FAMO Sandwich Creations (Toronto)


When Chef Babak Fami told his wife Shabnam Moier he wanted his own restaurant, she listened and supported him. What type of restaurant? Even though he worked at Terroni, Chef Fami had no desire to cook Italian. Instead, he wanted an inclusive menu where numerous cultures were represented and to share the diversity through a sandwich. Eighteen months later, FAMO (a combination of Fami and Moier’s surnames) finally greets Queen East.

I know what you’re thinking … sandwiches? What’s special about that? FAMO stays away from the overdone BLT and cold cuts. Instead, you’ll find ingredients like beef cheeks, lamb and tongue. Moreover, each incorporates spices, herbs or ingredients from different cultures so they’re global sandwiches. Oh my!

In tribute to our city, the Six ($13) takes beef tongue and braises it in red wine for hours until it becomes a flavourful piece of meat. For those who haven’t tried this part of the cow before, when prepared correctly, it’s like eating beef tenderloin.

After thinly slicing the tongue, it’s topped with truffle mayo, arugula slaw and red onions. Overall, a delicious combination of flavours – the truffle essence is evident but not the first thing you taste. However, the tongue does get lost between all the ingredients and thick bread. Perhaps a different bun or more meat would help.

The Cheek and Bun ($13) consists of slow braised beef cheek and caramelized onion – already a good start in my books – then adds arugula slaw for a bit of crunch and freshness. Of course, the beef is succulent and tender and this one of the more flavourful sandwiches I tried.


Since the East Ender ($12) uses chicken breast for the base, the meat is drier than what you’d expect from pulled chicken, but is lighter tasting and seems healthy. I love the spicy mango slaw that tops the creation, which adds a tropical twist and interest to this safer sandwich. If their vinegary hot sauce is available that day, be sure to grab plenty as it goes great with the chicken.


Although they’re all good, my favourite is the Famous Lamb ($13), which pays homage to the owners’ Persian heritage. In between the crusty toasted baguette are thick slices of slow roasted lamb leg rubbed in earthy spices such as cloves. Topped with a fragrant turmeric onion slaw this is a tasty sandwich. It goes even better with some of FAMO’s house made green chili hot sauce, just use it sparingly … it’s powerful.


Chef Fami tries to keep the sides that come with their sandwiches healthy with a variety of slaws (beet, fennel or green apple). Even the FAMO fries won’t leave you feeling guilty since they’re blanched and only fried once, instead of the multiple dips that competitors often rely on. Despite only one kiss with the hot oil, the wedges are crispy. Made with huge wedges of fingerling potatoes, these fries are hearty and will leave you full.


Drinks are affordable with $5 red or white wine that’s chosen to complement their sandwiches. For a non-alcoholic alternative, try the Station cold brew coffee ($4.50), which steeps the ground coffee in water for 18 hours so there’s no risk of scalding the beans. The coffee is so mellow, but still flavourful, I drank it black. 


Even though sandwiches are made-to-order, they’re finished quickly so it makes for a quick lunch. Additionally, FAMO’s dining area has long communal tables so you can sit and eat if you’re not taking out. Plus, you'll get to check out the heritage fireplace that the owners preserved when restoring the building. 


Shabnam is pleased with the great feedback they’re receiving from the neighbourhood. She notes they’re sticking with the seven sandwiches and burger for now. But, every week there’s also a special creation and depending on its popularity, may become part of the permanent fixture. Moreover, office lunches may soon get tastier as FAMO expects to start catering later in December. Goodbye cold cuts, hello tongue and cheeks!

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10
Disclaimer: The above meal was complimentary. Rest assured, as noted in my mission statement, I will always provide an honest opinion.


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 122 Sherbourne Street
 Website: www.famo.ca

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____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:

FAMO Sandwiches Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chantecler (Toronto)



Even as Chantecler completed a transformation in 2016 – their menu evolving from Asian fusion small plates to French traditional mains - its popularity hasn’t waned; a dinner weekend visit was just as busy as two year’s prior. In terms of décor, little has changed: the dining room is still cozy and dimly lit, the vintage stove still going strong.

