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Japango - recommendations

purplepiano Apr 23, 2007 10:09 PM

Hey guys/gals I'll making my 'special trip' to Japango for lunch on wedsnesday and needs recommendations of what to order other than their famous omakase! Anything that I must try? I heard the oyster shooter is top-notch...!

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  1. g
    Gary RE: purplepiano Apr 24, 2007 04:40 AM

    My wife and I love the butterfish. Usually it's included in the sushi combo meals, but you can also order it a-la-carte. I forget what the "real name" of the fish is on the menu, but if you ask for butterfish they know what you mean.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Gary
      purplepiano RE: Gary Apr 24, 2007 08:24 AM

      Great! Thanks for the rec~~

    2. dinin and dishin RE: purplepiano Apr 24, 2007 08:44 AM

      They do a tuna tartar type dish that is not actually on the menu. There is a picture of it on the dinner menu, and that is what my friend ordered based on. It was devine and perfect for sharing - topped with scallions and sesame oil. Mmmm. I still think about it a year later.

      Oh and any of their signature maki rolls.

      6 Replies
      1. re: dinin and dishin
        pinstripeprincess RE: dinin and dishin Apr 24, 2007 09:06 AM

        there's a photo here of the tartare if you're curious:

        i've enjoyed it a couple times but i find with each subsequent visit i seem to get less fish and it's just not... the same.

        i vote for the deep fried little crabs. i usually order the sushi deluxe dinner and get a fantastic selection of fish that will mix in some of their fresh in items. kampachi mmm mmm gooooood.

        for something unusual, i'd ask for their cod wrapper hand roll. they'll fill it with anything you want but instead of nori you get a crispy fish based cracker cone thing. it's very savoury/salty and i love it, but it's not necessarily for everyone.

        1. re: dinin and dishin
          oohlala RE: dinin and dishin Apr 24, 2007 12:06 PM

          do they serve fresh monkfish liver?

          1. re: oohlala
            pinstripeprincess RE: oohlala Apr 24, 2007 12:41 PM

            i was served it at an omakase a year ago but never asked for it again. so unless it was something in special that day, they definitely don't shy away from offering it.

            1. re: pinstripeprincess
              kerwintoronto RE: pinstripeprincess Apr 25, 2007 01:14 PM

              Off topic/thread....

              We got a nice poached monkfish liver at J-Town.

              My lack of chowness is glaring but...I don't know what to call it. It was tightly wrapped in plastic film and looked almost like a pale german sausage. You could see it was a whole liver wrapped up and cooked (some rendered fat and the compressed lobes). Amazing!

              A pate? Pate de foie lotte de mer?

              1. re: kerwintoronto
                aser RE: kerwintoronto Apr 25, 2007 03:54 PM

                ankimo アンキモ is the official term for it.


                japango is good, but if given the option, I would pay an extra $10 and hit Kaji.

                1. re: aser
                  Googs RE: aser Apr 26, 2007 11:44 AM

                  IMO Japango does an excellent job of filling the void between Kaji and AYCE. Tasty & affordable.

        2. p
          purplepiano RE: purplepiano Apr 24, 2007 07:30 PM

          wow thanks for the suggestions i'm getting excited by tomorrow's visit =)

          7 Replies
          1. re: purplepiano
            kerwintoronto RE: purplepiano Apr 25, 2007 01:07 PM

            Envy you. We tried Japango last week and went all in for the omakase ($70 a head). Hmmm...thinking about the menu.

            Salad with seared hotategai (scallop) slices and ebi (cooked shrimp).
            Oyster/uni/quail's egg (uzura?)/ponzu...i don't recall what else but there is a nice review of it in another thread.
            Sashimi plate with seared butterfish/toro/aji-mackerel(I think)/sea trout(i think) ... 4 types
            Black cod wrapped in a leaf in a semi-clear broth (broth was a ginsengy or herbal...ginko?)
            Sushi plate

            It was very pleasurable...we were tempted to go back this past Monday but couldn't get a last minute table.

            1. re: kerwintoronto
              oohlala RE: kerwintoronto Jun 18, 2007 07:45 AM

              Finally went to japango for the first time and had the omakase ($70). Due to some delay, we had to postponed our dinner reservation for half an hour on Saturday. We were expecting to hear some disgruntled feedback from the restaurant, however, the waitress was so accomodating, she even offered to move our reservation 30 mins more if we cannot make it on time.

              The service, as I expected when we walked in the restaurant, was impeccable. We were greeted by both the waitress and the chef at the same time. The young chef, Jimmy, was humourous the entire night. Apparently the restaurant just changed to their summer menu, so few things on the menu have changed.

              - We started with sashimi platter, Salmon, BC Tuna (I'm guessing it's albacore tuna, the flesh is quite light), lightly broiled Butterfish with flavoured soy sauce, yellow tail, and grouper with ponzu jelly and chopped scallion.
              - Oyster shooter/arctic clam and sliced cucumber with sweet mayo/cold noodle with ginger and katsuobushi (I think it's in there, but never got a confirmation from the store) spiced soy sauce
              - Braised daikon with ebi drizzled with sweet mayo
              - Edamame puree soup (amazing soup!)
              - Black cod marinated with sweet miso
              - Sushi plate (5 pieces), the fish was not compressed enough to stay on top of the rice. All 5 pieces were falling apart when I tried to invert the sushi.
              - ice cream, highly recommend the black sesame flavour

              I was impressed with the freshness of the ingredients and the attentive service. However, for the price, I think I will opt for their regular menu next time, unless they have a completely new omakase menu. $200 for two (including alcohol after tax) is just a bit too much for the ingredients they use.

              ps. I know the food should be the #1 priority, but I just felt a bit of uneasy when I saw the oyster shooter glass Japango uses is from the dollar store.......... Ha, if someone asks where they get the shooter glass, let me know~

              1. re: oohlala
                cutehinano RE: oohlala Jun 18, 2007 03:33 PM

                I totally agree about the price - it's way cheaper to order off the menu and you can get equally good sashimi...I don't think I'll get the omakase at japango ever again.

