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Posts Tagged ‘asian-fusion’

Tapas… Japanese-styles.  

Immediately intrigued. Love small plates. Love sharing food.  

A girlfriend mentioned Guu to me a few weeks ago, a buddy had raved about it. Hugely popular in Vancouver. Owners just opened up a new restaurant in Toronto. Then, I read a post by torontolife. And all the comments that followed it. Then, another friend asked. Then, a co-worker.  Then, another friend… OK, that was it. I HAD to go. 

  

photo cred: compendium daily

 

We arrived exceptionally early. 5:30pm early. Well, A was on time. I was running late… as per usual. sigh. Life-long resolution. 

Atmosphere was warm, loud and boisterous; chefs yelling, waiters answering, voices raised to make themselves heard …this was gonna be great fun. 

Menu begs you to try something different. So many choices. Where to start? Our strategy: pick one ‘safe’ dish, then pick one dish you’d never think of trying. Ooo, I like this game.  

guu izakaya menu

 

Ok, must admit – whenever there’s salmon sashimi on a menu, deal is sealed. Can’t help it. Undeterred by unfamiliar ingredients (natto + shibazuke + takuan) and the raw egg (didn’t bat an eyelash) – this was my ‘safe’ dish…with a twist. Salmon natto yukke, done. 

Adventurous pick? The mackerel. Simply because, I’ve never tried. A ordered tuna sashimi (secret fist pump, love tuna) and deep fried calamari.  

Hungry tummies were waiting. With great anticipation. Would the food live up to the hype? 

photo cred: Renée Suen

 

YES. unequivocally yes. 

My favourite? The ‘safe’ dish! And uniquely different. 

Familiar flavours mixed with new flavours (fermented soybeans + pickled egglant/cucumber + daikon radish pickle). Raw egg? Yep, it holds that mixture together. Spoon on to seaweed, roll and enjoy. It’s messy. But, delicious.  

A’s favourite? Ikapiri. Calamari, spiced up with a kick and dipped in wasabi mayo. How can you not like? 

ikapiri

 

Sure enough, by 6:30pm – all seats were filled. We didn’t care. Barely noticed. Too busy saying “ohhh, so good” & eagerly reaching for more.  

Would reco going with a small group of 3-5. Just so you can sample more, and very affordable with each dish between $5-9.  

We had 5 dishes between the two of us…and probably could’ve kept going. Gluttony is at an all-time low after the holidays. clearly. high five. 

Sitting at the long wooden communal bench, shoulders touching with complete strangers, inadvertently over-hearing conversations (“seriously, I could eat this dish every single day, it’s that good”), not-so-discreetly eyeing each other’s plates, openly asking which ones we had tried… ohh, I’ll be back. 

And bringing a few of you with me. 

  

Stand-out dishes:  

 “SALMON NATTO YUKKE” Chopped salmon sashimi with 7 friends (Natto, shibazuke, takuan, wonton chips, garlic chips, green onion and raw egg yolk). Mix them up and wrap it in NORI seaweed.  

“MAGURO TATAKI” Lightly seared B.C. albacore tuna sashimi with ponzu sauce and garlic chips  

maguro tataki

 

Honourable mentions:
“IKAPIRI” Deep fried calamari with spicy ketchup and wasabi mayo
“Grilled SABA” mackerel with garlic, lemon and herb on vegetables  

grilled saba

 

It pains, but easily forgettable:  

 “KABOCHA KOROKKE” Deep fried kabocha pumpkin croquette with a boiled egg inside  

kabocha korokke

 

Until next time:  

“ABURI SALMON” Lightly seared atlantic salmon sashimi with ponzu sauce & wasabi mayo
“AGEDASHI TOFU” Deep fried tofu in DASHI broth
 “HOTATE BUTTER” Pan fried scallop with soysauce & garlic butter
“GINDARA” Grilled black cod with SAIKYO miso & white wine sauce
“BUTAKIMCHI BIBIMBAP” Rice, spicy ground pork, kimchi, assorted vegetables & an egg in a hot stone bowl 
 “OKONOMIYAKI” Deep fried Japanese style pancake with TONKATSU sauce & mustard mayo 

  

fyi: 2-hour time limit 

And until the hype dies down, go early. Or you risk waiting. And they don’t take your #, tell you to go across the street & have a drink while you wait. You just wait.  

  

http://www.guu-izakaya.com/toronto.html
398 Church St.
416.977.0999

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Tomi-Kro

Every Tomi-Kro review will rave about the lobster maki balls.  

This one, won’t be any different. So unoriginal, I know.
Visual caveat: these maki balls don’t do anything for me. Barely excited. 
And I like to get excited about my…… food.  

