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Apr 9, 2009 09:12 PM

The Hiro Sushi Rip-off!

So my boyfriend wanted to try a new sushi place, this being Hiro Sushi (King and Jarvis, Toronto, ON), as he thinks that we need to try out different places. I personally prefer Kokyo Sushi at Yonge and Alexander (north of College) especially the top 3 rolls in the special rolls section of the menu. In any case, he told me that he saw on various websites that this is the best sushi place in Toronto. So we went. We really weren't sure as to what to order and the waitress recommended that we try the $35 chef special. We thought that this could be split between 2 people, but apparently the price tag was for one person as we discovered on the bill. Thats not even the bad part. The plate arrived. It was OK but absolutely nothing special. The rice already had wasabi and as I am not a fan of things being too spicy, I can't say that I enjoyed it at all. It did clear up my sinuses however. The food was otherwise ok at best, but don't go there if you want actual flavour that comprises of more things than wasabi. I personally would not return. It is not worth the price. Places such as this remind me that trying new things is sometimes not worth it!!! Don't go there, try Kokyo Sushi instead!!! Hiro Sushi is really stingy on the fish, very thin slices, complete rip-off!!!! For less than half of what you pay at Hiro Sushi, you will be much more than pleased!!!! I think Johnny Roll at Kokyo Sushi is like $12, and had more& better tasting fish than the whole $70 plate combined!!!

One thing that was ok is the white wine mousse with strawberries. While that is good, it is not worth the overall $100 price tag!

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  1. The original comment has been removed
    1. FYI, Hiro Sushi is one of the few authentic Japanese run restaurant in town. As such, their nigiri sushi is prepared the traditional 'authentic' way by incorporating wasabi on top of the shari ( rice ) before the chef places the fish on top to finish off the end product. Almost all nigiri sushi in Japan are prepared that way!

      1. The original comment has been removed
        1. Hiro is more of an authentic sushi restaurant than Kokyo, as such, and as Charles_Yu mentioned, sushi comes "pre-seasoned" as the chef is supposed to know the proper amount of seasoning (from wasabi, soy, a sauce, etc.), since he's the master of his craft.

          Kokyo is a pretty standard cheap sushi restaurant, but it's much better than Sky Sushi that is close by. Their portions are large, the fish is of okay quality, and they have all the strange rolls, sushi pizzas, etc. that one could possibly want.

          I can understand why you'd be upset, but I think you'll get a lot of cruel comments. It's kind of like you really wanted a poutine made with shredded cheddar and you got cheese curds. There are several schools of thought floating around the boards: there are people who are looking for somewhere like Hiro (authentic, by the book), people who are looking for somewhere like Kaji (inventive, but with technical mastery and great execution), and people who are looking for rolls and teriyaki/tempura bentos.

          Strangely-named rolls don't really appeal to me. Strange ingredients and sauces tend to mask the real purpose behind eating and enjoying sushi. I don't find Hiro heavy on the wasabi, but I understand that some people want spicy mayo-laden rolls topped with avocado and apple slices or something.

          My suggestion is that you do your research ahead of time. If you are looking for "the best" sushi, you're going to be finding something expensive and less to your tastes. Look at the menus beforehand, or tell them what you like and ask for suggestions.

          10 Replies
          1. re: tjr

            tjr, this was a thoughtful and informative response.

            1. re: tjr

              "It's kind of like you really wanted a poutine made with shredded cheddar and you got cheese curds."
              That's a great analogy, tjr. Well done!

              1. re: tjr

                This article was recently in the Toronto Star. It may be of some use to the OP:


                While there is a wide range of opinion on Hiro Sushi, I have to say it continues to rank as one of my favourite Japanese restaurants in the city.

