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Ki, Doku 15, or Starfish for great value? (GTA)

Taking a tired, 30-something suburban mom away from her kids to stay at the Cosmopolitan Hotel (near King and Yonge) on Friday, March 2 for an overnight spa getaway at Shizen. Her husband often goes to Ki on expense account and he recommends it, but we might prefer to stay in and have dinner at Doku and simply order room service breakfast. Neither Ki nor Doku sound like they have Chowish food or good value for money, but correct me if I'm wrong. Starfish is on my must-try list but we want to stay as close to the hotel as possible. (Don't want to take her to JKWB, Kultura, Trevor, Perigee, etc.) Any advice or recent reviews from 'hounds? Thanks.

http://www.doku15.com/
http://www.starfishoysterbed.com/

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  1. Starfish is out of this world, with lovely, intimate service and really close to your hotel -Adelaide west of Jarvis. I was at Ki in the summer- a real scene and IMHO highly overrated food and poor service. I don't see much about it on Chowhound, but I really like Nami. (also right near your hotel). You can get a cool Japanese room to eat in. I think their sushi is very fresh and I adore the grilled sardines from the Robata Grill. Enjoy your weekend.

    1. I don't mind some of the items on the menu at Ki, but I wouldn't call it value for the money or a chowfind. Best left for expense accounts.
      Haven't been to the other two, but I keep hearing good things about Starfish. There's also Beerbistro.

      1. You could give Biff's a whirl. That's a short stroll from the hotel at Yonge/Front.

        Otherwise I'd say Starfish is the best bet of the three you mentioned.

        1. KI definitely is not up to par with the food. Environment is cool though. Have not been to Doku 15, but I believe Starfish is the one with the most value and best food, the price on the main are very reasonable.

          I would recommend Reds Bistro on Adelaide. Went there recently, the food and service are great. The place is also very nice with big table not close to each other. Probably because they got a new chef Michael Steh who was a sous at Splendido before.

          1. Starfish is by far the best of the three..Doku 15 can get kind of a young clubby feel depending on the customers. KI is actually owned by the Keg (enough said!!)...If you like oysters and seafood Sarfish is in the top couple of places in Toronto.

            6 Replies
            1. re: tasoid

              Yah, I think Doku 15 is probably not the kind of place your looking for, its a little too much on the bar/lounge side.

              1. re: tasoid

                KI is actually owned by the Keg (enough said!!)...

                what do you mean, exactly? The guys that own Ki and the Keg on York have a booming business that is very successful. I really admire that; the restaurant business is brutal,

                now chowishly, I would never eat at Ki on my own dime, it's totally an expense account place. Many of the dishes are quite enjoyable, they're just very expensive.

                1. re: orangewasabi

                  There's a generally derisive attitude towards The Keg on this board for a number of reason - essentially the criticisms being that it is the McKeg for steaks instead of burgers.

                  I guess one would assume that The Keg owners would 'play it safe' and charge slightly higher price for very adequate food...

                  1. re: orangewasabi

                    Yes, I had the same reaction to this comment., and I really get tired of the foodie snobbishness that often emerges on this board. I had one meal exactly at Ki, and while it really is aimed at bay street type on expense accounts (ie not good value for money), it was perfectly fine, with decent fresh ingredients and some interesting combinations. Safe fusion Japanese, and it succeeds quite well in what it is trying to achieve. I'd go back (if someone else were paying!), and look forward to it.

                    1. re: bluedog

                      I've not been to the Keg but I believe it's a chain restaurant like Milestones or Outback which doesn't necessarily mean it's bad but rather nothing special and not really fine dining (nothing wrong with that) like nearby Bymark or Jamie Kennedy, which is I think what orangewasabi meant in his offhand reference to the Keg.

                      But isn't your statement about Ki being "not good value for money" just as damning against the restaurant as any references to the Keg? I mean I would rather be like the Keg than be not a good value for money!

                      1. re: syoung

                        of course we should recognise the keg's success, but eating @ chains is just plain boring and for people who value repetition over innovation...that being said ki is ok, if u can handle the macaroni cowboy bay street jr execs that u want to punch out for being drunken rude louts.