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Nov 5, 2007 11:58 AM

toshi sushi review

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. 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. 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

        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

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

      2. 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

          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. +

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

          1. 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

              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.