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Sushi Couture: Get over there!

e
EarlyDrive Aug 28, 2010 02:16 PM

Had a late lunch at this new sushi spot on Bloor today (just east of Bathurst, north side of the street, next to Pizzaioli). It's been open 4 days.

Had the sashimi lunch. Very very fresh and delicious fish. The lunch came with 9 pieces of sashimi (salmon, tuna, hamachi from Australia, and (I think) Amberjack with a garlic oil). The lunch also came with a lovely miso soup, salad, rice and 2 gyoza (crisp, although a touch soggy on the bottom). $7.99 for the sashimi lunch.

The sushi chef is Ken, formerly of Japango. After my lunch, he brought 2 pieces of Greek sea bream, lightly torched -- delicious. He expressed that he is bringing in and serving the freshest fish available. He is keen about having his own restaurant and, it seems to me, distinguishing it from some of the other sushi shops in the hood.

The restaurant itself is nicely designed, comfortable. The service was very good.

One down side: they won't have a liquor license for 2 months. We should do our best to support his efforts for the next couple months. He has to have some people in the restaurant to keep the supply of fresh fish.

-----
Japango
122 Elizabeth St, Toronto, ON M5G1P5, CA

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  1. Notorious P.I.G. RE: EarlyDrive Aug 28, 2010 05:11 PM

    The fish is really fresh at Sushi Couture and totally different from the usual fare offered by many of the surrounding restaurants. I would put it on par with Yuzu as far as the type of sushi offered there but it's half the price and when I went, the fish at SC was fresher. It's a great place to have in the neighbourhood and I too hope they do well.

    Had a $40 Omakase set which came with:

    Madai
    Kanpachi
    Hamachi
    Uni
    Aji
    Tobiko/Quail Egg/Uni/Oyster shooter
    Seared Toro Nigiri
    Negi Toro Botan Sushi
    Maguro/Butterfish Temaki

    I'm forgetting a couple too...

    Their sushi has a fusion element to it like Yuzu and a bit more care needs to be taken with the rice but all in all, I hope they do well. They aren't even in the same league as the rest of the crap that passes for sushi in the Annex.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Notorious P.I.G.
      t
      tjr RE: Notorious P.I.G. Aug 28, 2010 09:54 PM

      This is good news. I'll drop by some time during the next month.

      1. re: Notorious P.I.G.
        ekim256 RE: Notorious P.I.G. Aug 29, 2010 03:52 PM

        1. I choked a little on my peanut butter sandwich when I saw your name...hilariosu
        2. that sounds great! Have you tried Solo Sushi on Yonge? I want to try Omakase downtown, but my poor student budget will only allow for one place...no omakse blitzing for me! If so, how does it compare?

        Erin
        http://cookiesandtomatoes.blogspot.com/

        1. re: ekim256
          Notorious P.I.G. RE: ekim256 Aug 29, 2010 09:11 PM

          I haven't tried either location of Solo so I can't compare but if I had only one Omakase to splurge on, I would make the trek out to Zen in Scarborough. (if you haven't already) It's a good benchmark for comparison in the GTA.

          1. re: ekim256
            aser RE: ekim256 Sep 1, 2010 10:04 PM

            Go to Zen if you're after nigiri sushi. Their shari is along w/ Kaji the best in Toronto.

            Go to Solo if you want (emphasis on) great cooked food, good sashimi, but iffy shari.

            1. re: aser
              Notorious P.I.G. RE: aser Sep 1, 2010 11:06 PM

              Good cooked food eh? I should try Solo soon.

              1. re: Notorious P.I.G.
                t
                tjr RE: Notorious P.I.G. Sep 16, 2010 08:12 PM

                Any specifics? I'll be up in Newmarket a few times for the afternoon, so I don't mind stopping by and asking for some specific dishes.

                1. re: tjr
                  Notorious P.I.G. RE: tjr Sep 16, 2010 09:39 PM

                  Still haven't tried it homie. Blowing it over here.

                  1. re: tjr
                    aser RE: tjr Oct 17, 2010 07:39 PM

                    Sorry for the delay tjr, but solo's chawanmushi is top notch. I've yet to have any bad dishes from him in the "cooked" department. His dashi is really great, so anything involving that I'll be confident of it being good.

                    Oh and I finally went to couture today, pretty much as reported, same as Japango but cheaper. Food came out a bit slow, because they take their time plating carefully. Yes I do prefer sitting at the bar at Zen but it's good to have this in the mix. For the record, they offered both wasabi paste and fresh wasabi mixed w/ paste.

                    It is a great option for the area, plus I can bike there in less than 10 mins. Chef Ken is a good host also.

                    -----
                    Japango
                    122 Elizabeth St, Toronto, ON M5G1P5, CA

          2. Googs RE: EarlyDrive Aug 29, 2010 09:10 AM

            BAH! No website yet. What's the atmosphere like? Good for a girls night, good for a date, or typical, somewhat Spartan, sushi joint? I don't mind any which way, but I'd like to have an idea on whom I may experiment.

