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Unexpectedly good Miso-glazed Black Cod in TO!

Charles Yu Oct 3, 2009 08:05 PM

If it was left to me, I would never have chosen 'Taste of Japan' on Woodbine for a Japanese dinner venue. Unfortunately, tonight's decision was made by 'kids', so we adults have no choice but to tag along!

Seeing mediocre looking fish being displayed in the sushi bar cooler, I decided to pass on sushi/sashimi and opt for some cooked food instead.

I selected a Miso Black Cod set dinner. To my surprise, this must be the 'second best tasting' miso-glazed black cod I had in North America! The first being the 'original version' from NOBU, NYC, which, if my memory serves me right was utterly amazing! Now, if NOBU was a 10, I would give tonight's version a solid 8.5! The two huge pieces of fish was perfectly grilled without excessively burnt usually caused by the sweet mirin marinade. Unlike other mediocre, usually under-flavoured, Toronto versions I had tried, this Taste of Japan NOBU clone was basked in full Sake and miso flavour with the right amount of sweetness. The cook who prepared this fish would have made Nobu Matsuhisa proud! As for the rest of the meal?! Blaaaaaah!

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  1. s
    SMOG RE: Charles Yu Oct 4, 2009 12:58 PM

    Hey Charles, while I haven't been to TOJ for a while, I used to go "once in a while" back in the day. Sat at the teppanyaki table and actually enjoyed some of the food. Just took a look at the menu online, but didn't see any cod in either the dine-in or the teppanyaki menu. Can you point it out to me?

    1 Reply
    1. re: SMOG
      Charles Yu RE: SMOG Oct 4, 2009 03:08 PM

      Its under 'Set Dinner - Marinated Sea Bass'. Guess their website must be out of date since Chilean seabass is now endangered and people, including them are using black cod instead.

    2. Wench Foraday RE: Charles Yu Oct 4, 2009 05:13 PM

      Charles, is the cod of the thin "steaks" variety with the bone in, that you often get in Chinese restaurants? Or is it a thicker piece?

      My personal favourite grilled cod is at Ematei, which I'm sure you've had - a nice thick, juicy slab of fish - among the best in the city, although you may not agree. How would it compare?

      2 Replies
      1. re: Wench Foraday
        Charles Yu RE: Wench Foraday Oct 4, 2009 05:43 PM

        Two thick boneless slices thats nicely brown on the outside, crispy on the edges and juicy inside with 'fish oil' galore. Ematei is OK but when compared to the TOJ version, the overall flavour is a bit underwhelming.

        1. re: Charles Yu
          Wench Foraday RE: Charles Yu Oct 4, 2009 06:14 PM

          Wow, that sounds amazing! I'm totally going to give that a try and cross my fingers that it wasn't a one-time fluke. Thanks!

      2. o
        oracle347 RE: Charles Yu Oct 4, 2009 06:34 PM

        There's a fantastic version of miso back cod to be had from the refrigerated of Toro Fish. it comes pre-marinated and vaccumed packed, so you take it home and broil it for about 5 minutes a side. That's been my favorite version in T.O.
        Never been to Nobu, but I have had the Miso Butterfish at Blue Ginger :) The Toro version is pretty good!!

        1 Reply
        1. re: oracle347
          Charles Yu RE: oracle347 Oct 4, 2009 06:43 PM

          I find the Taro fish version under seasoned. The few times I bought some home, I always find the need to add more miso paste/mirin/Sake to it and marinade them longer.

        2. g
          girlstar RE: Charles Yu Oct 4, 2009 07:01 PM

          Wow great to hear! We recently Nobu'd for the first time in NYC and would love to find the miso cod equivalent in TO!

          1. y
            Yum2MyTum RE: Charles Yu Oct 5, 2009 07:04 AM

            Hi Charles, how much did this set dinner cost you? Thanks in advance!

            3 Replies
            1. re: Yum2MyTum
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              erly RE: Yum2MyTum Oct 5, 2009 09:32 AM

              We love Black Cod, (sable) and it is our choice when on the menu.
              The best we have ever had in Toronto - with Miso Glaze is at Bymark.
              In Chinese restaurants the thin sliced with the bone, is in our experience always frozen Cod.
              No comparison for taste.
              Diana's supplies fresh Black Cod year round.

              1. re: Yum2MyTum
                Charles Yu RE: Yum2MyTum Oct 5, 2009 03:51 PM

                $21 I think?!

                1. re: Charles Yu
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                  Yum2MyTum RE: Charles Yu Oct 5, 2009 04:00 PM

                  Thanks Charles, for this, and the tip! I will have to try this, as miso glazed cod done well is one of my favourite things ever.

              2. y
                Yum2MyTum RE: Charles Yu Oct 13, 2009 06:19 AM

                Hi Charles,

                I'm not sure what happened on the night I tried out the cod but my experience was completely different than yours. The two large pieces of black cod were indeed well grilled, with nary a burn-mark.

                But the fish was mushy, and a bit past its prime (i.e., slightly fishy in taste), which was surprising given how intense the marinade was. I couldn't finish it.

                I think the two best miso black cod dishes I've had in the city are at Colbourne Lane and Lee. This one didn't even register on the same scale. Perhaps a different cook was at the helm for our meals...

                2 Replies
                1. re: Yum2MyTum
                  Charles Yu RE: Yum2MyTum Oct 13, 2009 06:37 AM

                  Sorry to hear that! Thing about Miso black cod is that the marinated period can range from 2-6 days at least! You might be right, the pieces you have might have gone passed their prime. Just like wine?!

                  1. re: Charles Yu
                    y
                    Yum2MyTum RE: Charles Yu Oct 13, 2009 06:57 AM

                    : ( True enough, Charles. I guess at $21 for a set-course meal, one should adjust their expectations.

                2. w
                  Wil RE: Charles Yu Oct 13, 2009 07:16 AM

                  Yes, my wife loves this dish and we go there just for this. Glad to know someone as esteemed as Charles agrees!

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