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Jan 20, 2009 06:49 PM

Bluefin Sushi near Rogers Centre

Yes we have another entrant in the Sushi category
It's called Bluefin Sushi and it's beside the St. Louis that's on Bremner... right by my condo! :D

They have a placeholder website

I walked by today and saw the staff getting orientated. The staff and chef all look Chinese so I'm going to go with the idea that this may be another mediocre sushi bar. I REALLY REALLY REALLY hope I'm wrong here though as my closest sushi source of any quality is either Takesushi, Toshi or Sushi 930 and sometimes I don't feel like walking that far just to get a quick hit of sushi.

Hopefully they're open to the public soon and I can go give it a try
Even if they have mediocre sushi and can deliver maybe a decent udon i'd be a happy camper

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  1. I find the sushi at Ichiban on Queens Quay to be OK, have you tried it? it's much closer to you than the three you mentioned, but not the same class as Take or Toshi (I don't know 930).

    1. i think a new entrant in the value category that you might want to consider is yuzu in the entertainment district area. my impressions of toshi have been much lower than most others on here (tasteless though beautiful fish but great cooked items) and i think that sushi 930 is trying really hard but still lacks with the rice severely, but their prices tend to line up with what they're attempting to do. i feel that yuzu, a rung lower in quality, also has the prices to match which make them a fairly good option.

      my understanding is that bruce from japango has a hand in the place and i think that you can see it in the sushi they serve. while the rice isn't excellent it's not far off from japango quality. the fish portioning and slicing looks very similar to what japango has without much of the fancy seasoning. the fish quality could be a bit better though as sometimes the pieces can lack but none of them were mushy, fishy nor unpalatable in any way... just not excellent. they also managed to have reasonably good scallop in a city where bad to mediocre exists far more often than not. the amazing thing... a filling lunch will cost you somewhere in the range of $15! so for all its shortcomings the price helps to define it's place in my sushi rankings, cheap but very good value.

      my only other comments are that the $10 lunch bento didn't seem very worthwhile because it wasn't interesting, the clams in sake are delicious, the fried chicken was far too dried out and over cooked, and remove slices of lemon and lime from sashimi platters as quickly as possible, and the staff are japanese.

      12 Replies
      1. re: pinstripeprincess

        thanks for the yuzu report!
        i was waiting for someone to chime in on that somewhere on this board
        A friend of mine told me that bruce is spending more time at yuzu than at japango
        Bruce's wife is technically the owner of yuzu i think

        1. re: CoffeeAddict416

          interesting... he wasn't there when i was though it could have been because it was lunch service. perhaps i'll make an effort to go one evening soon.

          1. re: pinstripeprincess

            BTW off-topic but I tried 930 for the first time and you are right...they botch the rice. I haven't had tried takeout up until now because Sushi Marche is my local (and I'm lazy), and while I thought the fish at 930 was impeccably fresh, the rice was seriously lacking. Plus, I can get an omakase at Sushi Marche for $50 and get a LOT more food than I got from 930. Helps to be a regular I guess. But John Lee from Marche, having worked under Morimoto...he knows how to make rice.

            1. re: childofthestorm

              The shari at Marche isn't perfect either?

              1. re: tjr

                No it isn't consistent, you are right, especially now that the business is a success and there are more sous-chefs doing the work. What's your pick for perfect shari in Toronto? I've had flawless before in Japan, and a few times in Vancouver and LA, but here in the 416, not yet. Haven't eaten at Kaji or Le Cafe Michi yet, though!

                1. re: childofthestorm

                  Kaji's is probably the best I've had consistently; Zen's is better than Michi's (or Aoyama's).

                  1. re: childofthestorm

                    i forgot to put this in my previous post but japango was my major revelation for shari. i finally understood why it was such an important element and how everyone else was failing it miserably. i became an immediate convert for paying a premium for sushi. it didn't hurt that their fish quality was much higher either or that their slicing skills were apparent with the tenderness of the fish.

                    kaji was even better yet for my one experience there, in comparison the japango one was a bit overseasoned but they both had the right compactness and texture and good flavour. i won't vouch for japango for at least the past 1.5 years but i saw a flicker of possibility that they hadn't waivered much from the new yuzu that the japango owners seem to be involved with. it wasn't perfect, but had shades of the japango i knew.

                2. re: childofthestorm

                  i know you've already pointed it out but no, the shari at marche isn't great in my opinion. it is barely better than the majority of what is out there but it still falls short. i find it too tightly packed and not seasoned enough.

