Torch Pressed Sushi (Toronto)

Is it snobby of me to have a negative view about ghost kitchens? I’m not against their operating model – it’s smart to get rid of the expenses of managing a dining room and walk-in service to focus just on preparing meals.  Yet, I can’t help but feel that this separation from the customer also allows them to hire untrained chefs to churn out subpar food like an assembly line.

In retrospect, it’s an unfounded view. When I went to write this post and looked up the address of Torch Pressed Sushi, I found the image of a bubble tea shop as the front. That’s when I realized, Torch Pressed Sushi, a place our household already ordered from a few times was a ghost kitchen!

Their tasting box is our go-to order holding 8 pieces of aburi sushi, two maki rolls (lobster salad and tuna), a healthy handful of edamame, and seaweed salad. 

What arrives with the aburi can vary but you’ll always find a piece of their spicy salmon that incorporates not only a jalapeno slice but also spicy sauce and black pepper to really create a punch. It’s so loved by my husband that we generally get an extra order of two pieces ($4.45) to add to the meal.

A couple of my other favourite bites is the zesty shrimp that contains a hint of lemon, which nicely balances the rich mayo base of everything else. The marinated saba is a stronger tasting fish and is usually slightly thicker than the rest so it’s a piece where you can really taste the protein and not just the rice and sauces. Overall, Torch’s seafood is sliced thinner than some other places so if you like a meaty bite, it could be a disappointment. Yet, the thinner fish is also reflected in their lower price point and there’s enough of it to add to the taste.

Ingeniously, their hand rolls arrive with the nori separated from the rice by a plastic wrapper, a great way to save them for lunch the next day – something that always happens in our household as we tend to over order. The toro or tuna belly roll is bland and doesn’t include much of the green onion or tobiko that’s described on the menu. So, you’ll want to rely on the limited soy sauce (how do they give such a small package for so much food?) to use on this item. Or if you happen to order an appetizer that has the spicy mayo given, then save some to jazz up the toro. 

The lobster roll is much better as it’s tossed in a tangy mayo that provides some flavour. You can’t really decern the lobster from any other seafood, but of the two maki this is the clear favourite.

We’ve generally ordered from Torch through Uber where they offer a complimentary seafood basket ($5.99) deal. The crispy tempura battered seafood trio consists of squid tentacles (fairly tasty), shrimp (overly battered so you can’t really taste the shrimp), and aji or Japanese mackerel (very good and the best piece of the bunch). A great add-on, if only for the chipotle mayo that can be used on the toro roll.

Maybe minds can be changed. Ghost kitchens aren’t as unfriendly as I used to think. From now on, I’ll think of them as being Casper, the Casper that feeds me sushi.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: Various locations across the city

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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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