Showing posts with label bonito. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bonito. Show all posts

Hana Don Japanese Cuisine & Bar (Markham)


There’s something in the hospitality air lately - I have been receiving great service at restaurants I normally wouldn’t expect it from. It started as soon as I entered Hana Don, a lady advised a high-top table was available, but if I was willing to wait a few minutes there would be a more comfortable one she’d seat us at further into the restaurant. 


The friendly and helpful attitude continued throughout the evening and not just from one person but three great ladies: people came by to check on us, offered suggestions on how to best eat dishes, and the restaurant even provided plastic bags for customers to store their masks (we didn’t use them, but I finally had to ask what the cellophane bags were for). They even started us off with complimentary bowls of miso soup. Maybe they were just happy things were opened again and they could see people in-person, I hope the friendly attitude continues as it’s infectious and makes the dining experience so enjoyable.


 


Hana Don sells a huge variety of sushi by the piece, including katsuo a.k.a. bonito or skipjack tuna ($4 per piece), which isn’t a popular item elsewhere. There’s something about the meaty textured fish with the light smoke ring that makes for an interesting bite. At Hana Don it was a little fishier tasting than pieces I’ve had previously, but it also didn’t arrive with a glaze brushed onto the fish - the slightly sweet and salty barrier that balances the bonito flavours. They did try to temper the stronger fish with chopped scallions, it was nonetheless a decent bite to start off the meal.


 


What you’ll find missing from this post is a review of donburi, the focus of Hana Don’s menu. Sadly, it’s not a dish I enjoy. Don’t worry, these are described and reviewed ad nauseum on Yelp and Google so think of this post as helping you decide what other dishes to add on. The grilled black cod with sakiyo sauce ($16) was delicious – the flesh moist and flaky and the skin perfectly crisped. The thicker pieces helped to create a meaty tender portion and I liked that it was cut in two to make it easier to share. The sake miso sauce was nice and light without that blast of sweetness that can sometimes make it taste like you’re eating black cod with honey. Finishing the dish was a tube of pickled ginger, that I almost mistook as a straw, and was great for cleansing the palette.


 


If you’re hungry, go for the beef sukiyaki ($45) a huge pot filled with beef, mushrooms (meaty fresh shiitake, prince oyster mushrooms, and enoki), vegetables (bok choy, napa cabbage, and alfalfa sprouts), grilled tofu, and noodles. While the beef looks really marbled, once it’s cooked through it tastes lean and a bit tough so it’s best to eat the slices quickly. You round out the pot by cracking raw eggs into the sukiyaki broth and blending to create a slightly sweet egg drop soup. In retrospect, this was way too much food for two of us, so we left with full bellies and a doggy bag. They tried to warn us, but it’s such a good addition for a cold winter’s night.  


 


We might have been able to finish everything if we skipped the momo aburi oshizushi ($18) as there were a lot of pieces and each a fair size. Sandwiched between the sticky rice was a creamy tube of avocado and it’s all topped with salmon and a reserved portion of kewpie, which I preferred as when there’s too much mayo the rice becomes oily and heavy. An ingenious addition was the finely chopped cucumber and mango salsa garnish adding a lovely crunch and freshness to something that could be too heavy. 


 


Overall, our 7:30pm reservation allowed us to stay past two hours to leisurely eat and converse, and Hana Don did a good job at ensuring dishes came out in a good succession – we always had something to eat without having everything arrive at once. I hope this streak of amazing service continues as we all stay in the same good mood of being able to be out and eating/working again.

Overall mark - 8.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Markham, Canada
 Address: 9255 Woodbine Avenue
 Website: http://hanadon.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!

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Tachi (Toronto)


Hidden behind a screen to the left of Shari is a stand-up sushi bar that promises freshly made sushi served in less than thirty minutes. The 12-piece omakase menu ($55 per person) changes depending on ingredient availability and like their sister restaurant Shoushin, is served piece-by-piece with condiments pre-added to ensure the sushi is eaten at the ideal temperature and flavour.


Interestingly, the meal started with hotate, a piece that historically is lightly torched and served at the halfway point. At Tachi, the scallop is left unsinged. Light and refreshing, it worked well as the first bite.   


The chef then presented us with grouper (habuku) with seaweed sandwiched between the fish and rice, which added a nice depth of flavour. Maybe it was due to our early reservation, but Tachi’s rice is warmer than most resulting in a creamier texture, which is balanced by vinegar. Their rice was perfectly seasoned.


Popular pieces that grace many omakase menus followed. First, the seabream (madai) a soft and meaty lighter fish. Followed by kanpachi, the fleshy fish is slightly fuller flavoured but still has a fresh clean texture.


During the middle of the meal the three tunas with varying fatty levels arrived: the akami was vibrantly coloured and flavourful; the chutoro builds in richness; and the otoro, which was leaner than some other restaurants, but still deliciously melt-in-your mouth.


After the flavourful otoro, it can sometimes be hard to find pieces that are equally rich. The smoked bonito or katsuo was a lovely choice, bits of green onions adding a refreshing bite.


The chef pounded the octopus (tako) with the back of a knife, so the seafood was well scored, tender, and as soon as it hit the mouth, the octopus’ flavours erupted onto the tongue.


Having had great experiences with horse mackerel or aji at Shoushin, we had to add it to the meal ($7 supplement). Like Shoushin, it was just as delicious… they seriously know how to prepare this gamier fish well.


If a piece of sushi could be refreshing and thirst quenching, the juicy salmon roe (ikura) would be the poster child. For those who are squeamish about fishy tastes, rest assured, the juices are salty and clean.  


The sea water eel (anago) was soft and sweet from the sugary glaze. It was a good alternative to dessert as surprisingly Tachi does not end off with a piece of tamago.


Instead, the last piece was a tasty tuna hand roll (temaki) with green onion mixed into the fish for even more flavour.   


Even though the meal was done in 25 minutes, both chefs took the time to have a conversation with us, keeping the experience warm and friendly (when it could have turned into a robotic task of making and eating sushi). A stand-up sushi meal is definitely something to experience, just bring some cash (for tipping) and make reservations to score one of the limited eight spots. 

Overall mark - 8 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 111 Richmond 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:




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