Their gougères ($5) have taken a dive – the puffs need to be warmer and incorporate more cheese. Whereas previously it had a molten centre, the innards for these is like a buttery bite of brioche, hardly the bite-sized treat I was expecting.


With the first taste of the soft almost mushy steak tartare ($12), I was on the fence. But, once it was scooped onto the crunchy crostini and the hits of chopped gherkins came through, there was enough texture to balance out the meat. Incorporating tons of spices and a large raw egg yolk, the tartare is rich. With its hefty portion, this starter is made for sharing.


The half duck with crepes ($32) arrived with a pan seared duck breast and salty confit leg. Both were cooked wonderfully, the skin extremely crispy and well rendered while the meat remaining juicy and tender. 


If only the chive crepes weren’t ice cold the dish would be excellent. When wrapping the duck, having your first taste be a chilly foamy shell isn’t appetizing. Really Chantecler, if you’re not going to at least re-heat the crepes … just leave them out.


Their roasted cauliflower ($6) is made for people who normally don’t eat vegetables. Slathered in a creamy cheese sauce and topped with chopped almonds for crunch, the side could easily stand in for mac ‘n’ cheese.


Surprisingly, Chantecler has a boring dessert menu consisting of two choices that really don’t elicit excitement. What a disappointment given there are so many French pastries to choose from and we saved room for a sweet ending. Nonetheless, what they lack in choice, they compensate by executing the two options very well.

The custard in the lemon parfait ($8) was luscious and smooth, its tartness balanced by the cookie crumble and vanilla whipped cream. You don’t get that hit at the back of your throat that makes you squint, instead after a taste I instantly wanted another spoonful.

Despite not being a fan of flourless chocolate torte ($12), Chantecler’s was delicious. The espresso cream added interest against the rich smooth ganache and the blackberry with cassis (a red current liqueur) lightening the dessert a bit.


Chantecler’s laid back vibe makes the restaurant ideal for catching up with friends (although a small group suggested as the loud music makes it impossible to speak to more than four). You can even dine alone, grabbing a seat along the bar. Their open concept kitchen will keep you entertained or have you wondering if you should swap out the stainless steel gas range for a cute old-fashioned electric stove instead.  

Overall mark - 8 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 1320 Queen Street West

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:



Chantecler Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Entice Culinary Lounge (Toronto)

Entice Culinary Lounge’s current menu incorporates an assortment of cultures and flavours. Normally, I’m skeptical … really, can a chef actually master such different dishes and create something delicious? Truly, the creations aren’t traditional or authentic (such as our main of Korean beef ribs), but the menu reads like the popular dishes from each custom curated into one. The result: it’s not easy deciding what to order because so many items sound enticing.

Even as the cast iron calamari ($15) was presented, I could tell it was cooked perfectly - the hot pan gave it a quick sear, leaving the protein tender.  Since the squid wasn’t grilled, there’s not a strong smoky flavour, instead, the crispy garlic pesto shone through. Dots of fried capers were a nice contrast and the diced lemon segments a tart surprise, rather than the typical lemon wedge.

Despite the beef patties being cooked through (ideal for those who are squeamish about pink meat), the sliders ($15) were still juicy thanks to the bacon lardon pieces mixed into the beef. The flavourful patty held up against the slice of sharp cheddar, tangy pickles, and chili mix on top.


Entice’s mains certainly don’t lack flavour. The Korean beef ribs ($27) had the customary sweet garlicky soy marinade with the caramelized barbeque char. Even the shoestring fries were topped with ample amounts of chopped kimchi for a sharp acidity; the spicy pungent vegetable means you definitely don’t need ketchup. Meanwhile, the vinegary Asian slaw was cooling, cutting against the rich tacky ribs.


The sea bream ($27) was an excellent suggestion from our waitress, the fish’s skin so crispy it could have doubled for a chip, while the mild fish still moist. On the bottom, the zucchini noodles were light and satisfying; the roasted rapini and fennel adding an earthiness to the otherwise summery dish. Yet, I couldn’t help marvel over the lemon squeezing gadget – helps keep fingers citrus free while extracting so much juice from one thin slice.


