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Sushi Kaji -- Review

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Pincus Feb 20, 2009 09:00 AM

Who would have thought this unassuming frontage on the Queensway held such delights within.

I finally took the plunge and went there. First time doing omakase anywhere, but that was a side reason to really wanting to go there.

Service was impeccable from the start as they took my winter apparel and stored it away, then the drink order was taken, then my choice of the meal. I went for the $100 option.

I was too busy eating to make detailed notes of what I had. Standouts for me were

-a new kind of fish (I asked the chef afterwards what it was and he said haramisu? Or phonetics thereof). It was a round fish about the size of a quarter, pinkish white and had a robust smokey flavour to it.
- scallop with green peppercorn sauce sushi
- ocean trout sashimi
- butternut squash cake stuffed with chicken in a bonito sauce. I could eat rocks bathed in that sauce, it was luxurious and smooth and golden. The squash cake was crumbly but not too crumbly, not too dry. I was thinking about it while I was eating and the verdict was finally that the texture of the cake worked with the chicken and the sauce.
- sesame pudding with some berries and grapefruit on the side at the end

But everything was really very good. I had an eel/foie gras combo which I didn't like, but only because this was my first foie gras ever and it really didn't thrill me so much. Would rather have had more eel, but the dish itself was done very nicely.

My one regret is they served me sweet shrimp on a shiso leaf which I ate piecemeal until the very last one. What I did, and what I should have done with the whole bunch at the start, is wrap it in the shiso leaf, along with the shredded daikon holding it up, dip the end in the soy sauce, and consume. The shiso and sweet shrimp mix together was awesome and I'm sorry I didn't think of it before I ate them one by one.

Servers took the time to explain everything to me, the sous-chef asked me a couple of times how I was enjoying things, and the main chef did the same at the end of the meal and thanked me for coming.

Really an amazing experience from all aspects. Great dining is like theatre, and this place understands that. I will definitely be returning no matter what the distance is to get there.

  1. hippotatomus Jun 12, 2009 11:58 AM

    I went recently as well. Enjoyed the meal and service was wonderful... but I found there were a few too many sweet sauces which I would consider cheating 'cause sweet sauce makes everything taste great. I would have enjoyed dishes that were less sweet and relied less on the sauce. With that said .. the mint sauce was delicious. =)

    1. o
      omar kasi Jun 12, 2009 08:44 AM

      Great review. To chime in: this is probably my favourite restaurant in Toronto. Dining here sheds light on unexpected relationships between ingredients. As a result, you understand the ingredients in new ways. Mostly it just tastes great.Theater is a good comparison. Dining at Kaji is fun and exciting and it is a casual and friendly atmosphere. I really love this place.

      1 Reply
      1. re: omar kasi
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        acd123 Jun 12, 2009 09:43 AM

        Also our favourite restaurant in TO. It is our special occasion place. We go once or twice a year. We spend a good part of the year just looking foward to our next meal there.

      2. Bueno Feb 20, 2009 10:22 AM

        Thanks for the review!

        Sushi Kaji is my favourite Toronto restaurant, bar none. As erly mentioned, it's a complete experience, and while like every restaurant I'm sure they have slip-ups, but I've been lucky enough to experience 100% perfection on each of my 7 visits. And isn't Kaji a hoot?

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          afici0nad0 Feb 20, 2009 09:09 AM

          very nice. as long as the service is there, i am ready to make the visit.

          1 Reply
          1. re: afici0nad0
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            erly Feb 20, 2009 10:08 AM

            When I responded to a previous thread that there is no restaurant in Toronto, that I would spend $500. on, I can't imagine why I didn't think of Sushi Kaji.
            It is a complete dining experience.
            The best part is that you don't need to spend that much to eat there.

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