I was invited to EDO-ko (Twitter: @EDORestaurants, Facebook: EDO Restaurants) last week for their mid-January media event. If my memory serves me right, this visit marks my first time ever at an EDO restaurant (little did I know the first EDO opened in 1986!) So when I received this exclusive invitation I thought it was the perfect opportunity to check it out. EDO has a total of four locations: EDO-ko on Spadina, EDO on Eglinton, EDO at Bayview Village and EDO at the Hilton.
BARRY J. CHAIM - CEO and Founder
Barry Chaim, a graduate of McGill University in Montreal, received a Japanese Government Mombushu Research Fellowship to study at Tokyo University in Japan in 1973. In 1986 Chaim made a financial investment in founding EDO, a Japanese restaurant in mid-town Toronto, while in the spring of 1996 he took over direct management. In 1998, EDO received recognition as one of Gourmet Magazine's "America's Top Tables". A Fellow of the Ontario Hostelry Institute since 2002, Chaim was named Asian Restauranteur of the Year in 2012 by the Cambridge Food and Wine Society, the first non-Asian to receive this recognition. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre, Toronto.
RYO OZAWA - Executive Chef
Born, raised and educated in Fukuoka, Japan, Ryo Ozawa, after 10 years of training and work in Japan, specializes in classical French cuisine (Seiyo-Ryori). Ozawa attained the senior rank of Teaching Chef and has won national and international competitions, including first place in the Canadian Culinary Cup (2002), a Gold Medal in individual competition at the IKA/World Culinary Olympics in Erfurt Germany (2012), and a Glenfiddich Award from the Cambridge Food & Wine Society as Asian Chef of the Year (2013). Ozawa combines Japanese essence and western influences in EDO's menu, and excels when challenged to present his omakase (chef's choice) menu.
Executive Chef Ryo Ozawa and CEO & Founder Barry Chaim
At the dinner, Chaim explained to us that EDO is not a sushi restaurant but a Japanese restaurant that offers sushi. He told us that cuisine in Japan is divided into two streams - Washoku and Seiyo-Ryori. Wa-Shoku is the traditional method of cooking that includes tempura, teriyaki, kaiseki, sushi, oden, and sukiyaki, etc. Seiyo-Ryori is the combination of European (mainly French) sauces and influences on Japanese methods and standards, evolving constantly into new dishes with the same or different ingredients. Chef Ozawa was trained in Seiyo-Ryori, never having professionally prepared sushi in Japan. Chaim described chef Ozawa's approach as not fusion but a "careful consideration and combination of an ever-evolving unique style".
We were treated to many dishes that evening, from cold and hot appetizers, tempura, to sushi, specialty maki rolls and grilled mains.
KYU- MAKI ($7)
Avocado, cucumber slivers & sweet inari wrapped in delicate cucumber skin, rice vinaigrette
SALMON TAR-TARE ($13)
Avocado, Tem-bits, cucumber, tobiko, green onion, nori squares, Dynamite Sauce
GOMA HAMACHI ($15)
Yellowtail from Kyushu, thin sliced, maple-tamari glaze, real wasabi & toasted sesame
NANAMI SALMON ($12)
Thin slices of seared spiced Atlantic salmon, green onion, grated radish with ponzu sauce
TIGER TUNA ($13)
Thin slices of seared tuna, green onion, Japanese mustard-miso glaze, balsamic vinegar reduction
Shisso leaf and nori tempura, greated ginger and white radish, Tempura dipping sauce
SPINACH & SHIITAKE GYOZA
Pan-seared homemade dumplings with gyoza dipping sauce
KARA-AGE CHICKEN NUGGETS ($10)
Japanese style, deep-fried chicken nuggets, nanami spice, sea salt
MISO BLACK COD ($29)
Char-broiled Saikyo miso-marinated black cod (sable-fish/Gindara)
SPICY TUNA TEMPURA MAKI
Tempura-fried maki, tuna, green onion, Tem-bits, Dynamite Sauce
LOBSTER TEMPURA MAKI ($24)
Fresh Nova Scotia lobster tempura, avocado, cucumber, tobiko, toasted sesame, kabayaki sauce
Chef Ryo Ozawa searing our Kobe beef nigiri.
KOBE BEEF NIGIRI
Seared U.S. Kobe beef with sea salt and real wasabi
ANGUS STRIPLOIN ($27)
Fire-grilled certified Angus striploin, Chef Ryo's teriyaki sauce, grilled vegetables, truffled multigrain mushroom rice
What stood out for me the most that evening was Ozawa's sauces, and I'm thinking it must come from his Seiyo-Ryori training in Japan. Instead of serving sashimi with soy sauce, Ozawa kicked it up a notch at EDO. The aromatic maple-tamari glaze on the hamachi and the vibrant mustard-miso glaze with balsamic vinegar reduction on the seared tuna were both excellent accompaniments to the sashimi. Both sauces weren't overpowering (you could still taste the fish) but they gave a depth of new flavours you won't normally experience with sashimi. The Chef's perfectly balanced teriyaki sauce is probably the best teriyaki sauce I've ever had. The balance of soy sauce, sake/mirin, sugar and ginger (and perhaps other secret ingredients) was just right so that the teriyaki sauce not overly salty, sweet, nor rich. The teriyaki sauce did a superb job in enhancing the beautiful flavour of the meaty Angus striploin.
If you ever find yourself craving Japanese food in Forest Hill Village, make sure to give EDO-ko a go.
*This meal was complimentary. The opinions and views expressed on this post are my own*