                  930 is a total mess with their shari but as you've also pointed out, it is difficult to fault them for their fish quality. they are expensive because of the small quantities they give out though and in that sense still remains a bit of a splurge place for me. i actually think that the quality i have gotten from marche was just not high enough for me to consider going back and getting the omakase usually ends up being an overload of rice with the gigantic rolls. it is however not my local at all so that does temper my perspective.

                  1. re: pinstripeprincess

                    Yeah I tend to get a lot of sashimi with my omakase at Marche, and extras like Kumamoto oysters, uni, crab legs, etc. I can really only eat one of the big rolls with any meal.

                  2. re: childofthestorm

                    You know I've never found a shred of evidence that he actually worked with Morimoto. I still find the claim dubious.

                  3. re: pinstripeprincess

                    just thought i'd do a quick update on yuzu here.

                    so far i've been a couple of times and a few friends have gone and bruce seems to be a permanent installation there now. he remembered me even though it's been at least a year since i've been to japango and was chatting up all his japango regulars (he says the business is about 50% japango people). i'll admit he seemed concerned about the business... it's a big space and a rather odd locale so i could see where he's coming from.

                    the omakase is not an omakase, it is a chef's choice and the waitress described it to me as a mix of items from the regular menu. i noticed the sushi was prettied up a lot more than when i ordered a straight up deluxe sushi platter but sometimes i find those little extras take away from the fish. overall at dinner i'd say it's lost it's "value" component and reaches japango scale pricing (ie. $29 for my plate) which to me demands more effort. the seasoning of the shari was just ok though a bit better than most places but i was disappointed that it was so cold! i had to make sure it wasn't cold fish and took a separate bite.. it was indeed the rice. the packing was fair though a bit on the tighter/denser side. the fish was nice though and i was happy with what i got though there didn't seem to be very much outside the usual realm of fish selection. i liked that i got the fried prawn head from the tempura shrimp maki roll.

                    i'd probably stick to lunch with this place if you really want to get your value out of it. i see this as being comparable to sushi marche but with a more downtown locale and less citrus slices!

                    1. re: pinstripeprincess

                      if you're looking for more value and you fit the criteria needed you can order discounted gift certs for yuzu via

                      i've been meaning to try yuzu but just haven't gotten around to it yet

              2. Menu is up
                I have to admit i'm not inspired by the fact they have "japanese shui mai" on there (????) but we'll see. I find it interesting though that they have more than the usual bog standard Hakutsuru sake avail.

                I'm gonna try their toro, tamago and hototegai to see what they can do

                6 Replies
                1. re: CoffeeAddict416

                  Okay about as descriptively neutral as i can be because i don't think i have the palette to discern good shari. Shari was packed using 5-6 motions and was right inbetween firm and loose. Thought it was a bit light on the seasoning. The rice itself had a firm texture (not undercooked though) and had a nice sheen. Temperature was about room temp.

                  I had Uni which was a tad cold but nice and creamy. It looked really good. It came from those "blister" packs I guess you could call it instead of those wooden trays I've seen on iron chef.

                  Ikuri was good. Nice and salty, not fishy. Touch of wasabi in one corner only on the top.

                  Toro was also quite good. Good veins of fat in it but it wasn't that super beautiful light pink slab of tuna that I've seen before. Not worth the price though.

                  Overall not bad but I'll reserve final judgement after they're been operating a while.

                  Chef was Japanese btw but didn't get more info. The owners and the wait staff were all watching so i think he was under a LITTLE pressure to perform!

                  1. re: CoffeeAddict416

                    I'm not saying they have to be Japanese to be a good Japanese restaurant (I know Japanese-run restos that serve terrible food), but their menu looks like it's done by a Japanese person... I could be wrong, but the way they write certain things, like the way they abbreviate things, and so on... looks like it's done by a native Japanese person. And also the font that they use, it kinda looks like one of those cheap 'pop-style' fonts that come in a "100 cute fonts in 1 CD" disc, but at least it's not your pre-installed 'default' Windows-Mincho font that many non-Japanese (and sometimes Japanese) restaurants use... (I'm pretty sure it's not a 'free font', most free fonts do not contain enough kanji to create this kinda menu)
                    As for Japanese shui-mai, I'm in fact very curious. We Japanese love gyoza and shumai (we know they ain't authentic Chinese, but so is ramen:)) and if they specify it's Japanese shui-mai, I'd love to give'em a try.

                    1. re: lilith

                      Yeah, I like real shumai, but sometimes get a hankering for Yokohama shumai, which, as far as I know, aren't really available anywhere else in the GTA (if they are available here). The rest of the menu looks pretty uninteresting (it does look like it was written by a Japanese person though).

