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May 27, 2007 01:10 PM

any sushi thoughts?

my sushi crazy uncle is coming here for a visit in a few weeks. he wants a nice sushi dinner somewhere in the core. i usually stick with toshi sushi, but would like to try something different this time. the ones that seem to get good reviews are omi, nami, japango and kaji. i would like to try kaji, but may be too out of the way. price is not really too much of an object, but i am mainly looking for a place that has great fresh sushi, good sake selection, and a room for conversation (that is why i ruled out blowfish) any suggestions?


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  1. If conversation is important then drop Japango off your list. It's good, but you sit cheek to jowel with other patrons. That leaves you with a choice of not hearing well or speaking loudly to one another. A little Monty Python. Or is that Abbott & Costello?

    Nami is great for conversation and decor, but that's what you're paying for. Not the quality of the sushi. That said, it would be nice for a father-son dinner whether you get an intimate booth or sit at the sushi bar. The food's not bad. It just doesn't rank up there with Kaji or Omi.

    I'm a huge fan of Omi for it's relaxed atmosphere and impeccable sushi. If you go, omakase is the best way to go. The regular menu is just that. Regular. Omi's atmosphere is fine for conversation both intimate or boisterous. The decor is nothing to speak of. In general it's blues music from John Lee's i-Pod playing. If your crazy uncle is anything like mine, he'll like that. The sake selection is small, but well-chosen.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Googs

      Try Japango on Elizabeth. Small place with great sushi... some rare and exotic stuff!

    2. You might want to give Ema-Tei a try. It is on St. Patrick just north of Queen West. The sushi is very fresh and they have a nice variety of dishes on the menu. They have regular tables and booths and I have always enjoyed myself whether eating with a group or just with my husband.

      1. i am a huge fan of Hiro Sushi. He is a certified sushi chef. the decor isn';t that great, but if you give him ma 'free hand' your uncle will not be disappointed.

        by most lists he is rated as one of the best.

        1 Reply
        1. re: galambo

          I second the Hiro vote. Not the greatest atmosphere and the service could be described as "subtle" but the sushi is exceptional. Go with the sushi omakase...they also have a mixed omakase as well. Also, try to get reservations at the sushi bar. Ematei is nice and I like the armour (they also have one of those private rooms with the tatami mats), but I didn't like the food nearly as much and found it expensive for the quality. Have yet to try Kaji. There is now one on Church street that gets good reviews...? Kaiseki-Sakura I think? At Church and Wellesley...

        2. i've only been to ema-tei, hiro, japango and omi...

          but for the most part i'm sort of split with what everyone has to say here.

          for sushi, avoid ema-tei. they're overpriced for the quality of the sushi and i tend to depend more on their cooked items than anything. the atmosphere is dour and often makes me reluctant to dine there but will gladly get take-away ramen and such.

          i agree with googs that japango is not a great option. first off, limited sake selection. second, while i personally don't mind if people hear my conversation or vice versa (i have definitely seen some interesting goings on at tables a couple inches away from me) it can be annoying sometimes if you really want to focus on your table. otherwise, LOVE their fish and love bruce. he'll remember you from your first visit and forever... always get amazing sushi even when i'm just getting a set plate.

          hiro really disappointed me. what the heck is up with that shitake oyster sushi?? i ordered an omakase and just got plates off of the regular menu. we were however not sitting at the sushi bar (booked up when i called) and that might have affected it. i can appreciate what he does, it didn't taste bad at all, but i just wasn't wowed to any effect and it was probably the most i've spent on sushi in toronto thus far. annoying, but one day i will return for a second chance.

          omi is your best bet out of the ones i've been to. agree that the sake selection is a bit small but significantly better than most in toronto. huge variety from floral to fruity to just plain old clean. the visual appeal of the place is lacking...definitely aged but i find the atmosphere that john and patrons creates more than makes up for it and it's truly welcoming. loved the seared scallop and his brown sugar cured salmon. one thing i really absolutely adored about him was his obvious passion for what he does. i dont' know how to describe it, but every action he does speaks volumes of how much he loves what he does and wants people to love what he does. it's unrivaled to what i've seen in toronto thus far.

          2 Replies
          1. re: pinstripeprincess

            I consider John Lee's behaviour a sure sign of a happily married family man. The love & nurturing shows. Makes for a very relaxing vibe no matter who you are. You're right about the decor PSP, but if its two boys out for a night on the town who needs fancy?

            1. re: Googs

              just setting expectations... it's a far cry from blowfish in style aesthetic but i'd rather eat at omi any day. there is a warmth about the place that the people bring to it.

          2. Kaji really isn't that far west.Love the place.Nothing nicer than his sushi on the counter and good sake in my veins.It would impress the bejeezus out of your uncle. Kaji may be serving shochu on the rocks during the hot spell, too.Check his website and call ahead--it can get booked-up quick.