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toshi sushi review

pinstripeprincess Nov 5, 2007 11:58 AM

with the confirmation of omi gone and an increasing number of rather disappointing experiences at japango, i was hoping toshi would be the shining light. they didn't quite hit the mark but i dare say they could give a number of the izakaya-style places in this city for a run.

sushi combo's are heavy on simple maki rolls (tuna, california, etc) and with their pricing rivaling the deluxe meals at japango, it's disappointing that much of the sushi never really breaches the typical fish. the freshness of the fish (maguro, salmon, marinated salmon, butterfish, makeral w/ roe, and unagi) was certainly apparent but the delicate flavours of the fish were beyond subtle. this was made even worse with overly seasoned rice (mostly vinegar) that tended to overpower every bite.

separate orders of hamachi and giant clam were had, and at $4 a single piece the value was difficult to swallow. the hamachi was perfect, but again beaten into submission by the rice, and the giant clam (aka. geoduck) seemed to be lightly cooked but maintained a wonderful crunch and a delicious base sweetness. the geoduck did lack the tenderness of a piece i've had at kumai.

overall they were incredible in their consistency and formation of the nigiri but overall the portioning was rather small.

alternatively the fried flounder, marinated oyster, fried fermented soy beans (more onion than bean with a near bahji like flavour), and grilled ox tongue were fantastic. fried items were not overly greasy and remained quite crispy throughout the meal. the ox tongue was tender and deliciously charred. each dish came with its own dipping sauce that gave it more complexity. a varied sake list and quite a few alcoholic beverages on the menu, i could see this working out as an izakaya style experience much better.

and just a note about the service... the waitresses were friendly, helpful and lovely but the sushi chef seemed to want nothing to do with our simple queries regarding the fish we couldn't firmly identify in the case.

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  1. c
    childofthestorm RE: pinstripeprincess Nov 5, 2007 01:39 PM

    Thanks for the review, been meaning to try this place. I'm a huge fan of izakaya food so Toshi has just moved up on my list.

    1. Recyclor RE: pinstripeprincess Nov 5, 2007 03:42 PM

      I haven't ordered that way, I'll have to try it with a few freinds...but I have had a few great meals at Toshi, the chef has always been quite a personality and very freindly as we chatted more throughout the evening...

      2 Replies
      1. re: Recyclor
        pinstripeprincess RE: Recyclor Nov 6, 2007 06:41 AM

        your positive experiences were a bit of a driving factor in even bothering with trying toshi again, but it just didn't click. the sushi chef was completely unreceptive, never asked how we liked anything we ate, barely lifted his eyes towards our direction even though we were clearly interested and fascinated by everything happening on the other side of the glass. if it were any other restaurant type of restaurant i would have thought of it as totally disinterested service... the waitresses made up for it and i'll be sure to sit at a table next time.

        you have mentioned that you've been with a japanese friend who was able to engage toshi in a conversation and order more interesting items... perhaps you need to be japanese or recognized to gain any attention from him.

        1. re: pinstripeprincess
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          tasoid RE: pinstripeprincess Nov 8, 2007 04:11 AM

          Always offer to buy the chef at Toshi a drink, your experience will change for the better!!!

      2. Charles Yu RE: pinstripeprincess Nov 8, 2007 04:28 PM

        If indeed they 'lightly cooked' the Mirugai ( Geoduck clam ) before using them for sushi/sashimi then they have committed one hell of a mortal sin!!!
        According to Kaji, the authentic Japanese preparation of Mirugai is to remove the elephant trunk shaped muscle from the giant shell, then 'throw' it hard against some hard surface to force the muscle to contract, chill it in the fridge and then sliced and serve 'RAW'!! The popular Chinese method of preparation, ie either lightly poaching the sliced clam muscles in water or quick stir fry in oil will destroy partially the crunchy texture and dampened the sweet taste. A no-no in my opinion!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Charles Yu
          pinstripeprincess RE: Charles Yu Nov 9, 2007 06:26 AM

          i could very well be mistaken then.

          my only experiences with geoduck sushi would be kumai and toshi but i dare say they seemed rather contrasted. both did have a bit of that crunch you get from fresh clam-like seafood but there was still a much more tender quality from the one at kumai. the one at toshi was hard and crisp throughout... potentially due to the muscle contraction you speak of. i could have also received pieces from different parts?

        2. JamieK RE: pinstripeprincess Nov 9, 2007 06:55 AM

          +

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          Toshi Sushi
          565 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1M1, CA

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            mickintoronto RE: pinstripeprincess Apr 15, 2008 03:02 PM

            we went to toshi's a few weeks ago and ordered the omakase menu for $55. It was the biggest rip-off ever. Agree with service above -- waitresses were friendly, but although we were sitting at the sushi bar, the sushi chef totally ignored us except to place incredibly unexceptional sushi in front of us. The omakase started with a marinated oyster, followed by hamachi and salmon sashimi (BORING), then a series of gross, fried foods including spring rolls!, a piece of grilled black cod -- which I've eaten at every Japanese restaurant around the world, then the sushi dish, which included the same salmon and and hamachi that was served in the sashimi dish. For $55, I would have expected something, ANYTHING special, but the fact is that the whole meal was about as interesting as any Lunch Special Bento Box I could get at any pedestrian sushi restaurant anywhere in town for $8.99. I do not recommend this place at all. I've eaten in restaurants all over the world and consider this meal to be one of the top five most disappointing meals I've ever had.

            1 Reply
            1. re: mickintoronto
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              hungry teeth RE: mickintoronto Jun 23, 2008 07:48 AM

              Best Izakaya in Toronto is Ematei on St.Patrick. Their robata is tops! Prices are good, service is consistent. They are busy on weekends, but through the week it's easy to walk in and get a table.

            2. j
              JamesJT RE: pinstripeprincess Jun 23, 2008 03:23 PM

              Passed by Toshi today for what was first and last time! I had spicy tuna hand roll, which was covered in this god awful tomato spicy sauce as well as the standard mayo/red pepper sauce. I have no idea what the point of that was, you could barley tell what you were eating with all that gunk.

              1. Googs RE: pinstripeprincess Jun 24, 2008 12:57 PM

                Not to be confused with the Toshi Sushi in Brampton which is actually pretty good.
                http://www.toshi.ca/

                5 Replies
                1. re: Googs
                  Kagemusha RE: Googs Jun 25, 2008 08:56 AM

                  Thanks, Googs. The Brampton Toshi is a sweet, family-run place that's consistent and low-key, It's truly a diamond-in-the-rough in its gawdawful location.

                  1. re: Googs
                    Food Tourist RE: Googs Sep 19, 2008 06:42 PM

                    Had late lunch at Toshi in Brampton today...got the "premium nigiri" - 15 pcs for $28. It was really disappointing! I had to send back the awful-tasting uni. They immediately replaced it with significantly better-textured and tastier uni. What kind of stunt were they trying to pull? Everything else was really below average and could not be classed as "premium" except for one piece which I would describe as being mostly white but really rich-tasting, almost with the look of tuna belly (sinewy) but totally melt-in-your-mouth. I don't think it was butterfish and the server thought it was yellowtail which I doubt. Anyway, if I need my Brampton sushi fix, I'll stick to their sashimi platter for $18 which has been pretty consistent in the past.

                    1. re: Food Tourist
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                      syrahc RE: Food Tourist Nov 17, 2008 08:11 AM

                      Have you sent Uni back many times? I have had bad luck with it but don't know how to deal with the it. I will usually consume Nigiri in one bite and by then I don't have much to show for the offending piece of seafood.

                      1. re: syrahc
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                        Smalph RE: syrahc Nov 18, 2008 10:50 AM

                        I find that uni is like oyster, in the sense that you'll know it's off by the smell. In my experience, uni is extremely variable in flavor, so not every piece will be an explosion of fabulousness, and you can't always tell nuance of "pretty good" versus "amazing" by scent. But if it's nasty, the smell will let you know. I was once served - at a reputable restaurant - uni that quite literally smelled like cat litter. I sent it back, and it was replaced with another order which smelled precisely the same. Unsurprisingly, I have not been back.

                        1. re: Smalph
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                          tjr RE: Smalph Nov 18, 2008 05:18 PM

                          Not only can uni be highly variable in terms of taste, but there are also different varieties. Add to this that it often has preservatives added to maintain the shape.

                  2. Bobby Wham RE: pinstripeprincess Jun 25, 2008 09:35 AM

                    Rikishi's better

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Bobby Wham
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                      syrahc RE: Bobby Wham Jun 25, 2008 10:37 AM

                      But Rikishi won't seat you even if they're half full. That's more than enough people to apparently grind their kitchen to a near halt.

                      1. re: Bobby Wham
                        Food Tourist RE: Bobby Wham Sep 19, 2008 06:46 PM

                        Rikishi has gone so far downhill as to be unredeemable. Slowest service in town combined with sub-par quality of fish. Ugh.

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