                      1. re: tjr

                        i'm just gonna go with the opinion that the owners made the chef make available a lot of stuff that will make the business money and that uninformed sushi eaters will want. For example they had boxed rolls for sale!

                        I haven't had the shari at Zen in a loooooooong time so it's hard to remember why it was so good. What I wanna know is aside from seasoning how can you tell good shari from bad shari? What are the hallmarks? I'll try and take a picture of it next time i try it.

                        The shari ball (sushi? is that the correct terminology?) was about 1"-1.5" in diameter and packed not too tightly. Eating it with my hands it was barely holding together. It was delicate. The rice kernels were not broken either so the slicing motion must have been employed correctly (i'm guessing).

                        I also have to add that I took about 5 mins to eat the sushi from being prepared to being consumed. I know i know but it was a take out order. Next time I'll try at the bar if possible.

                        I would go as far to say I think the sushi here is AS good as sushi marche from my last memory of take out there. I just hope it's not my imagination bringing it up to that level (not that it's a lofty level).

                        I'm hoping more informed palates can give an opinion on this place. I'm trying to develop a palate for sushi, especially the rice, but it's tough researching such a thing online without local comparisons. Right now to me my memory of shari is pretty consistent across the board at any japanese resto of any repute including zen, sushi marche, japango (two years ago), takesushi, and nami AND sushi 930. I can't recall every having anything at these places that was standout or that fell down in any major way.

                        1. re: CoffeeAddict416

                          There is room for creativity, but the traditional properties are ensuring a good balance in all aspects: sweet, sour, salty, firm, soft, well-packed, loose. While the sweet, sour and salt mostly come from the same ingredients in the awase-su with a little bit of variation in the type of vinegar used, I've had some interesting takes that used different ingredients to make shari (other than rice of course). The temperature should be right as well (temperature of human skin).

                          The difference between good and bad shari is apparent once you've had the good stuff. The mark of really great shari (or rather the chef) is that it is adjusted based on the type of fish going on top, firmness adjusted based on whether the person is eating with chopsticks or not, etc. The odds of you getting this are fairly slim, but putting the same shari into a roll with spicy mayo and weird sauces as you would use with a very delicate fish is kind of a no-no. It's about harmony and balance, as well as the play between the shari and the fish.

                          1. re: tjr

                            hrmm i'll have to take some notes when i go to zen in early feb and compare immediately against something else to see the differences. Hopefully I can haul my butt to Japan soon and have some revelatory experiences. Either that or i'll put my airfare towards dinner at Yasuda nyc!

                  2. The original comment has been removed
                    1. Went to Bluefin for lunch. I had noticed in the menu PDF linked here that the Japanese and English for their Salmon and Beef teriyaki have been reversed, i.e. for Beef in English the Japanese say Salmon and vice versa. When I got there the menu is still the same, so I asked if they knew. The server had no idea what I'm talking about - she doesn't know Japanese, so she asked the chef (who she said is from Japan) and he confirmed it. I guess no one who knew Japanese ate there before! I also heard the server talking to someone else in Chinese (Mandarin) about the mistake.

                      The lunch items (the server kept saying "bento" though that word is not on the menu) were pretty broing - deep fried gyoza, salad consisting mostly of iceberg lettuce with orange coloured dressing, and "tempura" with a thickish batter. I am guessing only the sushi chef is Japanese and the kitchen cooks are not.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: Teep

                        yes AFAIK the staff is all Chinese and the sushi chef (one of them only) is Japanese. I tried udon from the ktichen and it was pretty bland and boring. If you go to bluefin i would ONLY get sushi and ONLY if the japanese chef is making it. And make sure he knows that you're serious about your sushi. He breaks out the extra good seaweed and takes more time on forming shari when you show interest. Is this fair? no not really but that's the way it is.

                        I haven't tried any sushi from the chinese chef so i can't comment on his technique.

                        EDIT: my trip to zen is still fresh in my memory so i'll comppare sushis. To put it bluntly there isn't a comparison really :) BUT the shari texture is good but was lacking in seasoning a bit when I last tried. Fish quality is good on the more interesting choices (i.e. not tuna, "white tuna" or salmon) although i love me some salmon sashimi!

                        1. re: CoffeeAddict416

                          i am pretty sure that the owners of japango ie. karen et al are korean.....i shld know....went to school with her.....but hey, who cares, it's the quality that matters, yes?

                          1. re: berbere

                            i guess i should just add an addendum to my post that the racial identification is for identification purposes only! I rather like the Chinese sushi chef at solo sushi bekkan for example

                            1. re: CoffeeAddict416

                              I find the references to race on this board at the least non-informative and superfluous. A chef is good or is not or is somewhere in-between...period.