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.


Vickie said...

Order the 8 course Omakase for my last year Birthday dinner back in December.... so good.... if you like it there, you'll love Japango since same owner =)
Another place to try is kaiseki SAKURA, have you been?

They have the best Sesame ice cream, couldn't find it anywhere else.... Yummmm
After reading your posy, I guess I'll have to go back soon T_T

The Food Junkie said...

@Vickie - No I STILL haven't been to Japango!!! >_< I KNOW I will love it too lol =) I haven't been to Sakura either. Honestly Vickie, you of all people should start a food blog hehe ^^

Yeah their sesame ice cream was awesome. Best I've ever had!

Vickie said...

LOL =D I am thinking about to start one but it's very time consuming and I'm just afraid that I can't think of enough stuff to write about for each post =P

and i couldn't even think of a good enough name for the blog >___<

Cici said...

Like previously mentioned Japango is run by the same chef so you might just get the same thing there. That Yuzu house roll looks EXACTLY like the Japango house roll except it's not seared at the table, probably due to the tiny space, and some of the sashimi is seared as well.

If/when you end up going to Japango, you have to try the omakase there and the oyster shooters! I don't remember if they're on the menu but essentially it's an oyster with uni, green onion, ponzu sauce and a raw quail egg all served in a shot glass. Heaven in my mouth!

Vickie said...

BTW... one of the chinese chef from Japengo open his own retau call Sushi Couture, it's a copy of everything Japengo at 1/3 the price (take a look at my fb album)

The Food Junkie said...

@Vickie - actually yeah, it is quite time consuming, although you may see only some paragraphs for each of my post, but it actually takes kinda long to formulate my thoughts into words O_o but really you don't have to write a lot just put up pics and brief description is ok too! Sometimes I think I write too much anyway hahhaa =)

I just checked out the Sushi Couture pics from your FB, looks fabulous! Another to add to my "to-eat" list. Don't you wish someone would pay you to go around and eat? *daydreaming*

The Food Junkie said...

@Cici - ahhh I remember you told me about the oyster shooters. MUST TRY! So sad how it is so close to my work but I still haven't been to Japango O_o OMAKASEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

Anonymous said...

My boyfriend and I were looking for a recent review of Yuzu since we made reservation there for our anniversary. Thank you for the awesome review. I believe that I will be keeping up with your blog often. :)

The Food Junkie said...

Thanks Anonymous! Knowing that makes me happy and motivated to continue blogging =) I'm sure you and your boyfriend will have an amazing time at Yuzu. Let me know if you enjoyed the food afterwards...and HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! ^_^

Anonymous said...

Dear FJ:
The food was amazing. The fish was so fresh and the presentation was absolutely beautiful. The restaurant was a bit loud and I think there's something funny going on with the acoustics of the room, but all in all, it was a very cool ambiance.

The only down side was that they did not have the black sesame icecream...sigh...

But overall Bf and I had an amazing anniversary. Thank you again for your wonderful post!

The Food Junkie said...

Hi Anonymous. I'm glad to know that you enjoyed the food, but yes, I gotta agree with you that the ambiance may not be the best at Yuzu (not the most romantic, that is). Sorry to hear about the black sesame icecream! Maybe next time? =)

Thank YOU for reading! ^^

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