Koko Share Bar in Yorkville
I read a few reviews and heard quite a bit of buzz about Koko Share Bar in Yorkville, which opened about 7 weeks ago.
I did a walk-by one day and the space looked really interesting. It's a few steps below, but the space is very intimate and serene with lots of browns and greens, creating a cool, minimalistic vibe. Turns out it's co-owned by Sang Kim, the same guy who did Blowfish (which, admittedly I was not a fan of when I dined there years ago).
I decided to give it a go recently and shared their signature platters with my dining companion. First up was their Bossam, which is essentially make-your-own Korean lettuce wrap. It's definitely modernized and North-American-ized, but still retains a similarity to what you can find on Bloor West. There's spicy chicken, pork belly and BBQ korean beef to stuff into the boston lettuce or Napa cabbage, plus 3 great sauces.
The other platter is Temaki, which is basically make-your-own sushi. I was extremely impressed with the amount of food provided. In terms of raw fish there’s a daily chef’s selection of sashimi. (On this day it was salmon, yellowfish, tuna, butterfish, clam and ebi. On another day there was also a shot glass of scallops and salmon roe.) The fish itself is fresh, and Sang said he brings fish in on a daily basis.
I was also given small nori sheets and sushi rice, a pile of tempura vegetables, shrimp and a soft-shell crab, plus a variety of fresh, grilled and poached vegetables for my DIY handroll.
If you don't mind getting your hands dirty, I highly recommend it as a fun meal. I wouldn't classify it as inexpensive, but it's a memorable and fun meal, and a good amount of quality food at $25/person. If you'd like to see more, there's photos of my meal on my blog.
I also went again for lunch (about $15/person), and again for a special occasion dinner (much more/person). I'm not thrilled about the dining options in Yorkville and I'd have to say since Koko has now opened, and is also open 7 days a week, it's earned a spot as one of my go-to restaruants for a casual dinner or a special occasion meal.
Koko Share Bar
81 Yorkville Ave, Toronto, ON , CA
I went to Koko last weekend and was a bit disappointed. I've heard a lot about them and even saw them at the Wine and Spirits festival in the Distillery District but perhaps I was expecting too much.
I ordered the Spicy Chirashi and my friend ordered the Kalbi Beef Ribs. We went for lunch and the prices were very reasonable (something like $10 for hers and $12 for mine, including a really good miso soup and salad). We also ordered a rainbow roll to share. While we were waiting, the server graciously brought us a plate of edamame (very good with a hint of lemon) on the house. Everything was very good, except for my dish. The "Spicy Chirashi" was just diced (yes, diced) peices of fish mixed together on a bed of firm, unsatisfying sushi rice with a spicy dipping sauce. Gross! Granted, the dices of fish were tasty, but it would have been MUCH more delicious had there been slices of fish. Even if the fish was seperated and not thrown together as if I'd gotten the "end" pieces from some left over meals. When I asked the waiter about it after our meal, he said that only their spicy chirashi had chopped fish like that. Maybe their regular chirashi is better? I do NOT recommend trying their spicy chirashi with diced fish... make sure to ask for slices of sashimi like a regular chirashi!
Granted, other than that the ambiance and decor was lovely. Also, I didn't try my friend's Kalbi beef, so that could have been outstanding. And stay away from their "infused" shochu. Bleh. Just have a cocktail if that's what you want.
I might try it again because it's reasonable, in a great location, a beautiful restaurant, and their rainbow roll was okay..... but I don't think I'd go out of my way to eat here again.
This spicy chirashi is more like in Korean food style. What were you expecting when you read the description? Raw fish cannot come in spicy without spicy sauce! If the fish were cut in sashimi style, you can't really mix everything with sauce, rice, and vegetable. That's why the fish is diced. Personally I liked it. It was just right size portion. Fish was very fresh and had plenty of variety. They should have called it "Raw fish salad with spicy sauce."