Summerlicious 2008 - Edo Japanese Restaurant
Not a typical Summerlicious jaunt, I decided to add Edo as one of my 'go-to' places for this series. I've been on one previous occasion, and found myself quite pleasantly surprised. As I was feeling ho-hum about my other experiences during the ‘Licious’ events, I decided to expand my normal realm and venture to lesser-explored restos. As Edo was very reasonably priced, and I often find my tastes tend to favour lighter Asian fare, I decided to give it a try. I would have to say that I was quite impressed and would definitely return. (Disclaimer: Everything needs to be put into perspective. I felt it was a delicious 5-course meal for $35. Everything was beautifully presented and well executed. Though there was nothing mind-blowing about the experience, I found it to be a very solid entry to the Summerlicious festival)
My party and I started with our amuse bouche, a Kyu Maki (cucumber skin, tofu, avocado, Japanese pickled radish, sesame seeds). A very refreshing and light starter that was just enough to whet my appetite.
Kyu Maki Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28531775...
After the amuse came the appetizers. One had the choice of either the Kobe Beef Sausage (with Japanese potato salad, curry mayonnaise - fantastic mayo - and I usually despise that accompaniment), or the Ebi Reisei Soup (shrimp, leek, potato potage soup, five ingredient mixed rice). The Sausage was extremely plump, juicy and delicious. It wasn’t particularly fatty, but had a very robust flavour. I would definitely order this dish again. The soup was not as strong in my opinion, though the shrimps were large and had great texture.
Next, we went onto the mains. The stronger of the two dishes was the Tori Tatsuta Age (Japanese marinated fried chicken, potato, Asian hot chili sauce). I am not usually a fan of fried chicken, however, this one was very sweet and did not feel heavy, or greasy. The second option was the Umi no Sashi Miso Yaki (salmon, scallop, clam, spinach, miso gratin, with a baguette). This dish was far too rich for my tastes. Though the seafood was fresh, the cheese was overpowering IMO. I am usually not a fan of heavy, creamy dishes, so it appears that I may have chosen poorly. However, in my defence, I always try to sample the gamut when I attend these events, to ensure that I give everything a fair shot and expand my taste horizons.
In addition to the appetizer and the main course, a sushi course was provided (Moriawase - a special summerlicious course of assorted sushi). THIS, I felt, was the highlight of the meal. It was very creative (compared to many other maki’s and sushi’s I’ve sampled in this city) and the flavours balanced perfectly with one another. It was also imaginatively plated and a joy to eat. Both times I’ve had the Licious’ here at Edo, I have always been very impressed with their Moriawase dishes. IMO, it’s what makes the meal.
Moriawase Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28531775...
Lastly, we finished with our desserts. The better one by far was the Fuji Ringo (caramelized Fuji apple, homemade rice cracker, vanilla ice cream). However, one was also able to select the Coconut Milk Soup (coconuts milk, tapioca, homemade avocado soymilk ice cream), which I felt was a bit single-noted. Especially strange was the use of tapioca – and not the more refined and gentler on the palate Chinese-style, clear, tiny tapioca; but rather the giant, glutinous, black, Taiwanese-style tapioca usually associated with bubble tea.
A la carte, I decided to add two extra dishes to see how their regular menu fared. I ordered the spicy tuna (my guests typically enjoy this dish), and some Uni for myself to nosh on. The spicy tuna roll was quite disappointing as it was not spicy, nor did the crunchy tempura bits stand out and provide the much needed texture the roll required. The Uni was very fresh and definitely satisfied by craving.
Overall, it was a great experience. I find this restaurant to be very reliable and I know the level to expect when attending during these events. I requested to see their normal menu after completing my meal and was surprised to see none of the dishes sampled during my meal on it. I casually asked how I may come back on another occasion to get my sushi-fix – and was told that the regular menu features much more ‘classical’ fare. This was a bit disappointing as I was hoping to add Edo to my regular repertoire. I guess I will just have to wait until the next Winterlicious to return – however, if management reads this posting, I would hope that they may decide to expand their regular menu to add some of their adventurous dishes. This, I feel, will attract new customers that are in search of something unique.
The location I went to was the Eglinton West - they only serve dinner, unlike the other location (which I have yet to try). It is the location featured in the summerlicious series (the exact address can be found on the website). Please note that I cannot attest to their selection during non-licious times (I perused their entries and they sounded very conservative, and did not include any of the dishes I sampled during the festival). Cheers and Happy Eating!