Even the desserts were tempting. Since we couldn’t settle on one, we had the peanut butter Nanaimo ($10) and pumpkin fritters ($10). The Nanaimo arrives deconstructed, the plate includes all the staple ingredients: milk chocolate, coconut chocolate cookies and a peanut butter cream. As an added bonus, there was a light coconut sorbet that had virtually no sweetness except for the natural coconut milk.

Although deconstructed desserts look pretty, I’m always disappointed with the final output – the ingredients are everywhere and in the wrong proportions. Even though I try to get a bit of each element, the ultimate outcome is never as good as having the actual dessert. In this case, I really wanted a taste of the dense creaminess generally found in the dessert, but ended up tasting coconut sorbet mixed into hard cookie bits.

Luckily, the simple pumpkin fritters hit the spot. The warmth helped permeate the spices within the dough so you can smell and taste the cloves and cinnamon. They were also dense enough that even as the maple ice cream was melting, the fritters didn’t become soggy, rather it just seemed like a pool of sauce for the doughnuts.


For those who prefer drinking their sweets, Entice even has a selection of dessert cocktails: the il ciocclato sounds like an adult hot chocolate (complete with marshmallows) and the smashing pumpkins a warmed rum drink incorporating pumpkin puree and sweet potato syrup.

For cocktail aficionados, you need to try the liberations at Entice Culinary Lounge. The city has really stepped up with great drinks and Entice doesn’t disappoint with unique and exciting concoctions. The entire bar staff came together to develop ideas for the menu and even make many of the syrups and infusions for the drinks.

Take the Beauty and the Beast ($14), the cocktail starts with Pinot Noir that reduces by a third before adding hibiscus syrup and further concentrating in half. It’s put together with a shot of scotch (what I like to think is the Beast of the cocktail), except the Pinot Noir mellows the mixture and the drink tastes of Christmas morning. Inside, the cocktail is adorned with an edible hibiscus flower, which reminds me of the Chinese red preserved plums. Although the sprig of rosemary used as the stem of the flower is a clever idea, I found it overpowered the drink’s aroma; to really appreciate the cocktail, I ended up removing the rosemary. 


1001 Nights ($14) was concocted for the owner’s mother, who enjoys a tasty drink that’s not overly sweet. Somehow, she and I have the same taste. You can tell there’s tequila in the cocktail but along with Amaro Nonino, sage and cucumber, it’s but a whisper in the background.

What I appreciated most about the drink was the use of saffron, which is rarely incorporated into cocktails. The prized spice was to pay homage to the mother’s Persian heritage, with large strands frozen into the ice cube so that as it melts the spice melds into the drink. Even the sugar surrounding the rim is infused with saffron so that it’s the first taste that hits the tongue.

Justin Cleva, new Executive Chef of Entice, reveals that diners can expect the menu to change in December: with the cold weather, they’ll be adding comfort foods, but done in the elevated Entice fashion. Who knows, maybe it’ll become a collaborative effort again. If it’s anything like inventiveness of the cocktail menu, we’re all in for a treat.

Overall mark - 8 out of 10
Disclaimer: The above meal was complimentary. Rest assured, as noted in my mission statement, I will always provide an honest opinion.


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 1036 Queen Street West

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:


Entice Culinary Lounge Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

East Thirty-Six's cocktail hour (Toronto)


As you toil away at your job, the promise of an after work drink is so enticing … a carrot leading you to the end of the day. There’s no shortage of establishments across downtown Toronto that will supply you the drink, but to find a place that allows reservations, is cozy and friendly, and offers everything at reasonable prices is rare.

Hence, when I first heard about East Thirty-Six two years ago, the promise of $8 martinis beckoned (regular pricing also included in this post). Every day from 4-7pm, you can head there for a cheap but still expertly made martini ($8) or mixed bar rail drink ($5). If you’d rather keep it simple, they also offer $5 pints.


The St-Germain ($13) is my typical go-to cocktail with a gin base enhanced with St-Germain elderflower liqueur. The addition of sweetened lemon juice keeps it fresh while the cava makes everything light and bubbly.


