KOKO! ShareBar (Toronto)

Images of cheery smiling cartoon characters flash through my mind when I heard the name KOKO Share Bar. Bubble-eyed creatures that blink with earnest and flash big smiles as they proclaim the importance of love and sharing, almost like a trippy Care Bear. In reality, KOKO is set up like many traditional izakayas with sparse wooden tables and black chairs, each table divided by a tall pane of plastic in the new COVID era. Not one anime character anywhere… I couldn’t decide if I should be relieved or disappointed.

And in a very unlike me manner, we also didn’t share at the Share Bar. It didn’t stop me from ordering the salmon aburi sushi ($20) to start, the rice adorned with thick cuts of salmon topped with lime aioli. At KOKO, there was just enough of the mayo to take on a hint of smokiness and to add a splash of creaminess without making the sushi greasy. I would have liked some stronger finishing ingredients to create more interest – like the customary jalapeno slice, a dab of chopped olives, or even a sprinkling of green onions. The aburi was good but lacked pizazz.

Based on my friend’s recommendation (and plenty of other reviewers), I had to try KOKO’s roasted miso black cod ($36). It’s a solid dish but with a few changes could be even better: including some of the miso sauce on the side for those who want a more flavourful fish or to pour over the steamed rice, removing some of the cod’s bones to make it easier to cut into (even the large shards were left behind), and roasting the skin longer so that it becomes crispier.

Still, I appreciated the decent sized piece of black cod, which was fresh and flaky and there was a nice variety of vegetables included to create a balanced and healthy meal. If only there was more seasoning on the vegetables that seemed to be merely steamed.

For an izakaya, KOKO sure plays it safe with their flavours. What a shame, no Japanese anime characters, and no bold ingredients.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 81 Yorkville Avenue

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: