I had a great meal last night at Rikishi (Bloor and Shaw); I am entirely surprised that it doesn't get more attention from chowhound humans.
---Lotus root croquettes stuffed with shrimp and mushroom and encased in light tempura batter.
---Kimpira Gobo---burdock root, simmered in mirin and served cold with carrots so that it makes a pleasant and sesame-ee slaw.
--- Nigiri: Maguro and White tuna---both very fresh seeming and sitting on good rice--my only measure of the goodness of sushi rice is that the individual grains of rice are noticeable and not mushy like at the places in the Spadina-Bathurst corridor, aka BloBeSpaBath.
--- Anago Tempura: Same light tempura batter, encasing tasty anago filets, not as fluffy and delicious as a similar dish was at Aburiya Kinnosuke in NYC, but tasty nonetheless.
--- Zaru Soba: Pretty good rendition of the dish, but the noodles were a bit more watery than I would like. They did however provide a generous serving.
More than the food itself, which was mostly just pretty-tasty and very reasonably priced, the great thing about Rikishi was that they seemed to serve a variety of actual japanese dishes, as opposed to the sushi standards served at the aforementioned joints farther east on bloor.
They also have those great curtains that look like really wide pants---for me this is a sign that I am in a Japanese restaurant that caters to tastes beyond the maki-oriented college-crowd sushi places. The food was also served on pleasing pottery!!!!
I loooooove Rikishi. You're absolutely right about the variety and quality. I would frequent it more frequently if it were closer to home. Only get there when visiting friends in the neighbourhood. I suspect the surrounding establishments scare people away from this little gem. If you go on a date, ask for the Rikishi Hideaway table. It's the one and only private booth in the place.
"VERY shop worn" is correct...although one could equally describe the place as looking pleasantly lived in...tastes may differ...I think it is important to note that what I perceived as a virtue (pleasantly lived in) might equally be perceived as a defect in other eyes (shop worn). I don't think I would describe it as even a little dirty...but I'm a grad-student and we live in holes...your milage may vary.
I like Rikishi a lot, too. They also have a huge selection of vegetarian items.
That block of Bloor Street is much improved since West Side BBQ (sketchy bar a few doors west) lost its license and closed last year.
really nice food. and if you are in the area and dont feel like ethiopian or korean, this is one of your best choices along with banjara japanese food made by actual japanese. what a novel idea, toronto. haha.
and the decor is a little old, but it's got charm. this place is real. better than most of the poorly conceptualized modern endeavours you see so much of.
anyone know how long RIkishi has been around? im curious.
been wanting to try their nabe. anyone had it?