Meanwhile, if you enjoy gin and tonics, you have to try the Apothecary ($13). Combining two gins, the classic Hayman’s London dry and their sloe gin variety (steeps the liquor with sloe berries so there’s a vibrant red colour), the drink takes on a lovely pink hue without the use of overly sweet cranberry juice or grenadine. With a hint of rosemary mixed with lemon, I love the citrusy herbal flavours in the cocktail.


As the cold weather begins, the Night Capp (spelling mistake intended) couldn’t come quick enough. By combining coffee vanilla infused bourbon, macadamia nut syrup and a freshly brewed hot shot of espresso, before being topped with hot foamed milk, the drink separates into layers. You don’t expect the nutty macadamia flavour, but it works to add interest. What a delicious concoction that’s perfect for something to warm you up or accompany dessert.


East Thirty Six also has a great food offering. On Monday to Wednesday during 4-7pm, they also offer $1 oysters. The so called ‘buck-a-shuck’ is served with a vinegary mignonette and fresh horseradish. You can also add on some warm olives ($5) - plump and flavoured with citrus and garlic, to round out the snacking.  


Their fries ($6) are also fantastic, thick and potatoy hot from the fryer. I could skip the extra calories that comes from the crispy chicken skin (a nice treat if you like pork rinds), but wouldn’t skimp on the creamy lemon aioli.


While sampling the new cocktails at their launch event, renditions of normal menu items such as lamb sliders, generally offered in a burger format ($16), was also served. It’s fantastic. The thick juicy patty slathered with ‘green goddess’ (a citrusy guacamole with an herb I can’t place), smoked onion and melted goat’s milk gouda. I could have easily gone for seconds but they were popular and quickly disappeared.


The octopus ($25) was meaty and tender; even the fingerling potatoes and onion getting some smokiness to meld into the seafood.


So as you go from meeting-to-meeting, plug away at a spreadsheet, or read that long boring document for the umpteenth time, just remember: the day is almost over and East Thirty-Six’s cocktail hour is just steps away.

Disclaimer: The above tasting was complimentary. Rest assured, as noted in my mission statement, I will always provide an honest opinion.


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 36 Wellington Street East

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:


East Thirty-Six Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Maillard meats delivered to your home


For a person who loves food, I don’t particularly love cooking. It’s not a chore I hate and will cook about twice a week, but all the steps leading up to actually preparing the meal (grocery shopping and prep work) seems to take so much time. Meal kit delivery companies help reduce the effort, but may not be the optimal choice for people who like to create – after all, cooking is an art form combining ingredients to create something new. 

A company that delivers groceries can help save time and effort. Hence, when I was approached by Maillard, a Canadian company supplying premium meats across the country, to experience a selection of their offerings, my inner carnivore did a happy dance.

Maillard prides themselves by offering meat free of artificial colouring – those vibrantly red steaks you can see in grocery markets may not necessarily be natural. Moreover, except for the flattened chicken, everything is prepared and flash frozen in their facilities before being shipped as quickly as possible to ensure fresh products.

Meat is sent in an isotherm cooler packed with dry ice keeping products frozen for 30 hours – it’s quite a scene as you open cardboard box, lift the bags of dry ice and the smoke billows out (just take care not to touch the dry ice). Everything arrives separated and beautifully wrapped … a gift idea for any meat lover in your life.

My first dinner consisted of the flattened chicken ($21.24). Since it was fully prepared, my finishing touch was simply to marinate it in peri peri (a recipe is available on Maillard’s website, but I just used a bottle of Nando’s sauce) and bake the bird following the requisite time included on the packaging. It resulted in a lovely golden juicy chicken that cooked surprisingly fast (45 minutes) since it was flattened.


Using the trimmed boneless chicken breasts ($9.10 for pack of two), I whipped up a quick Cajun chicken for a weeknight meal. Even after fileting them (for a shorter cooking time), the chicken came out surprisingly moist.


Recipes suggest brining the Frenched bone-in pork chop ($6) prior to cooking as the meat is relatively lean and tends to dry out. Despite every intention to follow the advice, life took over and that evening I ended up slathering on an herb meat glaze and baking. Trust me, you don’t need to spend the extra time brining; the pork chop turned out succulent and one of best I’ve ever prepared.  


