaya doesn't have the same fun atmosphere of the perpetually-packed Guu (which moved into Sushi Plaza's old digs a few months ago), but it does have some pretty decent food. And if you hustle, it's 20% off until the end of July, or something like that.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bonus: Tokyo Kitchen (0.9 km)

Tokyo Kitchen

You know, I'm not entirely sure why I didn't visit Tokyo Kitchen last summer during Sushipalooza proper. It was sitting right there, across the street from Masa on Charles St. Surely I couldn't have overlooked it while scouring the neighbourhood for sushi joints, and even if I did, I have a chat record of my friend telling me about it in the middle of the summer.

So I can only assume that I must have disqualified it for not primarily being a sushi restaurant. Which it's not; they do serve sushi, but it's buried at the back of the menu, behind pages of noodles, teriyakis, and Japanese curries. I probably could've made a case for including it, and certainly could've used it as an "extra"... but I didn't. And of course I have no recollection of any of this.

Not quite yakitori

But enough about my failing brain. Let's talk about Tokyo Kitchen. Unfortunately, I forget the names of most of the dishes I ordered. Failing brain, you know. Whatever this is called, it's a deep-fried skewer of pork belly. It was OK I guess.

Tokyo Kitchen

Still with the appetizers, and still deep-fried: little nuggets of chicken breast in a light batter that the menu claimed was soya sauce flavoured. Not pictured: my dining companion's seaweed salad -- not the usual wakame, but something featuring noodles and seaweed in a thick and rather sticky sauce. Much more appetizing than that sounds, I promise.

Japanese curry

All right then, on to the main course. I had a beef curry with potato croquettes. The curry was much milder than, say, an Indian curry, but quite yummy. The croquettes weren't bad either. Nice crispy coating and all, though basically just mashed potato inside, a little bland on its own. Good thing I had all that delicious curry to eat with it.

Aw, how did I not get a picture of dessert? It was pretty nice: ice cream and fruit and little cubes of some sort of gelatin stuff. Must've slipped my mind. Sigh.

As I think I demonstrated over the course of Sushipalooza, Yonge St. has a whole lot of cheap sushi restaurants. What it doesn't have so much of is actual Japanese food. If you're looking to move beyond the maki, perhaps you should give Tokyo Kitchen a try. It's hardly hiding at all!

(Someone was complaining recently that I never put restaurant addresses in my posts. That's because I'm too lazy to make a note of them. But Tokyo Kitchen is on Charles just east of Yonge, on the ground floor of the TPA garage.)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Update: Tatami Sushibar

You may recall a few weeks ago I checked out Tatami Sushibar at Yonge and Gould. Hey, I wonder how things are going for Tatami?

Uh-oh, this can't be good for business. Part of the wall above the restaurant collapsed in the middle of lunch time yesterday, causing quite a mess but apparently not injuring anybody. Today they had a demolition crew out there, pulling more of the building down before it came down on its own. The end result was a large pile of rubble (mostly) outside the restaurant.

Yeah, so looks like Tatami might be closed for a few days. Or much much longer, depending on the state of that building. Ouch.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Special: Golden Maki, Newmarket ON (52 km)

I'm clearly out of practice with this whole sushi-blogging thing, because I forgot a key part of the process at Newmarket's Golden Maki; I didn't get a picture of the outside of the place for the header. Oops. And it's so new I can't even steal a picture from Google Streetview. Oh well. It looks like a sushi restaurant in a suburban strip plaza.


At least I remembered to take pictures of the food. Like this "teriyaki maki" thing... at least I think that's what it was called. That's what it should've been called, anyway. It was enoki mushrooms wrapped in grilled beef. Sound good? It was.

Golden Maki

Appetizers dispensed with, we dug in to our maki course. The Rainbow Roll was pretty good, but the real hit of the meal was the "Golden" roll. It's beyond me why more places don't serve rolls with mango. It was mangotastic. My dining companions very nearly came to blows over the last piece.

Vegetarian Dragon

But we're not done with the maki yet. Next up was the Vegetarian Dragon roll. What a silly name, everybody knows dragons are princessavores. Name notwithstanding, it was a pretty nice roll, especially if you like tempura yam. And who doesn't?

Deep fried ice cream

But to heck with dinner, I only judge a sushi place by the quality of their desserts. And get a load of this deep-fried mango ice cream! Yeah, that's right, more mango. You wanna fight about it?

Newmarket isn't quite as thick with sushi joints as downtown Toronto, but between Solo Sushi Ya and now Golden Maki, you should be able to find something worth eating up there. So quit complaining.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Bonus: Tatimi Sushibar (0.9 km)

Tatami Sushibar

More than anything, this is a story about the oblivious haze in which I live most of my life.

Yesterday I was walking down Yonge St., and I was surprised to see a new sushi restaurant which I'd never noticed before. Now this kind of thing happens fairly frequently in Toronto, where sushi restaurants spring up with astonishing regularity, but I've walked past that intersection numerous times in the past few weeks -- including the night before -- and had never noticed any new sushi restaurant, or even a "coming soon" sign. It was as if it had materialized literally overnight. Hell, maybe it did.

The sushi place in question is Tatami Sushibar which, like Sushi Shop, is apparently an import from Montreal. Which I guess explains that "The Chaud" on my bill. "What Chaud," I thought. "I didn't order any Chauds."

Katsu Tofu

What I did order was a Wonton Miso Soup, which was pretty good and gets extra points for the little chunks of shitake mushrooms floating in it. Also some Katsu Tofu, because it's been like 3 weeks since I last had deep-fried tofu.

Tatami's selection of maki and nigiri isn't super extensive, but they have enough interesting things to choose from. I got a Dragon Ball roll, with tempura shrimp and crab stick, as well as a smoked salmon filled Vancouver Roll served with a side of cream cheese mayo for dipping. Oh yeah, and some unagi nigiri. Am I too predictable?

Feast your eyes

Now I've seen quite a bit of sushi over the past 9 months or so. Some of it has been crammed onto a big platter, some of it has been elegantly plated, but this... this has got to take the cake as the most over-the-top fancy presentation in all of Sushipalooza. Just look at that! All those little sticks holding up the sour cherries and whatnot were made out of fried noodles or something similar and technically edible. I picked them all out before it even occurred to me to use them to eat the sushi like popsicles. Now that would've been the classy thing to do!

Yes we have fried bananas

And finally, we come to the semi-traditional sushi dessert of fried banana drizzled with honey. I think I might have preferred it drizzled with chocolate, but whatever, honey's good too.

So that's Tatami: King and Spadina style on a Yonge and Carlton budget! Or something like that. Hey, you can use that slogan guys, free of charge!

And yes, I know, I still haven't gone to Japango. I'll get to it...