Sushi place next door to Japango
There is a big new shiny sushi joint 2 doors down from Japango on the corner, at Dundas. Anyone tried it?
I have and it's aiight. I'd wait a week or two more to let them get the kinks out of it first. The sushi-grade fish was nicely fresh but the tempura was overly greasy, and the service left something to be desired in a restaurant that small with only a small amount of patrons.
I usually go to Japango for pickup but didn't call ahead tonight and when I arrived it was a full house and I didn't want to wait as I was starving. Checked out the place next door. Bad decision!! Got the chirashi dinner and spicy salmon roll. The rice was hard and dry in both. It didn't taste like there was any vinegar in the rice. The salmon sashimi seemed ok but the rest of the fish was suspect so I binned the rest. Needless to say I will not be back.
I wonder if the owner of the new sushi store knows what he's doing........ going against japango
I've tried the place (it's called Siji) on a few occasions. The bento box specials come with a lot of food....six cali rolls, tempura, veggies underneath the teriyaki meat, rice, as well as the usual miso soup and salad. If you were to order anything else off the menu, you'll be quite impressed with the artful presentation of the dishes.
I've tried other places in the neighbourhood, and so far Siji has the best value especially with the 15% grand opening discount. I have yet to try Japango though. One thing that I found lacking were servers that had a good grasp of English. I had to repeat my order several times. Also, the owner talks a bit loud. It sounds like he's yelling in Cantonese. Other than that it offers a great dining experience at a price that students can afford.
re: Emily Essert
Just tried it today. Their name means "Four Seasons" - "Siji" is actually the Chinese pronunciation; in Japanese it would have been "Shiki". The menu is in English and Chinese. And they make the same "mistake" that many Chinese restaurants make - they don't bring out everyone's food at the same time, just whatever is ready. With Chinese food, that's OK if you're sharing, but they don't understand that when you're not sharing it is rude.
Yes the presentation can be nice. Tempura came out in a Martini glass, hand rolls were placed in a champagne glass with a a bamboo leaf . (I didn't order those.) My grilled cod had a fun mass of brown threads on top which turn out to be fried taro strips. However, my friend's fried udon had mayonnaise drizzles on top and around the plate, and he cannot stomach that stuff. The manager came to take it away and started to berate the cook (in Cantonese) who came out to have a look "I told you not to..." .
The food, well my cod tasted pre-cooked and heated up. It was 2" by 3" in size, if not for the ice cream that was included I would have come out hungry. But for $11, I don't think I can complain. However, like buttertartz, I found the rice on the dry side. My friend didn't like his fried udon, which tasted like it has katsu sauce and a lot of black pepper in it (plus he imagined the mayo was merely wiped off - but I didn't taste any.)
So this is Chinese style Japanese food, and I would say the decor/style and prices would be the main drawing points.
I quite like this place. I first stopped in when I only had an hour before a meeting at City Hall and, like buttertartz, I found Japango completely full. On my first visit to a Japanese restaurant, I usually order something raw, something grilled, and a noodle soup (usually udon but I like soba too). This gives me a better idea of how the kitchen handles very different disciplines.
I was quite impressed with the selection and the prices, but with Japanese places in particular, there's always the risk of (only) getting what you (don't) pay for. I am pleased to report that my experiences have been quite outstanding, from service to quality to presentation.
I find both the sushi and the sashimi very fresh and innovatively presented, sometimes to a fault -- a party of four ends up taking up neighbouring tables to support the overflow of presentation dishes. The noodle soups (my mother's favourites!) come in very large portions, and offer generous portions of meats and vegetables in addition to clean-tasting broths and not-overdone noodles.
I like the lightly-battered tempura, but I agree it can be inconsistently greasy from time to time. I highly recommend the chawan mushi -- it's made to order so allow for that -- but the portion is substantial, with generous amounts of seafood. I've never noticed a problem with the rice being hard/dry, but then I'm Cantonese and it tastes kind of like I expect it to.
I would definitely recommend it, and have brought several friends (and family) there.