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So what's the word on Le Cafe Michi?

eco987 Jul 29, 2007 09:54 PM

I've been away for a bit and was wondering if it is still worth the visit. I'm a Chirashi Don fantic.

  1. l
    LYuan Mar 24, 2008 02:32 PM

    I am a HUGE, HUGE fan of uni, and their Uni Don (although expensive), is fantastic. Maybe it's the sight of uni covering a whole bowl rice, but I LOVE IT!!!!!

    The fish at Michi is always fresh, and most importantly, served at the right temperature to promote good texture and flavor. Very good place for sushi!


    1. Royaljelly Jul 30, 2007 08:21 AM

      I had recently returned from a short trip to Manhattan and had some lovely authentic japanese food. After returning to Toronto, I was really craving some more of the same, so Cafe Michi was a nice Chowhound find, esp since it's not too far drive from my work.

      We went there for the first time ever for lunch, and was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food. We had a sushi sampler, fish was very fresh and well presented. The sushi chef (Toshi was his name?) said they import their fish from Boston and Japan. We also had the eel on rice, which was very tender and not overly sweet in sauce like most places do it. Also surprising was their good selection of freshly made Japanese cakes. One lady server there (not sure if it's the owner?) said she made them herself.

      BTW Charles, I don't suppose that was you sitting on the other end of the sushi bar on that tuesday lunch hr?

      16 Replies
      1. re: Royaljelly
        cowhound Jul 30, 2007 08:41 AM

        Had you been before when Kaji was there?

        1. re: cowhound
          wciu Jul 30, 2007 02:58 PM

          I haven't been there recently but I've been there when Kaji was there, and I've been to Kaji's.

          I think that if you are at Cafe Michi already, you might as well go to Zen. The food is on par, if not better, and I think it's better value.

          I've only been to Kaji's once, and never really went back again. I just don't think Kaji's worth the money, but I seem to be the only one with that opinion though.
          The food were top notch in many ways, but is is worth the 3 times the price of the omakase I get at Zen? I didn't really think so. The maki that Kaji served me was quite ugly, probably because Kaji was trying to put on a show by using this huge knife to cut it and making noises all the while. The result was 6 pieces of unevenly cut maki, which he then served to us.

          That's all that was memorable about that meal now that I think back, so I guess that why I've never been back. :p

        2. re: Royaljelly
          skylineR33 Jul 30, 2007 09:59 AM

          Hi Royaljelly, do you know where do they get their eel ? I suppose they do not grill the eel themselves. Or anyone know ? Thanks.

          1. re: skylineR33
            Royaljelly Jul 30, 2007 12:05 PM

            Unfortunately I didn't try it when Kaji was there (nor have I tried Kaji's own restaurant). We also didn't get a chance to ask about the source of the eel, only asked about a few of the raw fish selections that he had available at the sushi bar.

            I did try their raw uni (sea urchin) which I had some of the most amazing quality when I ate @ Sushi Ota in San Diego back in Feb 07. Cafe Michi's was decent, but not as creamy/buttery as in SD. Toshi was saying that July is probably not the season for it, but better in the colder months. He's only been there since May 07.

            I probably shouldn't be using uni as a judgement on the quality of sushi... but I've heard awhile back that trying a sushi chef's egg (tamago) sushi is a better way to judge their sushi making skills?

            1. re: Royaljelly
              aser Jul 30, 2007 12:23 PM

              Yes tamago is a good indicator not just for an itamae, the treatment of eggs in general by a chef is a good indicator of skill. Many chefs ask prospective hires to cook an omelete to test their cooking ability. Reason being eggs are such a delicate yet common ingredient. If a chef has the touch to cook an egg properly, then they'll most likely know how to cook other things w/ care.

              1. re: Royaljelly
                Charles Yu Jul 30, 2007 04:08 PM

                Hi! I only frequent the place in the evenings. Never been to their lunches. Don't worry, I'm sure one day we will meet thru some chowmeet! As for the uni, I guess Toshi must be making a general comment. Based on conversation with him, I find Toshi very knowledgeable. Afterall he received 'formal' culinary school training in Osaka twenty years ago and has been in the food business eversince. Lastly, if one compares Zen with Michi. For the quality, amount of food and price that Michi offers, Michi definitely wins hands down!! Agree?!

                1. re: Charles Yu
                  aphie Jul 30, 2007 05:50 PM

                  I would have to agree with wciu that Zen is better in terms of quality and perhaps even price. I do think the quality at Michi has declined somewhat since the changeover. However, its better than almost all sushi places in the Scarborough area and I think it's a nice touch to end the meal with a slice of their Japanese cake.

                  I would also recommend Hama in Market Village on the border between Markham and Scarborough. I heard they may be renovating so their decor will finally get a much needed sprucing. $20 will get you a lovely chirashi or sushi set. Great value and quality.

                  1. re: aphie
                    Charles Yu Jul 30, 2007 09:02 PM

                    The nicely presented '3 connecting bowls Chirashi' that I had at Michi last Wednesday had the following:
                    2 pieces each of tamago ( egg ), ika ( squid ), sake ( salmon ), amaebi ( sweet shrimp ), gampachi ( a higher grade yellow tail ), hiramea ( fluke ), maguro ( tuna ), tako ( octopus ), mirugai ( geoduck clam ), hota tegai ( scallops ) and a heap full sake/murin marinated ikura ( salmon roe ). No cheap ingredients such as false crab kani or hokkigai were used This vast array of seafood displayed in a chirashi is very uncommon.
                    In addition, the meal started off with a complimentary appertizers of two soya marinated quail eggs, slices of king mushrooms in a murin, ponzu based sauce and seaweed in a seasame /miso vinegrette. The green salad has a revised ginger based dressing. The slice of cake ( orange chocolate truffle ) at the end of the meal is now bigger and has a few berries/cherries garnish. Instead of green tea, I had the Japanese coffee.. All these for $24!! If this is not value for money, I don't know what is?!!!

                    1. re: Charles Yu
                      skylineR33 Jul 30, 2007 09:09 PM

                      Wow! $24 is a good deal ! I want to check it out soon.

                      1. re: Charles Yu
                        aphie Jul 31, 2007 07:13 AM

                        Haha, my friend and I went last week for dinner and she ordered the chirashi in 3 bowls and I ordered another dinner set. Neither of us got any of the complimentary appetizers you mentioned but got plain old soup and salad. Our slices of cake were also around the same size they always were and there was definitely no fruit garnish. Could it be possible you're getting special treatment?

                        All I'm saying is that for about $22-23, you can get a great chirashi or sushi set at Zen. My perception is that the quality at Zen is superior to Michi. That said, Michi still has lots to offer.

                        1. re: aphie
                          Charles Yu Jul 31, 2007 04:00 PM

                          Special treatment - You might have a point there! Afterall I've been there quite a few times since Toshi took over. So him and his staff should recognise me. However, when I last dined there a week ago, I did notice the couple sitting behind me also received the 'three dish' complimentary appertizer platter. May be he knew them too?! Guess this is fairly common amongst Japanese sushi bar. In fact, when 'Jack' was manning the sushi bar for the previous owner, I too noticed him giving 'freebies' to regular 'Chinese' patrons.

                        2. re: Charles Yu
                          ace123 Jul 31, 2007 11:15 AM

                          This is what I have for lunch.

                          Left: 2 pcs each of salmon, egg & sweet shrimp
                          Middle: 2 pcs. each if squid & tuna, 1 cooked shrimp
                          Right: 2 pcs. each of amberjack & tako, some ikura.

                          Together with green salad & 1 small slice (like before, no garnish)of cake.

                          This is the #2 item on the menu for $22.

                          1. re: Charles Yu
                            pinstripeprincess Jul 31, 2007 11:49 AM

                            that is absolutely spectacular and i'm salivating....

                            is gampachi similar to or the same as kampachi? how was it there and how often do they have it? it's one of the most amazing fish i've eaten thus far.

                            1. re: pinstripeprincess
                              ace123 Jul 31, 2007 03:47 PM

                              I really like amberjack/kampachi too. I would suggest you order a la carte @Takesushi (BCE Place). There are 3 pcs in an order & each slab is at least double, probably triple the size of Cafe Michi. Very satisfying.

                        3. re: Charles Yu
                          skylineR33 Jul 30, 2007 08:28 PM

                          I also love the sashimi omakase I had at Zen (which is what I only order if I want to eat raw food there), $45 sth for very good sashimi and quantity is good. Tried the sashimi when Cafe Michi is under the management of Kaji, think it is ok, but do not have a chance to try the omakase there.

                          However, the cooked food at Cafe Michi (which I usually order in there) has gone downhill for a while ...

                          1. re: skylineR33
                            aser Jul 31, 2007 01:17 PM

                            another good option for a $45 omakase is Solo-Sushi Ya, albeit it's all the way up in Newmarket. I might sound like a broken record as I always name drop this place. It is very much worth the trek up north.

                  2. aser Jul 29, 2007 10:06 PM

                    kaji-san is no longer involved in the operation. The owner (older lady) sold the restaurant, new owners have supposedly cut corners. I haven't been since the switch (April) but a few people here have commented on it. Do a search if you're interested.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: aser
                      eco987 Jul 29, 2007 10:09 PM

                      Thanks fo the reply, I've read those post too. I just thought/hoped that since they posted right after the switchover the new owners realized their mistakes and fixed the kinks.

                      1. re: aser
                        Charles Yu Jul 30, 2007 05:45 AM

                        We frequent the restaurant once every couple of weeks since 'Toshi-San' took over. Food is as good if not better than before ( when Jack was sushi chef ). Very innovative and nicely presented complimentary appertizers. Fish quality remains excellent with new items continue to be added to the mix. Currently, Mirugai ( geoduck clams ) and Fluke from Japan ( not East coast.US ). Definitely no signs of cutting corners.

                        1. re: Charles Yu
                          paul1000 Jul 30, 2007 08:29 AM

                          I much preferred the quality of sashimi when Jack was the sushi chef. I used to go twice a week back then. Now, maybe once every couple weeks.
                          Overall the fish quality is still very good, but IMHO it has decreased slightly.

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