Sunday, July 31, 2011

Yuzu, Toronto

Not finding many Japanese restaurants in Toronto that inspire me, let alone having truly fresh tasting fish, I attended Yuzu with the usual skepticism. I was very pleasantly surprised by my experience. There were some hits and some misses. Not all of the fish were equally fresh but some were very fresh and the execution of some dishes admirable.

Yakinasu, roasted eggplant in a dashi broth, topped with shaved bonito. I love eggplant and this mildly smokey version pleased me.

Tofu with nori in a clear vegetable broth for our vegan guest.

Wonderfully crispy, panko crusted squid. I would order this dish any time I return.

Another dish for our vegan guest, a maki roll filled with avocado, cucumber and carrot.

Tomago sushi, egg omelette with rice and nori

Vegetarian Tempura covered in a very light crispy batter.

Yuzu maki would be a repeat when I return. Shrimp tempura with spicy scallop, avocado, tobiko (crab roe) and rice, combined very nice flavours and textures.

Dragon roll with shrimp, avocado and eel was just ok but bland but ok.

Soft shelled crab was a fresh tasting pleasant crispy surprise.

A plate of salmon, yellowtail and uni (sea urchin) sushi decorated with flaked gold leaf.

The piece de resistance for me was a beautifully presented plate of gold leaf flecked sashimi. Remarkably, freshly grated wasabi appeared on this plate rather that the bland but hotter, moistened powdered version which is presented at virtually all Japanese restaurants in Toronto. It was the perfect complement for very fresh o-toro, blue fin tuna belly, wonderfully fatty, and the flesh firm; reasonably fresh slices of red sea bream from japan; amaebi sweet shrimp and larger botan shrimp were presented, the bodies together and the crisp fried heads adjacent, to be eaten in their entirety. The smaller sweet shrimp were the freshest and very good. The presentation of the sea urchin (uni) was a bit deceptive. Three pieces that "showed" were fresh and 1 piece under those was not fresh, the uni surface should appear rough, like the top of one's tongue and the surface of this piece was totally "melted" smooth with absolutely no surface texture. When I mentioned this oversight to the server, he merely acknowledged my comment but neither spoke with the chef or offered to do anything about it. The piece of urchin left on the plate was ignored by the server and chef. This was a serious disappointing aspect of the service which was quite attentive otherwise.

I tried 3 different ice creams, green tea, adzuki bean and black sesame seed. The were not to my liking.

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