Monday, June 27, 2011


My friend and I went to Japango a few weeks ago for my birthday. I've always wanted to try Japango because 1) I've heard only good things about the place, and 2) the owners of Japango also owns Yuzu, which is currently my favourite Japanese restaurant in Toronto (check out out my two Yuzu posts here and here).

We went for the omakase menu at Japango; figured we would go "all out" since it was my birthday afterall ($75 pp). For those of you who do not know what omakase is, it is basically the "chef's menu" where you leave everything up to the chef.  He/she will generally present a series of plates, beginning with the lightest dishes and proceeding to the heaviest, richest dishes. If you want the omakase at Japango, you must let them know when you make your reservations over the phone.

When I stepped into Japango, I was surprised at how small the restaurant was. I knew it was small as everybody has warned me about it already but I was still taken back - I just didn't expect it to be a row of tables on one side and...that's it. My friend and I sat beside each other and this was our view during the whole dinner; there were no more tables behind us or to the right of us.  With such a small place no wonder they only need one waiter lol =)

I ordered my favourite kind of sake to start.

Unagi with Sunomono Sauce - Eel was fresh, sweet, and had a lot meat. The broth was light but packed with flavour.

Oyster Shooter - one of my all-time favourite things to order. Taste is comparable to Yuzu but I like the presentation at Yuzu better.

Manilla Clams with Sake - Clams were again very fresh, and I could definitely taste the sake in the broth.

Beef Sashimi with Ceviche Sauce - I love the sauce so I didn't mind it there being so much of it. The beef was not as raw as I would like it to be. 

Black Cod with Vegetable Tempura - Beautiful presentation and perfect for me as I love black cod. 

Ebi, Sea Bream, Tuna, Butterfish - Nothing much to say here, just really fresh sashimi.

Fried Unagi and Albacore Tuna - Sushi dish (sorry for the bad picture). Very unique pieces. Both were tasty but I personally like the Albacore Tuna better as I'm not a big fan of fried sushi.

Lobster, scallops, shrimps - I love the colours; the bright orange from the lobster and the big white bowl & plate.

There was a lot of lobster meat underneath. 

Everything was delicious - the mushrooms, shrimps, scallops, and lobster tail, with all the flavours blended in with one another. However, I wish the chef did not fry the seafood as it seems like such a waste of fresh seafood.

Green tea & black sesame ice cream. I really just wanted one giant scoop of black sesame ice cream :)

My friend and I both were very happy with the food at Japango; everything was delicious and the portions were perfect, but in terms of the dinner experience, I would choose Yuzu over Japango. Our dinner at Japango seemed very rushed, as in, each dish came out extremely quickly -  when we were done a dish, the next dish would be served to us immediately. There were even a few times when the next dish was placed in front of us while we were still finishing the previous dish. Even though Japango didn't verbally rush us to leave, I personally just felt really rushed. I understand that because the restaurant is so small, they probably want a higher turnover to accommodate more customers in one night, but if I was paying $75 for their omakase, I fully expect to enjoy my dinner for longer than an hour (our dinner was practically done in an hour). My first time at Yuzu, I didn't order the omakase but had their 5-course menu, and that dinner lasted 2-3 hours. The second time I was at Yuzu, my friend and I ordered a lot of different dishes (practically a multi-course dinner) and again, our dinner lasted 2-3 hours. At Yuzu, when we were finished a dish, the next dish would be served in 10 mins or so, and during that time my friend and I would chat while the food settles in our stomachs. All in all, I just feel more relaxed and at eae at Yuzu.

That is why I would definitely go back for Japango for their regular menu, just not for omakase. 

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