                1. re: oohlala
                  oohlala RE: oohlala Jun 19, 2007 06:03 AM

                  Just to add another note, I did not enjoy the oyster shooter at all. I guess it must be an off night for them. The oyster was briny and fishy. Flavours from the quail egg and uni were completely masked by the almost fetid oyster. Probably will not order that again

                  1. re: oohlala
                    Smalph RE: oohlala Jun 20, 2007 02:35 PM

                    Oohlala said: ps. I know the food should be the #1 priority, but I just felt a bit of uneasy when I saw the oyster shooter glass Japango uses is from the dollar store.......... Ha, if someone asks where they get the shooter glass, let me know~

                    Me: I felt a bit of uneasy when I saw that the plastic take-out platters were stored, open, in the restroom. Despite the delicious meal we had there, I do not think I am likely to order food to go...

                    1. re: Smalph
                      Fragola RE: Smalph Jun 20, 2007 03:42 PM

                      I had a bad experience last year at Japango. I felt awful for days, nothing stayed down. I suspected it was the oyster shooter but after reading the DineSafe site, I'm not so sure anymore.


                      FAILURE TO PROTECT FOOD FROM CONTAMINATION Operator fail to ensure food is not contaminated/adulterated C Notice to Comply
                      Operator fail to use proper procedure(s) to ensure food safety S Notice to Comply
                      FAILURE TO ENSURE / PROVIDE FOR PROPER EMPLOYEE HYGIENE / HANDWASHING Operator fail to provide separate handwashing sink(s) S Notice to Comply
                      Operator fail to wash hands when required C Notice to Comply

                      1. re: Fragola
                        11oclockish RE: Fragola Jun 21, 2007 12:04 PM

                        Wow. I have never had a bad experience at Japango. Everytime I have gone, the food has been incredibly fresh and well prepared - although I have never been there when the older chef, Bruce, wasn't. Also, I am not talking about the Japango in the Beach area, but the one on Elizabeth St. near new city hall.

                        Great food at a very reasonable price. I've been told by two different people who are very picky, international, sushi eaters that Japango serves some of the best Japanese food & sushi they've had in Toronto. (Always the Toronto caveat, of course)

                        Seriously, hounds, don't let the comments stop you from trying it. Japango on Elizabeth St. has been the subject of many very good reviews on the Chow board in the past. It is not a fancy place at all, tiny, with a very small kitchen, and you can see almost everything being prepared. Honestly, most fast food joints are much scarier.

              2. dinin and dishin RE: purplepiano Apr 25, 2007 02:32 PM

                So....how was lunch today?

                1 Reply
                1. re: dinin and dishin
                  purplepiano RE: dinin and dishin Apr 25, 2007 04:37 PM

                  went there today at 1:30 and ordered a dragon maki + hamachi sashimi + butterfish~~ they were all really tasty~~! unfortunately I totally forgot about the tuna tartare!! Anyway, back to the food... I wanted toro sashimi at first but they did not have it today so I opted for hamachi instead~~ really fresh...! no "fishy" smell whatsoever~~ the dragon roll was really prettily presented ^^ i also enjoyed the butterfish~ the waitresses kept refilling customers' tea cups before they emptied (thumps up)~~

                2. s0memale RE: purplepiano Apr 25, 2007 07:52 PM

                  they seem to never have toro...

                  unless you order the omakase...

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: s0memale
                    purplepiano RE: s0memale Apr 26, 2007 08:07 AM

                    yes it was a pity because I really wanted to eat toro yesterday... but nonetheless the hamachi and butterfish were really fresh so no disappointments there!

                    1. re: purplepiano
                      zed1984 RE: purplepiano Dec 21, 2007 04:51 PM

                      We tried japango tonite @ 5ish based on the GOOD reviews of this place. and wow. it is our NEW sushi place (bay/dundas). loved the intimacy, wooden floors,the FOOD was terrific.
                      we had:
                      2X orders of butterfish (highly recommended)
                      maguro sushi
                      sake sushi
                      hamachi sushi
                      spicy scallop maki
                      spicy tuna handroll
                      futo maki
                      everything was at the very least good. However the sushi (maguro, and hamatchi were outstanding)
                      we will return whenever we want sushi @ a good price. (ho su will suffice for lunches)...kaji is just 2 far away. big up to japango tho..loved it!

                      1. re: zed1984
                        acd123 RE: zed1984 Dec 21, 2007 05:07 PM

                        My GF and I were there last week. It's been our go-to place for Japanese for a couple of years. The quality of the sushi was outstanding.

                  2. Charles Yu RE: purplepiano Dec 21, 2007 05:05 PM

                    Surprisingly, I love their Yakitoris!! Reminds of the ones I had in Tokyo! Great sauce!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Charles Yu
                      juunbug25 RE: Charles Yu Jan 11, 2008 04:56 PM

                      I find this place very pricy. I got the sashimi dinner which costs about $21. It was very small. I can get bigger appetizer sashimi's at other Japanese owned sushi shops in the GTA. I didnt try anything else - just ate again elsewhere later . I like the homey feel and the simplicity of the restaurant though

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