            1. p
              Prabhakar Ragde RE: EarlyDrive Aug 29, 2010 09:58 AM

              Can someone report on the days and hours of business, please? Thanks.

              15 Replies
              1. re: Prabhakar Ragde
                c
                c.cow RE: Prabhakar Ragde Aug 29, 2010 10:32 AM

                From 11:00 every day except Sunday, as we just learned. Today it's open from 5:00...

                1. re: c.cow
                  Googs RE: c.cow Aug 29, 2010 12:08 PM

                  Uh oh. Sushi joint open Sunday's. Big points off.

                  1. re: Googs
                    skylineR33 RE: Googs Aug 29, 2010 12:43 PM

                    Why Sushi joint open Sunday's a big points off ??

                    1. re: skylineR33
                      Googs RE: skylineR33 Aug 29, 2010 01:30 PM

                      Supply issues. Serious Sushi stops Sunday's.

                      1. re: Googs
                        skylineR33 RE: Googs Aug 29, 2010 01:34 PM

                        FYI, there are many serious sushi shop opens on Sunday all over the world.

                        1. re: skylineR33
                          c
                          childofthestorm RE: skylineR33 Aug 29, 2010 02:17 PM

                          Even Anthony Bourdain, who kickstarted the whole "don't eat the fish on Sunday/Monday" thing, now says "go ahead, eat the fish." Good suppliers deliver 24/7 to good restaurants in our food-obsessed age.

                          A crappy sushi place, yeah, don't eat there on a Sunday, cuz that's the fish they got on Thursday/Friday. Blech.

                          1. re: skylineR33
                            e
                            EarlyDrive RE: skylineR33 Aug 29, 2010 04:35 PM

                            Kaji's open on Sunday, I'm pretty sure.

                            1. re: skylineR33
                              Googs RE: skylineR33 Aug 29, 2010 05:00 PM

                              All over the world, but not in far-from-the-ocean City of Toronto where you have to count on flight. Venice on a Sunday, sure. Toronto, not so much. Places in T.O. with the financial heft can do it, but a start-up? Doubtful.

                              Your gamble. Let me know how that works out.

                              1. re: Googs
                                t
                                tjr RE: Googs Aug 29, 2010 05:35 PM

                                Odds are the fish hasn't just popped out of the ocean onto your plate at any Toronto sushi restaurants. If it's open Sunday and the fish is fresh, great. If not, then subtract the points after confirming the fish isn't fresh.

                                1. re: Googs
                                  skylineR33 RE: Googs Aug 29, 2010 06:46 PM

                                  Googs, many "serious" top end sushi restaurant in Toronto area opens on Sunday (such as Kaji, Cafe Michi, Aoyama, Inatei, Solo) and many of them do that when they are a start-up. It is not gamble. Just like tjr said, it is only fair to subtract the points after confirming the fish isn't fresh when you try it on Sunday.

                                  I actually appreciate Sushi Couture open on Sunday because I can have more choice to choose, instead of assuming it is a second class sushi place right from the beginning.

                                  1. re: skylineR33
                                    d
                                    downtownfoodie RE: skylineR33 Aug 29, 2010 07:12 PM

                                    I'd be more than willing to trust Ken and his discretion. If it's not fresh, he won't serve it...

                                    Wish I knew he was open today. I was driving back from golf and craving some sushi...made a grilled cheese instead :(

                                    1. re: skylineR33
                                      Herb RE: skylineR33 Aug 30, 2010 01:52 PM

                                      Word!

                              2. re: skylineR33
                                i
                                Inukun RE: skylineR33 Sep 1, 2010 10:39 AM

                                Just ate there .....its fantastic and probably one of the best places for sushi in the downtown core ( I still love Tokyo Kitchen though ). Ken knows what he is doing with fish and being open on a Sunday is probably necessary when competing on Bloor. When you know how to get fresh fish and handle it ( some tataki ...slightly grilled ) then its fine....I bet this guy could make good sushi with a hotdog and Keens mustard ( My mother in Law used to do this back in the 70s when you couldn't get sushi grade fish so often ...kids loved it ). Thats the problem with a lot of annex sushi places ...they cant even make a good sushi with fresh fish whether its on a Sunday or any day of the week....service was great too ... these guys really care and the interior was very nice.

                                Yhe only problem is its soon going to be crowded and then I am going to have to wait.

                                -----
                                Tokyo Kitchen
                                20 Charles St E, Toronto, ON M4Y1T1, CA

                              3. re: Googs
                                n
                                natty bakes RE: Googs Aug 30, 2010 12:20 PM

                                I went here yesterday (Sunday...gasp!) and it was absolutely fresh and delicious!