So, we get over the presentation. And focus on the different layers of fantastic.  

Cut into the crispy battered tempura shell to the lobster meat & avocado (that combination alone); smear on some heat with wasabi and dip into the soy. Redemption.  

photo cred: blogTO

 

Let’s rewind and focus on the foie gras crème brûlée for a minute, shall we?  

Foie gras + crème brûlée. It’s exactly what you think it is.  

Take your spoon and lightly tap… into indescribableness.
I know it’s not a word and please don’t hate me for enjoying it so much.  

photo cred: Jen Chan

 

And rewind again, to that first step through the door. Immediately, you’ll take in the ambiance, artlessly detailed decor, warm tones…eclectic and inviting. One of those great date places.  

Try it, you’ll see.  

photo cred: Jen Chan

 

Stand-out dishes:  

Tempura lobster maki balls
Fois gras crème brûlée
Cedar Valley organic duck breast (if you enjoy duck, you’ll love)  

   

photo cred: blogTO

 

Honourable mentions:  

Veal osso bucco
Bay scallops over slaw
Shitake risotto
  

It pains, but easily forgettable:  

Wasabi panko potato cake
Tuna tartare & sashimi (delicate portion woes)
Brussel sprouts with asiago & pancetta
Roasted beets w. pistachio, balsamic vinegar & goat cheese (not a beets fan, wasn’t converted)  

Until next time:  

Octopus ceviche (on a mission to try every ceviche dish in the city)
Sesame albecore tuna
Arctic char  


Tomi-Kro
1214 Queen St. E.
(416) 463-6677
  


  

 

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Until I find a better way to organize… here’s the list.

{And it’s by no means finished. hardly. we’ve just gotten started}

To satisfy all tastebuds:
Amuse (Queen E. & Waverley Rd) – http://www.amusetoronto.com/
Café La Gaffe (Baldwin & Henry St) – http://www.cafelagaffe.com/  
Harlem (Church & Richmond St. E) – http://www.harlemrestaurant.com/
Mildred’s (King W & Hanna Ave) – http://www.templekitchen.com/
Madeline’s (King W. & Portland) – http://www.susur.com/madelines/ 
Sidecar (College & Bathurst) – http://www.sidecarrestaurant.ca/   
Wine Bar (Church & Front E) – http://www.jamiekennedy.ca/ 
Politica (King & Strachan) – http://www.dine.to/politica/
The Drake (Queen W & Dovercourt) – http://www.thedrakehotel.ca/
 
Tapas-Style:
LEE (King W. & Portland) – http://www.susur.com/lee/   
Foxley (Ossington & Dundas) – http://www.foxleybistro.com/
Cava (Yonge & St. Clair) – http://www.cavarestaurant.ca/
Supermarket (College & Augusta) – www.supermarkettoronto.com/ 
Kultura (King E & Jarvis) – http://www.kulturarestaurant.com/ 
Tomi-Kro (Queen E & Leslie) – www.blogto.com/restaurants/tomikro
Guu (Church & Gerrard) – http://www.guu-izakaya.com/toronto.html
Mezzetta (St. Clair & Christie)
Torito (College & Augusta)
Swirl (Queen E & Yonge)

Brunch:
Brassaii (King W & Spadina) – http://www.brassaii.com/ 
Conviction (King W & Portland) – http://www.convictionrestaurant.com/
The Drake (Queen W & Dovercourt) – http://www.thedrakehotel.ca/
Le Petit Déjeuner (King E & Jarvis) – http://www.petitdejeuner.ca
Bonjour Brioche (Queen E & Broadview)
Saving Grace (Dundas & Bellwoods)
 
Casual:
Supermarket (College & Augusta) – http://www.supermarkettoronto.com/ 
Terroni (Adelaide E or Queen W) – http://www.terroni.ca/
Foxley (Ossington & Dundas) – http://www.foxleybistro.com/
Pizzeria Libretto (Ossington & Dundas) – www.pizzerialibretto.com/
Rodney’s Oyster House (King W & Spadina) – http://rodneysoysterhouse.com/
Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar (Church & Front E) – http://www.jamiekennedy.ca/ 
Cava (Yonge & St. Clair) – http://www.cavarestaurant.ca/
Guu (Church & Gerrard) – http://www.guu-izakaya.com/toronto.html

Ossington Strip:
Union (Ossington & Queen) – http://www.union72.ca/
Foxley (Ossington & Dundas) – http://www.foxleybistro.com/
Pizza Libretto (Ossington & Dundas) – http://www.pizzerialibretto.com/
Rua Vang Golden Turtle (Ossington & Queen)
Delux (Ossington & Humbert)
 
