Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Yasu

My friend from Edmonton was in town for the Christmas break and she sent me an article about Yasu. So we made reservations a month in advance for the $80 course meal with 18 pieces of sushi at Toronto's own 'Jiro Dreams of Sushi' experience.
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 Cute transformed semi-detached house into a 12 seater restaurant

And so it begins:
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Striped Jack from Japan
A nice start to the meal: very simple with a light dash of soy sauce. 

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Ocean trout
Oishi! The trout just melted on your tongue. It was a little less oily and softer than salmon. 

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Mackerel from Norway
I'm usually not a fan of mackerel since I find it pretty salty, but this one wasn't that salty. 

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Monkfish fois gras
Great smooth and creamy texture

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Hokkaido scallop with rock salt and lemon
Wow - so this is what Hokkaido scallop is supposed to taste like! It went down so smooth and was so soft and delicious. I could eat 10 of these. 

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The texture doesn't really look like fish after you put the soy sauce on top. 

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Lean tuna from Hawaii
So red - and a contrast from the previous Hokkaido scallop's texture since it was firmer. 

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Grouper from North Carolina
Another fish I thoroughly enjoyed! Also really smooth and yummy with a stronger flavour. 
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So pretty...

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Amberjack
A tougher fish than the Grouper - meatier

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Uni (sea urchin)
I'm usually not a big fan, but this was so soft and creamy - it definitely makes a huge difference when it's fresh. 

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Salmon roe
I like the bubbly and pop-able texture of the roe, but this was a little difficult to eat. 

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Fluke
Another delicious white fish! I'm learning so much about different textures and flavours of fish. 
In the past, I thought salmon and tuna were the best types of sashimi, but I've been proven wrong multiple times tonight. 

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Anchovy sushi (?)
I have to admit: I was too busy staring at all those tiny little eyes to pay attention to what I was eating (or what kind of fish it was). 

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Hamachi or yellowtail
I've never really appreciated this classic sashimi fish, but it really is quite beautifully coloured. 

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Toro or tuna belly from Spain
OMG TORO! I love Toro. I feel like any high class sushi meal I has to have it. 
It's just so fatty and delicious...mmmm

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Bonito
I've eaten bonito flakes and I never really appreciated the flavour because it's so salty. However, I never knew the fish was so pretty and colourful! It's like a feast for the eyes - until you eat the actual fish and realize that it is that salty by itself and the same bonito flavour is there. 
Can't say I'm a fan, but I appreciate it more now.
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An up close picture because it's really beautiful

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Tuna hand roll
Hmm...all I can say is that it's a lot of seaweed

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Sea eel
It's different from unagi (bbq freshwater eel) because a little tougher and has a lot of tiny little bones. 
I prefer unagi over sea eel. 

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Tamago
Egg sushi is difficult to make and the texture of this one kind of reminded me of sponge cake. 

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Golden snapper
We had the option to get another piece of sushi and went for it! The golden snapper was really good! I'm glad we chose the option to try something we haven't really had before. 

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Green tea panna cotta and black sesame ice cream
A nice finish to our meal

Overall: It was a fun experience eating all those pieces of sushi and I found it really interesting learning about all the different types of fish and their textures and flavours. I probably wouldn't pay $80 for the meal again, but it was enjoyable and delicious while it lasted. 

YASU on Urbanspoon

Monday, 29 December 2014

Dayali Beijing Roast Duck

We came here on a recommendation for Peking duck. After a 15 minute wait, we were crammed into a table for 4 that was made into a table for 5 and the restaurant was packed. 
Since we didn't know what to order - we went with the set meal with lobster and Peking duck. 
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Ok...salad course? 
The top salad had some strange brown sauce I've never had before and it was cold. The bottom salad was tossed with a light vinegar dressing and kidney meat. OK - I have no idea what's going on here - but these were two of the blandest and strangest salads I've ever had in a Chinese restaurant

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Ma-Po tofu soup
Something I recognize! The soup was spicy, but seemed a little watered down. 

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Peas? 
I kept looking around to see if I was actually in a Chinese restaurant. 

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Peking Duck!
Finally! Although we were puzzled by the Peking Duck, that was all??? They only cut up 1/4 of the duck and skin for us and it was nowhere near enough for those pancakes. Also, the vegetables looked like they were kind of haphazardly thrown onto the tray...where are the cucumbers? 
I'm totally not seeing the hype about this place. 

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Steamed fish
Finally! Something I can handle, although the fish wasn't scaled in some places - which is just awful. 
At least it was big, although quantity doesn't make up for quality. 

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Oh - the rest of the Peking Duck came after we finished all but two of the pancakes: how lovely (*heavy sarcasm*). However, the duck was really juicy and quite tasty. 

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Lobster
I have no idea why it was in such a big plate that took up 1/2 of our table when we were already super crowded. Eventually, one of the waitresses had to downsize our plate so we could fit everything on the table. The lobster was okay. 

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Green onion pancakes
I was actually kind of excited when I saw these! Usually these are pretty good at most restaurants, but it wasn't the case here - they were oily and doughy and bland tasting. Fail.

Overall: I would say I'm usually pretty balanced in my reviews, but I couldn't figure out if it was (a) just a busy night, (b) we ordered the wrong things or (c) the food and quality of the food was just that terrible. It also didn't help that the service wasn't very good - no one really told us what we were eating and they kept struggling to put everything we ordered on the table because our table was small and the plates were big (the actual plates, not the food). I'd say it was a disaster and I probably wouldn't come back. 