                                I tried many kinds of fish- sashimi styles. They serve their sashimi don (11.99 i think it was?) very nicely in a bowl and I liked the spicy sauce it came with (good to eat with the rice at the end) as well as the delicious pickled ginger that they also serve at Japango. I also enjoyed a standard wakame (4.99) salad and some special very decadent tasting rolls which i stupidly forget the name of (10.99 but served to us free because of an order mix-up). I would definitely recommend this place and am eager to try the tasting menu!

                                -----
                                Japango
                                122 Elizabeth St, Toronto, ON M5G1P5, CA

                              4. re: c.cow
                                b
                                bluefirefly RE: c.cow Aug 29, 2010 01:40 PM

                                We went there too and same thing! Disappointed it was closed. There was no phone number listing either so it wasn't as if we could have called to check their hours.

                            2. p
                              Pincus RE: EarlyDrive Aug 31, 2010 08:28 AM

                              Thanks, will drop by on the weekend! Excited to try this place out!

                              1. p
                                Prabhakar Ragde RE: EarlyDrive Sep 5, 2010 05:26 PM

                                Good thing it was open on Sunday; it was the only day I could make it.

                                The operation is pretty shoestring so far, but the food is good. I had the "deluxe" sushi dinner, though I had to ask what the adjective meant. The $5 supplement (to $19) gets you two more pieces of nigiri (totalling ten) and an upgrade from a California roll to the confusingly described "butter maki". This has butterfish and avocado inside, then the roll is brushed with spicy mayo, then thinly-cut salmon is draped on top and torched. Pretty tasty.

                                We were comped a nasu dengaku and bowls of green tea ice cream.

                                I'll go back some weekday for the omakase. I think the fish was better last time I was at Zen, but this is way better than anything else in the neighbourhood has been lately.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: Prabhakar Ragde
                                  Wench Foraday RE: Prabhakar Ragde Sep 5, 2010 10:28 PM

                                  We also had the sushi deluxe platter tonight. Two nigiri each of salmon, tuna, scallop, torched albacore and torched butterfish (the latter two varieties drizzled with garlic oil), along with a "butter maki" as described above. We were given spicy tuna handrolls as a bonus, and comped the ice cream. Unsurprisingly, the food reminds me of Japango more than anything else (but not of Yuzu, which has been inferior on our two trips there).

                                  The fish is fresh. Their shari needs work, as it falls apart quite easily. There is also a bit of the "monster sushi" phenomenon that Amy Pataki described in a recent review, but I'm not necessarily complaining about that.

                                  And yes: it's definitely better than anything else on that strip. I do hope it can survive the incoming onslaught that will be the second Guu!

                                  1. re: Wench Foraday
                                    p
                                    Prabhakar Ragde RE: Wench Foraday Sep 6, 2010 06:48 AM

                                    I agree about the texture of the rice, and the ratio of rice to fish, but the fish slices weren't the oversized type I've sometimes had at Korean places; if anything, they were a little on the small side. Or maybe I was just hungry. Though it sounds as if it was a good thing we didn't go for the omakase on our first visit.

                                    1. re: Prabhakar Ragde
                                      Wench Foraday RE: Prabhakar Ragde Sep 6, 2010 08:11 AM

                                      Agreed - my monster sushi comment only referred to the somewhat disproportionate ratio of rice to fish.

                                      The omakase sounded OK to me - it is only $39 a person, after all. And I am given to understand that some of the tuna in the omakase is o-toro.

                                      1. re: Wench Foraday
                                        p
                                        Prabhakar Ragde RE: Wench Foraday Sep 6, 2010 09:06 AM

                                        The first omakase reported in this thread sounded much better. I suppose that Sunday of a holiday weekend is not the best time to judge any restaurant...!

                                    2. re: Wench Foraday
                                      Notorious P.I.G. RE: Wench Foraday Sep 6, 2010 06:23 PM

                                      It would actually be a great alternative for people who can't get into Guu or don't want to wait. The cuisine is far enough apart that Guu shouldn't conflict too much, IMO. The new Izakaya down the street at the cursed old McDonalds/Miga location could be in for some trouble however...

                                  2. k
                                    keshkul RE: EarlyDrive Sep 5, 2010 10:04 PM

                                    Had the Omakase set ($39) at Sushi Couture tonight. We were served standard salad and miso soup to start with a bowl of edamame for two on the side.