Finer-Dining (Entrées: $23-35):
Nota Bene (Queen W & University) – http://notabenerestaurant.com/
Frank @ AGO (Dundas & University) – http://www.ago.net/frank/
Olivia’s at 53 (College & Clinton) – http://www.oliviasat53.com/
Amuse (Queen E. & Waverley Rd) – http://www.amusetoronto.com/
5th Elementt (Bay & Wellesley) – http://www.5thelementt.com/
Splendido (Harbord & Spadina) – http://www.splendido.ca/
Harbord Room (Harbord & Spadina)  – http://www.theharbordroom.com/
C5 (ROM) – http://www.c5restaurant.ca/ 
Conviction (King W. & Portland) – http://www.convictionrestaurant.com/
George (Queen E. & Jarvis) – http://www.georgeonqueen.com/ 
Brassaii (King W & Spadina) – http://www.brassaii.com/ 
Crush Wine Bar (King W & Spadina) – http://www.crushwinebar.com/
Trevor’s Kitchen & Bar (Wellington & Front) – www.trevorkitchenandbar.com/ 
Le Sélect Bistro (Wellington & Spadina) – http://www.leselect.com/
The Drake (Queen W & Dovercourt)- http://www.thedrakehotel.ca/
Rosebud (Queen & Bathurst) – http://www.therosebud.ca/
Loire (Harbord & Portland) – http://www.loirerestaurant.ca/
 
Finer, Finer Dining (Entreés: $35-100):
Auberge du Pommier (Yonge & York Mills) – www.oliverbonacini.com
Scaramouche (Avenue & St. Clair) – www.scaramoucherestaurant.com/
Chiado (College & Ossington) – http://www.chiadorestaurant.com/
Canoe (Bay & Wellington) – www.oliverbonacini.com/canoemovie.html
Harbour Sixty (Harbour & Bay) – http://www.harboursixty.com/
 
Experiences Dining:
O’Noir (Church & Bloor E.) – http://www.onoir.com/
C5 (ROM) – http://www.c5restaurant.ca/ 
Frank @ AGO (Dundas & University) – http://www.ago.net/frank/
 
Asian & A-Fusion:
Matahari Grill (Baldwin & McCaul)  – http://www.mataharigrill.com/
Benihana (Front & York) – www.benihana.ca/
Tomi-Kro (Queen E & Leslie) – www.blogto.com/restaurants/tomikro
Supermarket (College & Augusta) – www.supermarkettoronto.com/ 
BlowFish (King & Bathurst) – http://www.blowfishrestaurant.com/
Kultura (King E & Jarvis) – http://www.kulturarestaurant.com/ 
Mengrai (Queen E & Ontario) – http://www.mengraithai.com/
SukhoThai (Dundas & Parliament) – http://www.sukhothaifood.com/
Guu (Church & Gerrard) – http://www.guu-izakaya.com/toronto.html
Rua Vang Golden Turtle (Ossington & Queen)
Pho 88 (Dundas & Spadina)

Charcuterie:
Rosebud (Queen & Bathurst) – http://www.therosebud.ca/
Cava (Yonge & St Clair) – http://www.cavarestaurant.ca/
Harbord Room (Harbord & Spadina)  – http://www.theharbordroom.com/
Conviction (King W & Portland) – http://www.convictionrestaurant.com/
Loire (Harbord & Portland) – http://www.loirerestaurant.ca/
Black Hoof (Dundas W & Bellwoods)
 
French:
Le Sélect Bistro (Wellington & Spadina) – http://www.leselect.com/
Le Papillion (Front E. & Church) – http://www.lepapillonfront.com/en/
Auberge du Pommier (Yonge & York Mills) – www.oliverbonacini.com
Saint Tropez (King & John) – http://www.lesainttropez.com/
Le Petit Déjeuner (King E & Jarvis) – http://www.petitdejeuner.ca

Italian:      
Vittorio (Dupont & Avenue) – http://www.vittorios.ca
Pizzeria Libretto (Ossington & Dundas) – www.pizzerialibretto.com/
Il Gatto Nero (College & Bathurst) – http://www.ilgattonero.ca/
Terroni (Adelaide E or Queen W) – http://www.terroni.ca/
Osteria Ciceria e Tria (Yonge & Queen W) 
Tutti Matti (Adelaide & Charlotte)
Buca (King W. & Portland)
 
Seafood:
Rodney’s (King W & Spadina) – http://rodneysoysterhouse.com/
Madeline’s (King W & Portland) – http://www.susur.com/madelines/

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