Showing posts with label tempura. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tempura. Show all posts

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


Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
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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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Zen Sanuki Udon (Toronto)



While many Japanese noodle shops are small and cozy, Zen Sanuki Udon is palatial with a spacious and airy dining area. To the point they could add more tables given they’re at capacity so quickly – pretty much every table was filled when they opened at 5:30pm. More seats shouldn’t detract from service levels: they employ a lot of staff so that food arrives at a quick clip and there’s always people standing around waiting to serve.

Speed is important when you’re selling noodles in broth. At this Zen location, their menu is based around hand-made sanuki udon from the Shikoki region, which is square-shaped and thinner compared to the cylindrical thick ones found elsewhere.

I expected springy chewy noodles, but they arrived fairly soft for udon. If anything, they tasted like the hand-pulled noodles found at the neighbouring Magic Noodle, which while not terrible is also a dime-a-dozen in the Markham area.


The ebi-ten udon ($16) allows diners to try the dashi broth made with a combination on konbu, bonito flakes, and dried baby sardines in a neutral form. Not surprisingly, there’s a rich umami flavour and it’s just salty enough without becoming overwhelming.

But then they ruined by broth by throwing in so many tempura bits that as you’re sipping the hot soup, every mouthful is filled with mushy batter. A spoonful would have been fine, but it seemed like there was equivalent tempura bits to noodles. As much as I commend chefs who use food scraps to eliminate waste, they should serve them in a separate bowl so diners can add it to broth themselves.

Bits of lemon zest adds a refreshing element to the udon, but the citrusy taste could also be strange for some customers, especially if you’re hoping for soup that’s really hearty and savoury. Who knows, perhaps it’s just something they include during the summer months to lighten everything?

The tempura was kept separate and arrived hot and crispy. While the shrimp a good size and deliciously sweet, I would have liked a light sprinkling of salt on everything as the vegetables were bland so you had to dip it into the broth, rendering the crispy crust soggy, to add flavour.


Their beef udon ($17) is like having bulgogi with udon, the meat thinly shaven and even has the same marinated sweetness. Call me a traditionalist, but it’d be much better if the beef was served in thick slices, similar to the pork shoulder cut you find with ramen.


Large portions is something you won’t find at Zen; if you don’t have a light appetite, add the $3 to upsize the bowl. Even their sides are miniscule: the kamo (duck) roast ($14) only had five slices, which is surprisingly when the actual duck udon already contains four pieces. It’s a satisfactory side, the freshly grated wasabi a lovely addition, but the actual duck could be more flavourful and less chewy.

 

With Zen’s history of serving solid Japanese cuisine, their soft noodles, over garnished broth, and puny portions is rather disappointing. Which is dangerous since udon seems to be the next “it noodle” opening across the city. With competition, there are better options, in my opinion, to tuck back a bowl.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 3720 Midland Avenue

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
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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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Yukashi Japanese Cuisine (Toronto)


In my youth, all-you-can-eat and chicken teriyaki was what came to mind when thinking of Japanese cuisine. Boy, have things changed. Now, the word that I associate with Japanese food is omakase – the concept of leaving it to the Chef to decide what to eat.

Generally, omakase menus aren’t the most wallet friendly. At Yukashi, while still pricey, they attempt to cater to different price points with 4-course ($75), 9-course ($150), and the one-week advanced notice Yukashi menu ($300+). There’s even a la carte options for those who don’t want to leave their taste buds to chance.


Eight stools flank the bar and kitchen area. These seats around the chef’s table are definitely the ones to try to reserve. Dinner starts with Chef Daisuke Izutsu grating wasabi, a noiseless affair until he breaks the silence and tells us we’re being too quiet. He gets us chatting and warmed up by passing around a miniature version of the grater so we can try to guess what it’s made from (inside out shark skin, if you want to sound knowledgeable).

Meanwhile, Chef Jin Lee tinkers in the kitchen. He doesn’t speak to the group, but is coordinating the staff within to make sure the hot dishes arrive at a well-timed pace.  Like the warm deep-fried sesame tofu appetizer that has a chewy soft consistency like mochi, but nutty and savoury. Flavoured with a thick fish sauce, it’s then topped with yuzu zest and wasabi to give it a fresh element.


Their “soup” course is actually a hearty chawanmushi, the egg custard surrounding slices of charred mochi and sweet clams so you’re greeted with different flavours with every bite. The pea sauce covering everything was a nice spring element but could be saltier, especially when the crab paste dumpling was also fairly neutral. Nonetheless, it was a tasty dish.