Since a boneless duck breast ($10.15) was included in the package, I expanded my cooking repertoire at home. Surprisingly, it wasn’t too difficult to prepare – you score the fat, slowly render skin side down in a pan, and finish off in a hot oven with a swish of maple syrup. In my haste to taste the duck I forgot to take a picture of the finished product. Next time, I’d definitely render the skin longer as there was still a bit of chewiness, but the duck meat was delicious and the quality comparable to restaurants.


Maillard’s products labelled as ‘Sélection 1913’ are their best cuts sourced from the highest grades (AAA and Prime), some are even aged 45 – 60 days to further enhance flavours. The 45-day aged boneless ribeye ($20.62) we sampled was fantastic crusted in Montreal steak spice and barbequed. The ribeye had such a lovely marbling throughout and the expected beefy taste (don’t you hate it when a steak looks great but tastes mild?)


If there are specific meats and cuts you’d like, items can be purchased on its own. For better value try their boxes containing 10-40 servings reducing the price per portion and providing variety. One like the ‘All Natural Box’ is $175 and includes steaks, ground beef, pork chop, pork tenderloin, chicken breast, chicken legs & drumsticks, and marinated chicken skewers, all together serving 40 portions.

For those who love great luxurious meats and also want to save time, having Maillard delivery a box to your house may be an ideal treat. And for those who still love to great creative - hopefully, Maillard will let out your inner ‘artist’ so you can transform ingredients and develop a beautiful and delicious dish.

As a special for Gastro World readers, Maillard is offering you 10% off orders $50+ and free shipping! Just use promo code gastro10 on their website.

Disclaimer: The above meat delivery was complimentary. Rest assured, as noted in my mission statement, I will always provide an honest opinion.


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog

Sushi Kaji (Toronto)


Before sushi became popular, when most people thought California rolls were the real deal, Mitsuhiro Kaji already started serving authentic offerings to those lucky enough for score one of the 30 seats in his quaint Etobicoke restaurant.  

After trying Yasu, Shoushin and Yunaghi, visiting Sushi Kaji, where Japanese fine dining in Toronto arguably began, was a pilgrimage that seemed important. Similar to the later two restaurants, Sushi Kaji’s omakase menus aren’t pure sushi; instead a mixture of small dishes and sushi - for an extra $30, they’ll also prepare a sashimi course.

Since it was our first visit, the takumi ($130) experience was in order. Instead of miso, Kaji presents a bowl of smoky butternut squash soup; a light consistency yet still incorporating a strong powerful flavour. While the broth was fantastic, the chicken meatball was rather neutral and needs to be enjoyed with the soup.


As the salads are presented, we’re advised the dressings are on the side so we can customize the potency of the flavours … of course, I ended up adding everything. Thankfully, the sugary sweetness of typical seaweed salads was missing, instead, Kaji pairs the seaweed with lemon miso that’s enhanced by slightly sweet radish slices.


Meanwhile, the daikon salad pays homage to the legendary Japanese knife skills – impossibly thinly sliced and crispy, so refreshing with a creamy sesame dressing.


The salad was a great cleanser before the sashimi. With a dusting of lemon rind on the sea bream and amberjack, the white neutral fish were refreshing. While both these fish are somewhat soft, the Spanish mackerel has a harder fleshy texture having a crunchiness to it, if fish could be crunchy.

Surprisingly, Kaji’s sashimi incorporates rich pieces of tuna belly, generally reserved for sushi, which melts in the mouth and best left as the last fish you’ll eat. The relatively large slices of octopus are tender, but left plain so you can still taste the seafood’s sweetness.


While the satsuma age, a deep fried seafood cake incorporating pieces of octopus and a slight zing from ginger, was tasty, it was the potato salad (yes, you heard right) that was outstanding. Instead of the typical chunks, Kaji shreds the starch into match sticks and mixes the potatoes with micro-fine diced onions, which really makes the side pop.