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Edo

I've been on a deal-finder spree with Groupons - I can't resist the deals especially when they give me an extra 20% off! This Edo deal was $72 for a 5 course tasting menu for two. 
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Amuse bouche: Seafood sunamono
Tiger Shrimp, Hokkaido Scallop and kanikama on a bed of glass noodles and seaweed
It was a tiny shooter glass with all this stuff inside - I wasn't too sure what to think. It was refreshing, but not particularly flavourful. I almost think the shrimp, scallop and kanikama got lost in this because all I remember was the glass noodles after eating it.

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Chawan Mushi
Lobster and egg custard in a tarragon and black pepper lobster bisque
Really lovely presentation, but it didn't really stand out for me despite the impressive ingredient list of tarragon, lobster and egg custard.

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Nasu dengaku (miso eggplant)
This wasn't part of the tasting menu, but ever since Shinobu, we have been obsessed with nasu dengaku - so we ordered it to try it.
They cooked it like they just threw on too much miso paste and baked it hoping that it would absorb the flavour. We found the texture really mushy and it tasted really salty. Awful - not worth the extra money.

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Black Dragon Roll 
BBQ eel on shrimp tempura maki with avocado, cucumber and dynamite sauce
The roll was tightly packed and artfully presented. The size was a little small, but it was pretty decent.

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Nigiri Moriawase
Tiger Tuna, Goma Hamachi, Salmon nanabi, botan ebi and wakame
I really liked this - probably my favourite dish of the night. Such beautiful colours and a classy presentation. The fish was really good and the sauce and accompaniments to each piece of sushi was fantastic and well-suited. The only piece I didn't really like was the wakame (because who really needs a piece of seaweed sushi?)

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Kobe beef sliders on panko crusted crispy rice patties with sweet potato frites and wasabi mayo
When we saw Kobe sliders, we thought a few mini burgers or something. Instead, we got this interesting combination of three patties onto of a fried rice cake and tempura fries.
The slider was good, but we were disappointed by this course.

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Miso Alaskan Black cod
When they say tasting menu - they really mean tasting menu. This black cod was probably the size of one of my fingers - I didn't even know you could serve fish this small without it being an appetizer.
The wasabi risotto was heavily flavoured with wasabi, which is good if you like the taste of ground Japanese horseradish, but not so good if you don't like the stinging taste (which was me).
The portions were cute and dainty, but definitely not what I expected for the main course of the tasting menu.

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Mochi
sticky rice ice cream cake with fresh fruit
It was okay...the meal wasn't going so well at this point and I was still a little hungry.

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Green tea panna cotta
Very heavily flavoured with matcha

Overall: The service was good and there were some highlights to the tasting menu Groupon. However, overall, I wasn't impressed. For the most part, the food wasn't particularly flavourful (and kind of bland in some parts) and the portions were tiny making the experience very expensive! Even though it's a tasting menu, I usually come away full and in this case, I was tempted to stop by the McDonalds across the street at Markham Town Square to grab a quick bite to fill me up.

Edo on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Kaga by Ginza

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We got the tasting menu for 4 people
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Miso soup and a mixed greens salad to start

california hand rolls
4 California Hand Rolls
The hand rolls were packed with a lot of stuff: avocado, flying fish roe, fake crab, cucumber and rice. 

Suzuki fish sashimi, salmon, squid and mackerel with egg
Suzuki fish sashimi and other sashimi
This was really beautifully presented and the suzuki was really good! The sashimi was smooth and flavourful and there was also other sashimi like salmon, packed roe with mackerel on top (the first time I've ever tried anything like that) and squid with cucumber. 
surf clam and suzuki fish
Suzuki and surf clam sushi
I find surf clam rather tough in texture and I'm not a big fan, which probably made the suzuki taste even better in comparison since it was delicate and fresh. 

sake clams
Sake Clams
The presentation was interesting - served in a stone bowl with a ramen spoon is definitely different. However, I couldn't say that I particularly enjoyed this dish. I prefer mussels over clams, but the sake broth wasn't particularly strong.  

grilled squid
Grilled Squid
I've been seeing a lot of pictures of this (and I wonder if it's one of their signature dishes). It looked amazing and it tasted pretty good with the sauce. 

salmon
Teriyaki Salmon

tempura
Assorted Tempura
Eggplant, shrimp, squash and pumpkin. I'm not a big fan of shrimp tempura, but I love vegetable tempura and the tempura sauce. The eggplant was okay, but my favourites are the squash and pumpkin. I like the contrast in texture with the mushy squash inside and crispy fried tempura bits outside.

steak
Grilled Steak
It was nice that they cut it into strips, but I found it a little tough in certain parts. 

fried suzuki
Fried Suzuki Head
They took the platter back after we had the sashimi and fried the fish head. I like that they use all parts of the fish, but I didn't really like the fried fish bones. 

black sesame, mango, green tea and red bean
Black Sesame, Mango, Green Tea and Red Bean ice cream
The waitress told us that the black sesame ice cream was from Japan and I could definitely see it. It was fragrant with the black sesame taste and a little overpowering for me. The red bean and mango were my favourites. 

Overall: The service was really good at Kaga. Our waitress really knew her stuff and she took the time to explain all our dishes and highlight what we were eating and what was good on the menu. It was also my first time having suzuki which is delicious!