If you’ve been to other omakase restaurants in Toronto, generally sashimi and sushi will follow to finish off the menu. At Yukashi, they serve kaiseki cuisine so while you receive raw fish, there’s not an ounce of grain accompanying it. Kaiseki strives to use seasonal ingredients to create dishes with different textures and also highlights its natural flavours. Above all, it’s recognized for beautiful plating where an ingredient’s colours are used to create dishes that could be considered an art form.


The otsukuri embodied the concept perfectly where an array of fishes were dotted across the plate and combined with painstakingly slivered and twirled garnishes. While it comes with a dish of sweet soy, there’s also ground salt, yuzu zest, juicy seeds (to calm down the soy’s saltiness), and a host of other items to flavour the seafood.

Three fish are included: the famed otoro or cubes of fatty tuna that’s best described as sushi butter; a chewy red snapper; and the most interesting addition… smoked yellow tail. Cooked over a warayaki stove that uses smouldering straw, the yellow tail smells like a cigarette butt and even tastes a little like tobacco. While the flavours can be a bit overpowering (try it last), it’s really different from other fishes offered. In lieu of ginger, there are potato stems that have a juicy spongy texture and acts as a palette cleanser.


After having the otoro, their signature dish pushed my richness quotient to its limit. The uni niku starts with slices of Mizayaki wagyu: one that’s fattier so it simply melts and a relatively leaner slice that’s more flavourful. If it weren’t enough, the wagyu is then topped with uni (the creamy insides of a sea urchin) and foie gras. It all gets a good torching so that the fats heat up and meld together. Then try your best to wrap the glistening tower inside half a shiso leaf, and eat.


Chef Izutsu notes he got the idea for the signature dish when thinking of something that would have decadent elements that work together or alone. Indeed, it smelled amazing and if you like really really rich items you’re in for a treat. I’m glad there were only two slices … anymore and I’m not sure my stomach could handle all that fat. 

After having the sashimi platter, I thought we already had the “fish dish”, but then another intricately assembled seafood platter arrives, even prettier than the otsukuri. They call this the harvest plate and there’s so much to taste and discover: a cold seafood medley that’s almost like a ceviche except flavoured with a cherry blossom and sake (?) foam; marinated shrimp; roasted fish; deep fried bamboo shoot; lotus root; and skinned tomato. It’s certainly gorgeous to look at, but merely tastes okay as each element had to be prepared ahead of time so isn’t at its peak.


Between the seafood and meat dish, the chef serves the amuse bouche - monk fish liver with pickled radish. While it looks like it would be another heavy item, the pickled radish helped to balance the warm liver that tasted like a lighter foie gras. A good bridging bite.


In seeing the meat dish, I had high hopes that it would be amazing. Something that contains sakura sticky rice, duck, and egg yolk butter… what?! In reality, it sounds better than it tastes. We’re instructed to “break” the egg yolk butter into everything and mix it up. I abstained and broke off pieces and mixed it in every bite. This was a good call as the yolk really didn’t taste like much and the oiliness would have been too much. Meanwhile, although the duck had nice flavours and was tender, I was a bit disappointed that it was so cooked through that the texture resembled beef.


While you usually think of tempura as items dunked in a thick batter, at Yukashi it’s an intricate roll made from tile fish, shrimp, tofu skin and shiso. While it’s deep fried, it’s not battered so you end up with a relatively light dish, especially with the fruit sauce that accompanies it. Although I was expecting something savoury and crunchy, in hindsight, after all the heavier dishes proceeding the tempura, it was nice to have something delicate. 


Likely the simplest dish of the evening, the rice and dashi soup was also my favourite. I really needed that umami-filled hot broth that when mixed with the rice created a congee-like bowl. Restrained elements of kelp, seaweed and salmon roe kept it hearty and humble. I could have used another bowl.


In preparation for dessert, Chef Izutsu brings out what looks like a large cantaloupe. After breaking through the rough exterior, the fruit is pale green, a shade lighter than honeydew. I had my doubts … fruit for dessert? How boring. But then, I’ve never heard of a muskmelon.


Yukashi flies them in from the Shizuoka Prefecture of Japan, where these fruits are so coveted that people wait for hours and pay upwards of ¥16,000 (or about $200 Canadian dollars) a fruit! They command this price as all the small buds are removed at the beginning of the season so that each vine only grows one melon. All the nutrients and resources are directed into one fruit to create the juiciest and sweetest melon I’ve ever had … so maybe melon is better than red bean mochi ice cream.

Back to why I think scoring one of the eight seats around the chef’s table is important – it’s all about the experience. There are some delicious dishes at Yukashi, but there are also others that are pretty to look at but tastes satisfactory. So, what really made the night a success was being able to chat with Chef Izutsu. 


While prepping he’s serious and zoned in. Afterwards, a playful side comes out and he loves to chat (if you’re a chef, let him know as he’ll want to visit your restaurant). It's also a shared event with the other guests sitting around the bar – whether it’s seeing their reaction to dishes or eavesdropping on their conversation with the Chef. The experience is why omakase is now a phrase that elicit excitement for me. 

Overall mark - 8 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 643A Mount Pleasant Road

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!

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Aoyama (Toronto)


In a small plaza sits two storefronts – Aoyama and Aoyama VIP. Enter to the one on the left and if you’ve made reservations, chances are you’ll be escorted back outside and into the VIP one. Yes, it’s a bit strange that they’re not connected, but when you want to expand and the opportunity arises (albeit not directly beside your existing restaurant), you need to seize the availability.

Just ordering your meal can take time if you’ve never visited. There’s a leather bound menu that already has numerous options, but then you’ll also want to sift through several laminated loose pages, and there’s even a wooden board with drawn images that gets circulated with other a la carte items.


Indeed, the cheeky wooden board drew us in to try some of their hand rolls ($3 for spicy tuna and $3.50 for spicy salmon). Having been spoiled by ones that chefs insist on handing you and having you eat right away, I did find the seaweed chewy and a bit tough to bite through. However, for the price, these are great, a pretty generous portion of fish wrapped in seaweed, although the spicy mayo needs to be spicier.


During the weekend, Aoyama offers a “sushi set upgraded weekend special” ($125) that comes with a more sushi and luxurious appetizers, compared to their regular option. To begin, there’s a sharing platter of small eats containing chawanmushi (a savoury egg custard), lobster tempura, yakitori skewers, other small nibbles, and a pot of seafood consommé.   


Normally, chawanmushi is served hot. At Aoyama, it’s cold so ends up being denser and almost the consistency of a savoury flan. The temperature and jellied soup takes some getting used to, but it tasted good, the dashi (?) flavours seeping through. Finishing it with a teacup of the umami-filled seafood consommé is a nice combination.

Plump pieces of lobster tempura is dressed with the all-colour-no-heat spicy mayo. Nonetheless, the lobster was cooked nicely, it just needed a bit of salt or something else to dip it into. Surrounding the dish were pods of dry edamame and tempura burdock root that was cold but tasty to nibble on.

What makes yakitori skewers delicious is when they’re hot off the grill and you can smell and taste the smoky caramelized glaze. In the platter, the chicken and scallion yakitori were cold (having been brought over from the other store) so the chicken became hard and the sauce congealed and lumpy. Really, Aoyama should consider replacing these with a starter that doesn’t need to be hot.

Something to consider when you make a reservation: what is important about the meal for you? Is it hot food or a comfortable sitting environment? While the VIP room is spacious and has an ambiance of a brightly lit piano lounge, there isn’t a kitchen so food is transported over in a non-insulated metal container arriving lukewarm to cold. To get the best of both worlds, you’ll want to order cold items when sitting in the VIP area.

Luckily, the huge plate of sushi that’s part of the set menu can withstand the frigid journey. That evening, it contained two types of tuna, the fattier toro and the regular blue fin variety; sweet soft pieces of unagi (barbequed eel); surprisingly clean pieces of aji (horse mackerel) that’s further topped with tons of ginger and green onions; tried and true kampachi,  salmon, and salmon maki; a decent take on tamago (egg) that had the flavours but not the lovely layers; as well as generous portions of hotate (Hokkaido scallop), ebi (raw shrimp), and uni (sea urchin).


In terms of the sushi rice, something I’ve really started to learn to enjoy, it had a great consistency but needs more vinegar and could benefit from being warmer. The rice is an important element to get right given it’s such an integral part of sushi.

Since the set meal lacked vegetables, an order of the wakame salad ($6), ice berg lettuce tossed in a creamy sesame dressing and topped with a sweet seaweed salad, was welcomed and helped add that freshness we were craving.


Off the a la carte menu, the seafood zousui ($18), a Japanese-style congee, was beckoning during the cold winter night. Pieces of shrimp, salmon, crab, a fair-sized scallop and various mushrooms gave the dish a lovely sweet seafood essence.


The rice sits at the bottom of a clear seafood broth, rather than being boiled for hours so that the grains combine with the soup, so you’re able to taste just the soup and then also have it with the soft rice. Indeed, the broth is king and despite being tepid had a warming property to it. If there was more seasoning and the seafood was added near the end of the process (so it doesn’t become rubbery) it’d be even better.

A bowl of tempura udon ($13) also seemed like a good choice. While the broth is rather run-of-the-mill, it was at least hotter than all the other dishes and the noodles chewy and springy. Something about ending the meal with a hot bowl of soup really suits me.


The VIP room was so comfortable that after two hours we still wanted to stay. A round of desserts helped extend the experience a little longer.


Deciding on the black sesame mochi ice cream ($4.30), it arrived two to an order. The small ping pong sized mochi needed a few minutes to rest as at the beginning it was tough to cut through. A thin chewy layer of glutinous rice flour pastry encapsulates plenty of ice cream. While it was pretty, the dessert lacked sesame flavour and tasted more like vanilla ice cream. For real black sesame ice cream you’ll want to stick with the ice cream with red bean paste ($4.50) combination.


Once the store between Aoyama and Aoyama VIP vacates, they can finally combine everything into one continuous restaurant. At that point, patrons finally won’t need to decide between quality of food or atmosphere. Until then, choose carefully.  

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 2766 Victoria Park 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!

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Going back to Akira Back (Toronto)


When Chef Back visited Toronto in July, I returned to Akira Back to sample their “new” menu. My first visit to the restaurant was fine, but it wasn’t impressive. Surely things will be better when the head honcho is in town? After all, he has his name to protect.

Upon cracking open the menu, I was disappointed to see not much has changed. Indeed, a couple of dishes were added but by and large everything remained. The only surprised for the evening was a special lobster 4-ways menu for two ($100). Our waitress noted they’re testing the dishes to see if there’s interest, so what’s detailed in the post is subject to change or may be discontinued all together.


I think most of us coughed on our first sip of the lobster miso soup as we weren’t expecting it to be spicy. The initial surprise aside, the rich hot broth was delicious, the lobster legs infusing the salty and spicy soup. Plump little mushrooms were strewn throughout and a nice addition with the seafood essence.


Having had lobster sashimi a couple of times, Akira Back was the best experience - the lobster tail lightly torched to take away any gumminess, but the meat left raw and sweet. A bit of the freshly grated wasabi and house made soy sauce was all it took to flavour the dish.


The lobster tempura was okay, but since the batter was dense (where are the wispy crunchy bits of tempura?) it ended up tasting like fish sticks instead of chunks of lobster claw. Akira Back needs to work on the batter’s consistency and frying temperature of the oil as the sea urchin tempura ($18) was no better. The creamy urchin wrapped with citrusy shiso leaves was a good idea, if it weren’t for the heavy coating that completely covered the seafood.


What arrived with the fourth course seemed too small for two people - a small sliver of poached lobster with nori butter sauce. In general, this menu for two would be insufficient, tables will need to add on a couple of items to round out the meal. Perhaps a bowl of the wagyu fried rice ($14) for some grains? While it is a tad oily – not surprising with wagyu – the rice had such a great wok hay essence. It’d be even better with more scallion.


Akira’s miso black cod ($31) incorporates the traditional sweet glaze but I’ve had better (and for more reasonable prices compared to the dainty portion of fish). Regardless, it was decently prepared, the black cod having a light smokiness and the glaze slightly caramelized for an extra bit of texture. At least it was better than the wagyu short ribs I previously had; although hot izakaya dishes are not Akira’s forte.


Their cold dishes are much better. The Hokkaido scallop kiwi ($23) was no exception. Sliced raw scallops are layered with kiwi and flavoured with an onion salsa and yuzu soy. The dish is refreshingly delicious and shows restraint, so the scallop’s sweetness isn’t overtaken by the other flavours – even the onion salsa isn’t too strong, adding flavour but not sting.


With Chef Back’s visit there was also a special dessert… date ice cream with a mango mousse ($15). A plate of granita first arrives with an egg carton in tow. Our waitress proceeds to take out an “egg”: the shell made from candy; the whites a date ice cream; and the yolk mango passionfruit sorbet. Luckily, I took the picture before everything was crushed into the sweet ice, creating a dessert reminiscent of bing su. The light dessert was a beautiful and whimsical finish. Maybe things are better when Akira Back is back.


Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 80 Blue Jays Way, 2nd floor

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!