Lastly, before the sushi, a meaty plate of sautéed wagyu leaking its oily flavours onto the equally meaty oyster mushrooms. In the middle, were large chunks of soft braised short rib, lightened by a splash of chrysanthemum sauce. The dish was hearty and swoon worthy – momentarily silencing everyone at the bar except to sneak glances at how much their fellow guests were enjoying it.


Sitting at the bar allows you to witness Chef Mitsuhiro’s assembling skills. While the entertainment at other sushi bars is watching chefs deftly cut through fish like butter, when it comes to sushi at Kaji, the seafood is pre-sliced… hence why you’re really watching Mitsuhiro assemble the sushi piece-by-piece.

Nonetheless, it’s still an entertaining affair with the Chef’s elaborate gestures – with the salsa music in the background he could have been doing the flamingo with each arm flick. I was so entranced by the dance that I missed photographing the octopus – another slice of the tender flavourful protein, except in this case drizzled with olive oil and sprinkling of salt.

The following raw shrimp, in my opinion one of the worst ways to enjoy this seafood, wasn’t overly gummy as Kaji covered it with a lemony light cream sauce.  Yet, not cooking the shrimp does nothing to enhance its sweetness and the consistency raw shrimp is rather off-putting.

Tuna arrives next with the customary lean (akami) followed by the fatty belly cut (otoro) to highlight how the same fish can offer such different texture and tastes. The akami was a beautiful vibrant hue with a strong wasabi finish, while the otoro served whole (instead of chopped into little pieces) so you can really enjoy the marbling.


After a quick blowtorch to sear the top of the scallop, this piece was covered with melted butter with a strong kick of black pepper. Indeed, it’ll help mask any fishy tastes that the mollusk may have, but also covers up any of the scallop’s mild sweetness.


Surprisingly, after the octopus, Kaji also served calamari as well – in this case raw so there’s a sticky chewy texture, but very clean tasting. With raw ginger and finely sliced shiso leaf, it’s rather refreshing.


The following flounder (hirame) received a similar preparation with crushed shiso leaves topped with warmed olive oil and salt. A good tasting piece on its own, but too similar to the calamari. Sisho is such a strong herb, akin to a citrusy basil, that back-to-back it’s overpowering.


Unlike other high-end sushi establishment, at Sushi Kaji you do get a plate of soy cause and wasabi - rather than the chef swiping on the amount deemed optimal for each piece. Instead, Chef Mitsuhiro coaches diners on what to do (no soy or little soy). Still, some pieces, like the Japanese horse mackerel (aji) could really use a thicker soy and all the toppings makes it difficult to dip so would benefit from having a helpful swish from the chef.


The eel, heated through in the toaster oven with the sweet thick glaze, is absolutely delicious. Kaji tops it with lemon rind adding a great lightness to the otherwise richer sushi.


To end, a piece of spicy tuna maki. I commend the restaurant for trying to elevate such a common roll with chopped otoro without any of the dreaded tempura bits mixed throughout. It was certainly better, but the seaweed could be crispier (still rather chewy like the common versions) and the spicy mayonnaise also unexceptional.


Chef Mitsuhiro plays with different condiments, marrying Western and Asian elements, so you do get interesting tasting pieces at Sushi Kaji. However, a person can only enjoy so much olive oil and salt. Maybe I prefer sushi traditional, but I found oil and salt tasty with the scallop but really detracted from other items. The entire time I just wanted a swish of condensed sweet soy… where was it?!

So many chefs believe the most important part of sushi is its foundation – rice. Although Sushi Kaji’s rice is soft and creamy, it lacks the hit of vinegar I’ve grown to love. The temperature could also be warmer.    

Interestingly, the restaurant switches the tea before dessert for a lighter smoother blend. The sweets were pleasant but conventional: a scoop of vanilla ice cream on red bean paste and a run-of-the-mill gelatin textured panna cotta with chopped pears and shiso sorbet – someone really loves this herb!  


The restaurant’s bar seating arrangement is strange: despite there being empty chairs, they choose to sit everyone right beside the next couple instead of spacing everyone apart. Yet, for a first visit you need to sit at the bar, to fully immerse yourself in the experience. Just don’t expect any privacy.

Overall mark - 8 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 860 The Queensway

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:


Sushi Kaji Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato