Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Yuzu Sushi & Sake Bar

I'm honored to have this post be featured as a guest post at Eat My CityEat My City is an online food magazine featuring restaurant reviews, cooking tips, and recipes by and for amateur food enthusiasts in Toronto.  

It is here that I will declare Yuzu as my absolute favorite Japanese restaurant that I've been to so far in Toronto. The first time I heard about Yuzu was from my friend Cindy, who raved about their chirashi (chirashi is a style of sushi where sashimi is placed in a bowl over a bed of rice). The next time I heard about Yuzu was from my other friend, Quyen, whose boyfriend took her there for her birthday; she came back afterwards to tell me that Yuzu is now her favorite Japanese restaurant in Toronto. By that time, I was dying to go but somehow never got the chance to. Then, lo and behold, an old colleague of mine, May, wanted to meet up for dinner and what do you know, she suggested to go to Yuzu because she has also heard great things about the restaurant! Perfect.

We went on a weeknight right after work, around 5:30pm. I was the first one to arrive, and also the only one at the restaurant. It was the best time to snap some pictures in peace.

I got a table beside the window and this is the view to my right. Yuzu's decor is nothing fancy nor extravagant, but more so on the contemporary side - simple, clean lines through out the restaurant. Very modern.

Bottles of sake displayed across from me - Yuzu is a sushi & sake bar after all.

Yuzu was featured in an article from NOW Magazine in 2009. I knew ahead of time that May and I weren't going to order the omakase (chef's selection) that night, so I guess I would need to come back for that another time.

Left - A separate list of seasonal appetizers. If you can't make out the items, it consists of delicious goodies such as: Hokkaido Scallop (with panko crusted rice), Kamo Salad (miso marinated duck), Mussel Sakamushi (PEI mussels steamed in sake), Seafood Hibachi (personalized seafood hotpot cooked on table), Tuna and Avacado Tartare, Buta no Kakuni (18 hr slow braised pork belly), and Green Tea Tiramisu. 

Right - Special sashimi available that day. I was already drooling at the thought of O Toro while taking the picture.

Once May arrived, we both decided to order the "Yuzu Dinner", a 7-course meal. 

1st Course: Yuzu Osuimono with Clams 

The clams were very fresh. You can actually taste the clams in the soup so don't be deceived at how light the broth looks - it was full of flavor.

Found this at the bottom of the bowl!

Yuzu Maki - Avacado, Tobiko, Shrimp Tempura, Salmon, Spicy scallop, seared at the table - This was not part of the 7-course meal, but I had to order it since Cindy told me about the cool flame.  Too bad it was still bright out - I couldn't capture the flame as well as I've hoped in this picture.

I was able to capture the perfectly rolled maki with gold flakes sprinkled on top though.

2nd Course: Yuzu Salad - Love the presentation. The greens were so crisp and fresh.

Whatever salad dressing they used was also incredibly delicious - tangy and light.

3rd Course: Tempura - The tempura was average, nothing much to say about it actually. Did not make an impression on me at all.

Sashimi: From top left - O Toro (Blue Fin Tuna Belly), Hamachi, Sea Bream from Japan - We ordered this on the side (not part of the 7-course meal). We ordered it because we wanted to try some of their specialty sashimi.

May picked the Sea Bream from Japan...

...and I picked the O Toro and Hamachi. All extremely fresh and cut to the perfect thickness.

4th Course: Sashimi (Chef's Selection) - BC Tuna, Sea Bream from Greece, Sweet Shrimp, Butterfish -  I now know prefer the Sea Bream from Japan over the Sea Bream from Greece! Not sure if it was my imagination but the sweet shrimp was probably the sweetest shrimp I've ever had (like it was dipped in sugar).

5th Course: Broiled Black Cod with Sweet Miso Glaze - I love black cod (my second favorite behind the Chilean sea bass) and this time was no exception. The shape of this piece of black cold resembles a butterfly, no?

6th Course: Sushi (Chef's Selection) - Again, A+ on the presentation.


Mackerel on Croquette

BC White Tuna 

Sea Bream from Japan

7th Course: Choice of Ice Cream - No question that I would pick the sesame ice cream over anything else. I actually stopped listening after I heard the word "sesame" so I can't tell you what other flavors they had. I'm pretty sure the good ol' green tea was one.

We were literally at Yuzu for 4 hours. This 7-course meal is not your average dinner since the dishes do not come out all at the same time, nor does it come out right after you're finished a course. Not a complaint though, but more of a warning for those of you who want to go try the Yuzu Dinner - you absolutely cannot be in a hurry.

My experience at Yuzu was fabulous. Everything was beyond my expectations: the service, presentation, variety of specialty sashimi, freshness of the sashimi / sushi, attention to detail - everything was impeccably executed. It was indeed a very memorable dinner for me.

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