Project:Fish (Toronto)

The bright Scandinavian feeling dining room is perfect for sushi, I like that airy feeling of cleanliness when eating raw ingredients. Even their service has an element of Swedish efficiency and organization, if Ikea ever served sushi, it would be similar to Project:Fish.

Shortly after placing our order for the premium set ($32), a trio of appetizers arrive: warm edamame dusted with pepper rather than salt, Albacore tuna slices dressed in a light citrus soy on a bed of seaweed, and a plain cabbage salad tossed in a what seems like sugar water... the cabbage salad definitely needs an upgrade.

Before you can get through half of the starters, the efficiency kicks in and the platter of sushi arrives. With great memory, our waitress rhymes off every piece and its garnish. It’s like reciting a memorized passage and done so quickly that I retained very little. Consequently, my post will rely on their menu and guessing what the ingredients could be.

I started with the warm pieces of oshi (pressed sushi that’s then topped with sauce and blowtorched). The salmon contained too much of the mayo-based sauce, which is generally the biggest drawback of Project Fish’s oshi – the sheer oiliness that you see pool under each piece. Maybe it has something to do with the timing of placing the sauce (pre vs. post press), but the greasiness really detracts from the rice.

The shrimp oshi worked better given the seafood itself is leaner. While one piece was earthier on account of the mushroom basil mixture, the other was refreshing from the plum paste – this is a nice one to finish off with as it cuts through the oshis’ heaviness.

Project Fish can even consider changing up the sauce combo. For example, with miso topping the mackerel oshi, it worked remarkably well, the salty sweetness cutting through the stronger fish.

As much as I normally enjoyed blowtorched sushi, the traditional pieces were more enjoyable. Some pieces had similar flavour combinations without being pressed: shrimp topped with mushroom basil, but was slightly sweeter due to the shrimp; albacore tuna with the refreshing plum accent; the typical salmon with mayo, but at least it was just a small dollop; and miso again, but this time a little too strong as it was placed on a much milder fish.

The plate would be even better if they had more pieces with brighter and lighter garnishes. Sure, they used plum, but surprisingly negated green onion, ginger, and yuzu, which although are common ingredients works really well with fish. Or even adding more vinegar to the rice and wasabi under the fish would help cut through the richer pieces.

It’s a fairly filling meal as it then ends with a kaisen rice bowl with spicy sashimi (made with various pieces of scrap fish, a great way for reducing waste) and blue crab salad (actually made with real crab). Overall, the bowl was too sweet for my taste. Perhaps they meant for this to be dessert, but I would prefer it to end on a stronger savoury element: element the sugar from the crab salad, make the spicy sashimi actually have some heat, and skip all the sweet diced pieces of tamago and just have on piece on the top.

Also, maybe the Ikea-like efficiency isn’t always the greatest idea, as it does detract from the experience. Aside from waiting until people are done with their appetizers to serve the main course, Project Fish should consider plating the sushi and oshi separately to draw out the meal – consequently, it may help ensure the oshi arrives warmer. Regardless, their reasonable pricing for fairly good sushi is a big draw. In any case, efficiency does have its perks.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 16 Park Home Avenue

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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!

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Project:Fish Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato