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Looking for great sushi (yes, another thread)

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peppermint pate Nov 17, 2007 10:59 AM

Desperately craving some great sushi andmaki - no desire for other cooked food options, etc. I would normally have gone to Omi but alas, no more. I like Japango but don't particularly feel like going all the way downtown. I considered Sushi Marche but it's a long way to go for take-out (still no seating, right?). I wasn't that wowed by Sado and Edo is decent but not stellar.

So...any rec's for great sushi in the square framed by Lawrence, Leslieville,College and Dufferin? I'm not fussed about prices. Thx.

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  1. Charles Yu RE: peppermint pate Nov 17, 2007 04:15 PM

    Cafe Michi or Zen.
    Last time I was at Michi, Toshi San served me three types and grade of tuna including a blue fin toro! Also, two types of wild sea bream was available, one from the Japanese sea and one from the east coast. Salmon roes were from wild Alaskan salmon, marinated in sake and mirin.

    20 Replies
    1. re: Charles Yu
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      peppermint pate RE: Charles Yu Nov 18, 2007 07:02 AM

      Wow, sounds great. Where are those 2 spots? We tried Sushi Supreme last night - we weren't expecting a "supreme" experience but we had read good reviews. We were pretty disappointed. It wasn't that the fish was bad - it's just that everything had a certain same blandness to it - we tried spicy tuna/salmon, toro nigiri, spicy scallop hand roll, hamachi, etc. Can't complain about the pricing but nothing would tempt us back there - actually, the agedashi tofu and the eggplant with miso were pretty tasty but that's it.

      1. re: peppermint pate
        Charles Yu RE: peppermint pate Nov 18, 2007 08:24 AM

        They are a bit off your desired locale, but the food is worth th extra few minutes drive,
        Michi is at Sheppard/Pharmacy
        Zen is at Eglington/Midland
        You can google search both.
        Enjoy!

        1. re: Charles Yu
          T Long RE: Charles Yu Nov 18, 2007 01:41 PM

          I'm a big fan of Michi, which in addition to excellent sushi has a good selection of cooked items, but if you are interested in just raw offerings then I would consider Aoyama on Victoria Park between Sheppard and Finch (in a strip mall...look for the KFC). I would consider their sushi on a par if not superior to Michi. I would consider Michi though if you like a piece of cake with your meal. A search of Aoyama or Michi on this site will reveal numerous positive reviews. With about 24 seats, Aoyama is about half the seating capacity of Michi, reservations are probably a good idea at either place.

          1. re: Charles Yu
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            325i RE: Charles Yu Nov 18, 2007 06:58 PM

            You forgot to mention Aoyama Sushi at Sheppard/Vic Park.

          2. re: peppermint pate
            Googs RE: peppermint pate Nov 18, 2007 10:06 AM

            Zen is superb. Do make the trip. You won't regret it.

            1. re: peppermint pate
              skylineR33 RE: peppermint pate Nov 18, 2007 10:57 AM

              Yes, I also think Cafe Michi and Zen are great ! Here is some of the sushi I had at Zen recently, geoduck, sea eel, snow crab, amberjack, fatty tuna, sweet shrimp, scallop ... the scallop is hugh (compared to the one I had at Hiro one time, 4 times bigger). Utra fresh, high quality !!

               
              1. re: skylineR33
                pinstripeprincess RE: skylineR33 Nov 18, 2007 10:59 AM

                that plate is stunning, how much did it cost?

                1. re: pinstripeprincess
                  skylineR33 RE: pinstripeprincess Nov 18, 2007 01:46 PM

                  It is the omakase sushi, so Full tummy is right. $45. I do prefer the omakase sashimi, which it has more variety and two pieces of everything, geoduck, toro, octopus, yellowtail with lime rind, spanish mackerel ........ so better in case of sharing and never disappoint on the quality !

                  1. re: skylineR33
                    Full tummy RE: skylineR33 Nov 18, 2007 06:08 PM

                    Hey, thanks. I've been to Zen sushi before but didn't have omakase; I will next time.

                    1. re: skylineR33
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                      DishyDiva RE: skylineR33 Feb 8, 2008 01:34 PM

                      Is the omakase available at lunch time at Zen...or at any other Japanese resto, for the matter?
                      Or is this something that's only available in the evenings?

                      1. re: DishyDiva
                        Googs RE: DishyDiva Feb 8, 2008 02:10 PM

                        I wouldn't know for certain, but given that the omakase at Zen is a single chef's choice plate it's likely they could accommodate. I don't know if I'd want to rush in and out in an hour though. The quality of offerings deserves a relaxed approach so you may savour each mouthful. Mind you, in the absence of John Lee's Omi, Zen is my hands-down favourite so I may be a little biased.

                        1. re: DishyDiva
                          skylineR33 RE: DishyDiva Feb 8, 2008 02:39 PM

                          Hi DishyDiva, I think it also available at lunch since I do not recall seeing it is exclusive for dinner. You don't need much time to finish the omakase at Zen. It is normal to eat omakase at lunch in a sushi restaurant if it is available. Many sushi places especially the top one in Japan only has omakase available for lunch and dinner.

                          1. re: skylineR33
                            Googs RE: skylineR33 Feb 9, 2008 08:39 AM

                            Oh I wasn't suggesting that omakase lunch at Zen would take a lot of time. I've had regular lunch there and gotten back to work on time even with about 15 minutes of round-trip travel time.

                            I was suggesting that given the rarity of Japanese restos capable of this level of skill and quality, the diner might want to take some extra time to savour and explore the menu. The hot dishes I've had are quite good as well.

                            1. re: Googs
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                              DishyDiva RE: Googs Feb 9, 2008 10:04 AM

                              Thanks for the info, skyline and Googs! I'm actually not worried about time constraints, since I intended to visit on a Saturday. I was thinking of trying out their omakase at lunch first before committing to more substantial fare.

                              A few years ago (3 or 4?), I had the omakase dinner at Hiro -- it was very good but pricey at over $100 a person (believe me, I'm not a big eater either). So, $45 at Zen sounds like a bargain by comparison.

                    2. re: skylineR33
                      Full tummy RE: skylineR33 Nov 18, 2007 11:02 AM

                      Was that omikase, or if not, what did you order?

                  2. re: Charles Yu
                    pinstripeprincess RE: Charles Yu Nov 18, 2007 11:06 AM

                    i was at cafe michi for lunch a couple weeks back and actually found the flavour of the more common types of fish rather lacking, fresh but meh... i did however find the ika, salmon roe in mirin, scallop, and another fish i couldn't identify absolutely fantastic.

                    the unidentified fish was translucent like a leaded glass window and i could practically see the veins of the shiso leaf sitting behind it. the smooth texture matched the rich creaminess of the fish and it was absolutely delicious. i was hoping perhaps someone might be able to help me identify it with this feeble photo. it is the one in the top right corner.

                    1. re: pinstripeprincess
                      pinstripeprincess RE: pinstripeprincess Nov 18, 2007 11:10 AM

                      problems uploading photo... photo attached here.

                       
                      1. re: pinstripeprincess
                        skylineR33 RE: pinstripeprincess Nov 18, 2007 01:47 PM

                        Isn't this kampachi ?

                        1. re: skylineR33
                          pinstripeprincess RE: skylineR33 Nov 18, 2007 01:54 PM

                          hrm... you could be right, i might have hit a ditz moment. it's significantly more translucent than the kampachi i've had in the past (which was very similar to hamachi in that it's pink and more opaque)... but i do recall some translucency. nice call.

                        2. re: pinstripeprincess
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                          ace123 RE: pinstripeprincess Nov 18, 2007 06:32 PM

                          It looks like kampachi.

                    2. Googs RE: peppermint pate Nov 18, 2007 11:35 AM

                      Oh I forgot to mention this: Sushi Marche, while good, isn't in the same league as Zen or Omi. I find it better than the Toronto average. I would enjoy it heartily if it were in my neighbourhood. It wouldn't merit a special trip in my mind either, peppermint. I'll be looking elsewhere for my next take-out sushi in my search for quality and convenience of location.

                      1. p
                        peppermint pate RE: peppermint pate Nov 19, 2007 06:34 AM

                        Thanks for all of the rec's as they sound fantastic and I will definitely make the rounds. The only problem is that for me, living in midtown, these would be exciting destination spots but not the kind of place I would drive to if I suddenly had a craving at 7:00 one evening. If I lower my standards from "great sushi" to "really good sushi", are there any options in midtown or downtown? Anything??????

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: peppermint pate
                          Full tummy RE: peppermint pate Nov 19, 2007 12:48 PM

                          I like Akane-ya on Queen Street East, in the east end of the Beaches. I think the fish is excellent; they may not have the range of fish at Zen or Michi, but the quality and portion is better than most.

                          1. re: peppermint pate
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                            peppermint pate RE: peppermint pate Feb 8, 2008 06:19 AM

                            I finally found an answer to my own post. I've recently had a couple of take-out lunches from Fukui sushi on Bayview (near Hollywood Gelato) and I have to say that I was quite impressed. No, this isn't Omi or Hiro quality fancy sushi but for fresh fish, interesting maki, nice presentation and central location - not to mention great value (a la carte sushi/maki lunch for 2 approx. $40) - this place gets my vote.

                          2. JonasBrand RE: peppermint pate Nov 20, 2007 06:44 AM

                            Ematei is authentic and delicious.

                            -----
                            Ematei
                            30 Saint Patrick St, Toronto, ON M5T3A3, CA

                            1. c
                              cacruden RE: peppermint pate Feb 8, 2008 08:03 AM

                              Outside of the area specified, but I found Hiro Sushi (171 King St. E - near King/Jarvis) to do quite good sushi (although service generally is not the best).

                              11 Replies
                              1. re: cacruden
                                skylineR33 RE: cacruden Feb 8, 2008 10:44 AM

                                I had lunch at Hiro around 2 months ago. Had the sashimi lunch set $20, it is a total rip off with some of the smallest sashimi cut I have even seen before. Fish quality is average. I wonder if they have improved.

                                1. re: skylineR33
                                  pinstripeprincess RE: skylineR33 Feb 8, 2008 11:34 AM

                                  at least you didn't get the sushi set, you might have gotten a big juicy shitake mixed in there.

                                  1. re: pinstripeprincess
                                    Googs RE: pinstripeprincess Feb 8, 2008 11:38 AM

                                    LOL. Yeah and what's with chicken(!) being commonly offered as sushi these days??? Whaddupwiddat? Do they figure the mushroom hoax wasn't working any more?

                                    1. re: Googs
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                                      cacruden RE: Googs Feb 8, 2008 12:11 PM

                                      They are serving raw chicken there ... I did not know they did it here, did not know we had any sushi grade chicken. Actually, the one meat I really liked as "sashimi" was horse.

                                      1. re: Googs
                                        pinstripeprincess RE: Googs Feb 8, 2008 12:46 PM

                                        so i'll admit that i've only eaten at hiro once and that was probably near two or more years ago now... but you've got to be seriously resting on your laurels if you think people will accept chicken as sushi!

                                        maybe i'm assuming incorrectly, but there's no way it's raw chicken right? with all the phobic behaviour caused by pink burgers and threats of health canada storming the doors... chicken? i thought that was the stuff of underground dining party myths in nyc and la.*

                                        * i do know that raw everything is being eaten in japan as we speak... and a part of me hopes to partake.

                                        1. re: pinstripeprincess
                                          Googs RE: pinstripeprincess Feb 8, 2008 02:14 PM

                                          Sorry. That was a little confusing. I was laughing at the succulent shitake comment. Too funny. Nothing to do with Hiro.

                                          I can't say as I've ordered chicken sushi here, just that it's appearing more and more on menus at places with, shall we say, less than stellar reputations. Honestly I had no idea raw chicken could even be eaten anywhere let alone Toronto. I highly doubt Toronto would allow it to be served. Previously frozen sushi anyone? Sheesh.

                                      2. re: pinstripeprincess
                                        c
                                        cacruden RE: pinstripeprincess Feb 8, 2008 12:10 PM

                                        Interesting. Last time I was there I was relatively happy. Now it was at night, and I don't order sets... When I go out for sushi, I prefer ordering Toro, Uni, Saba mostly - and then I might have some others - but those are my favourites. If I am ordering sushi, I am not worrying about cost -- otherwise I just would not have it.

                                        1. re: cacruden
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                                          MartiniGirls RE: cacruden Feb 8, 2008 02:25 PM

                                          isn't there some james chatto-touted place out on the queensway? anyone been? i never bother with sushi in toronto, it's no match for vancouver, but i miss it & would die for some worthy sashimi...

                                          1. re: MartiniGirls
                                            Otonabee RE: MartiniGirls Feb 8, 2008 04:26 PM

                                            I think that would be Kaji Sushi that you are thinking of.

                                            1. re: Otonabee
                                              deelicious RE: Otonabee Feb 8, 2008 04:31 PM

                                              Yes it would be Kaji. The cooked items help make this resto very special! The best.

                                              1. re: deelicious
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                                                DishyDiva RE: deelicious Feb 9, 2008 10:05 AM

                                                I agree, Kaji is very good food-wise. But the location isn't so great.

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