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CLOSED: Izakaya Tsuki

Location: Toronto, Canada
Address: 5182 Yonge Street
Type of Meal: Dinner



Walking into Tsuki, their dim lighting and ample group seating sure feels like an izakaya. But, after sitting down and tuning into the strange mix of music playing in the background (some top 40, folk and country) you can tell already it will be a bit different. Tsuki attracts groups of friends ready to have a great time. With pitchers of Sapporo for $16.99 and bottles of soju for $13.99, drinking is certainly affordable and makes the night more interesting. 

The buttered squid ($8) is a dish I’d recommend ordering. Not only is it delicious, but also such a great deal! An entire squid is grilled and basted with butter. The result is a smoky and tender squid with plenty of pieces to share amongst a group.



As a warning, come with a large group if you're going to order the seafood pancake ($12) - its huge and enough to feed ten. Cut into thick wedges, each has big pieces of green onion, beans and calamari mixed throughout. Personally, I’d like the pancake thinner so there's the chance to develop more crust and the middle wouldn’t be as mushy. Also, a varied selection of seafood such as shrimp and clams would be even better as I found in most dishes we ordered squid was prevalent. And finally, the batter needed more salt; when you ate it without dousing the pancake with the spicy soy sauce on the side it was rather plain.



The cheese buldak ($16) was essentially strips of spicy chicken covered with cheese on a bed of vegetables (onion, cabbage and bean sprouts). The gooey melted cheese over everything gave the dish a sense of eating a protein rich poutine. The thin chicken strips did tend to get a bit dry if they weren’t eaten quickly but generally wasn’t a bad dish.



My friends, who have been numerous times, swears by the spicy snail ($15). It’s served cold and the snails cut into smaller pieces and mixed with sweet and spicy douchouchang sauce and lettuce. If you’re squeamish about trying snails, this is the dish for you as its all covered and hard to see. On the side, were cold vermicelli noodles that were sadly overcooked so it became mushy and stuck in clumps. All in all, I enjoyed the flavours and the refreshing nature of it.



Tsuki’s tako yaki ($7) were disappointing. Indeed, it had enough sauces and bonito flakes on it to give them flavour, but the batter was so mushy that it resembled eating a glutinous rice ball more than the crisp fluffy tako yaki you’d expect.



There was a hefty portion of tempura ($9) with plenty of shrimp and vegetables (asparagus, sweet potato and pumpkin). Each piece was crispy and the light sweet green onion soy sauce on the side was a nice change.



Maybe it was due to when I received the dish, but found the pork kimchi durachigi ($14) needed more meat – there was simply so much kimchi! Served in a sizzling pan everything stayed piping hot and released an extra level of spiciness to the cabbage. Personally, it wasn’t my favourite as found it was mostly just hot kimchi.



The maguro tataki ($14) is another passable dish. Although nicely presented it lacked the bold citrusy flavours from being lightly marinated in an onion sauce I normally enjoy. 



Tsuki’s menu is not all about hot dishes, they also have a variety of sushi rolls. All the ones we ordered were made with a vibrant black rice (actually purple in colour), and similar to what accompanies the soon tofu at Buk ChangDong Soon Tofu. The dynamite roll ($9) was decent with the classic tempura shrimp, creamy avocado and crunchy cucumbers. In Tsuki’s case it is drizzled with a sweet terryiaki glaze.



The spicy salmon roll ($6) had tons of the spicy mayonnaise on it; not the most esthetically pleasing to look at, but provided a great kick of flavour. There were no tempura battered bits with it at all, but rather a simple large piece of salmon which I enjoyed.



A great idea for some fun is the Russian roulette roll ($7). The maki itself is just salmon and avocado topped with a tangy mayo sauce. The novelty is that one piece (out of six) has tons of wasabi mixed into it. So, tables are encouraged to have everyone grab a piece and bite into it together – it’s quite entertaining to see the look on the unlucky person’s face (needless to say it wasn’t me!)




All in all, Tsuki offers great service and decent food at very reasonable prices. They are a popular restaurant in the neighbourhood with every table occupied during our weekend visit. The staff are amazingly friendly. Our waiter David was so helpful throughout the night – he even went around to find us extra soju bottle caps for drinking games (who would have known a simple cap could offer so much entertainment)! 

My suggestion is to come in larger groups (six would be ideal) as there are tons of dishes to try and more than enough of each to pass along. Plus, it’s the type of place you can get loud and rowdy and other patrons just don’t seem to mind.



Overall mark - 7 out of 10



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
  • - 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!