                1. re: sloweater

                  Thanks for the link to the article - I know a lot of people who should read it! I've always felt that it would be too rude of me to correct my friends and/or co-workers' sushi-dining etiquette, and have always suffered silently as they commit such crimes as piling pickled ginger on their nigiri sushi. There's one thing I'm unclear of here, though, and that's Kim Honey's comment that, "Servers cringe when you unwrap your chopsticks and rub them together vigorously like some demented carpenter with a splinter phobia". What exactly does this have to do with sushi restaurant etiquette? I've certainly experienced splinters falling into my food from disposable chopsticks, and have found that a light rubbing together of them removes any possibility of such happening. As long as one is not seemingly trying to start a fire...! Methinks this is just a pet peeve of Ms. Honey's.

                  1. re: redearth

                    I hate to criticize your boyfriend, but it sounds like he didn't do too much in-depth reading on these boards at all, but instead just skimmed for names that came up often as peoples' faves. It is widely discussed on these boards that Hiro is known and loved (by some) for his dedication to traditionalism. That means ultra fresh fish, dainty (meaning small-ish) cuts of fish that you can eat in one bite without making a pig of yourself or else trying to take bites and destroying the artistry and enjoyment of each individual cut. It also means that the wasabi is already applied as the chef deems it appropriate for each piece. These are the high points of the place. The low points (to me, at least) are the drab, often filthy condition of the restaurant, the painfully slow and indifferent service from the staff and the hostility with which requests for extra ginger or wasabi are met (I like a little extra, so shoot me!). It's enough of a turn-off to keep me from patronizing the place, no matter how great the fish might be.

                    It is clear that you and your boyfriend frequent places where the "more is better" approach applies. These places feature chefs with far less (occasionaly no) training at their "craft". In these places, they'll happily make substitutions, give you more or less of something and often leave out the wasabi so that the customer can apply as he or she wishes, if he or she wishes. This makes sushi more approachable for the masses. If I want a true Japanese sushi experience, I'll head to Kaji, Zen, Katsura's sushi bar in the Prince Hotel or perhaps Hiro. If I want a small miso soup, tasty salad and generous plate of sushi, sashimi and maki with all the ginger and wasabi I please, for less than $20, I head to Sushi Garden in Delisle Court.

                    I think your boyfriend's biggest mistake, aside from not really reading his way through the various threads on Hiro and where to find the best sushi, was not to consider what it is exactly that you both want from your sushi dining experiences. If he truly wanted to expand your collective horizons, he should have read up on the topic and informed you ahead of time that an authentic place won't likely offer a whole menu page worth of newfangled giant fusion rolls that are so stuffed with goodies they practically require a knife and fork to eat. This is "sushi" (using the term loosely) for the masses. It's perfectly fine to love it and even to prefer it, but don't make the mistake of going to a higher end Japanese sushi bar that specializes in the freshest fish available and serves it in a very traditional manner. As you learned the hard way, you're not paying for quantity, and quality may not be something you really appreciate when it comes with a much bigger price tag.

                    1. re: 1sweetpea

                      Well written - a very good response! I too enjoy both ends of the sushi spectrum, so to speak, and I agree that if one is accustomed to the type of restaurant that favours quantity over quality, Hiro might have come as something of a surprise, particularly if one didn't know exactly what to expect.

                2. re: tjr

                  tjr,1sweetpea, skylineR33, al,
                  Great advise to a new chowhounder! Keep up the good work. The fraternity needs more members like you!

                  1. re: tjr

                    Very diplomatic. I really love how this board has handled Cutiepettutie's review. Cutiepettutie, I hope you do still use this board to find other good eats, just be careful and read the entire thread to determine if the restaurant suggested is truly what you are looking for. As well, try to look at reviewer's profiles to get a sense of their eating background to see if it matches with your own. Good luck!

                    1. re: BokChoi

                      The OP's bf read various websites, so I doubt if any of the Ch threads were influential; they have not been very favorable to Hiro from what I have read.

                      1. re: jayt90

                        I more meant that one should read the people's food description to see if it matched up with what they were expecting (and what they were expecting to pay). The unfavourable reviews of Hiro are what kept me from trying it, even though it was so close to my former work place.

                  2. The original comment has been removed