                                    First course was an oyster shooter (quail and fish eggs with oyster) which was okay, but not something I'd try again. Next was mussel with some kind of sauce (this was quite nice, but the waitress was unable to explain what it was) and a square of eggplant with bonito flakes on top. There was also a small blowtorched fish (anchovy perhaps?). The next course had a cup of tuna in a lime base, a tiny fried crab (sawagani), and butter fish sashimi. Four pieces of nigiri sushi followed -- this was not your traditional selection but a more contemporary take (there was barbecued eel with avocado, for instance). There was also tuna and more butter fish. The rice was decent and had a good amount of wasabi. The next course was a slap in the face -- it was "Sushi couture rolls" -- a slightly different approach to California rolls, laden with mayo. My friend and I both found them soggy and unpleasant. Finally, we had a spicy tuna handroll (temaki sushi). This was a little too over spiced but the sea weed did provide a good crunch. Green tea and deep fried banana (meh) were included for dessert.

                                    Sushi Couture certainly offers fish that is of higher quality than the other places across the street, but the california rolls need to be completely eradicated from the omakase menu and replaced with something else. There also needs to be more variety with the fish -- too much tuna (three times) and butter fish (also three times) makes for tedious eating. And deep fried banana? Really?

                                    The service is eager, if a little slow at times. The ambience is nice, but Michael Buble may not be the best accompaniment to sushi. There are a few kinks with the omakase menu but hopefully these get sorted out. For now you may have better luck with sticking to a la carte. Overall: 6/10

                                    -----
                                    Sushi Couture
                                    456 Bloor St. W., Toronto, ON M5S 1X8, CA

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: keshkul
                                      s
                                      szw RE: keshkul Sep 9, 2010 09:05 PM

                                      I had the same as you today but my dinner was a bit different.

                                      1. Oyster shooter
                                      2. Sashimi, three pieces of kanpachi and two pieces of toro.
                                      3. Trio of apps...the eggplant, the mussel (it was very good), and something (i think meat) sandwiched between two shiso leaves and fried. I think they were fried earlier in advance as it was not crispy and hot.
                                      4. Sushi course:IIRC fried unagi topped with avocado, toro, torched butterfish with something on top..., greek seabream (grilled I think), Trout, the little fried crab, and two more pieces of nigiri that I forgot.

                                      5. sushi couture roll. It was decent but not my thing. My GF, who didn't get omakase, liked it quite a bit. I admit it did taste good, but all the good stuff was on top of the roll. Whatever was inside the roll looked boring, maybe just crabstick and cucumber or something like that.

                                      Dessert was a green tea cheesecake. The chef was walking by and stopped to mention that they just got it in today. He mentioned something about it being made by a french chef in Japan...it was nice.

                                      Overall it was a nice meal. I will go back again and ask for omakase of all nigiri, since thats what I enjoy the most. The rice was a bit too loosely packed. I ate one with my chopsticks and it fell apart so I used my hands for the rest, and I still had to be a bit delicate with it. I prefer it to be too loosely packed over too tightly packed though, so I don't really want to complain about it in case they go too much in the other direction. The amount of rice in each nigiri is very small, I like it that way.

                                    2. Notorious P.I.G. RE: EarlyDrive Sep 7, 2010 05:09 PM

                                      Just had a whole Aji three ways Sushi/Sashimi/Chopped inside Oba leaves as Tempura, fresh Hamachi, Kuro Dai, Mussels, and among the best pieces of O Toro I've had in the city. This experience definitely tops my first experience there.

                                      Got their Nasu Dengaku as well and it was also very good. Going to try more of the cooked food as there seems to be some good stuff going on there.

                                      10 Replies
                                      1. re: Notorious P.I.G.
                                        pinstripeprincess RE: Notorious P.I.G. Sep 8, 2010 06:50 AM

                                        was the aji three ways on the menu?

                                        1. re: pinstripeprincess
                                          Notorious P.I.G. RE: pinstripeprincess Sep 8, 2010 10:16 AM

                                          I don't think so...

                                          I just asked what they had in that day and they had fresh aji which they only sell whole. I just told him to do whatever he wants with it and he did what he did. Nice knife work on the nigiri, and the sashimi was served in hollowed out limes with ginger.

                                          They also give you that real wasabi/powdered wasabi blend which is better than just powdered wasabi.

                                          1. re: Notorious P.I.G.
                                            pinstripeprincess RE: Notorious P.I.G. Sep 8, 2010 11:28 AM

                                            it seemed like you only got the real/fake blend if you ordered off the hand written a la carte menu, but that only really listed a selection of sushi/sashimi. was just curious how this whole aji came up and if it was something one would have to ask for.

                                            a number of japango diners seemed to have been there and there was mention of the private chopsticks being eventually available.

                                            1. re: pinstripeprincess
                                              j
                                              JennaBean RE: pinstripeprincess Sep 8, 2010 11:32 AM

                                              Private chopsticks?

                                              1. re: JennaBean
                                                jlunar RE: JennaBean Sep 8, 2010 11:45 AM

                                                Regulars get a set of chopsticks that are held/hung in boxes at the restaurant with their names on 'em. It's a nice "where everybody knows your name" kinda touch.

                                              2. re: pinstripeprincess
                                                Notorious P.I.G. RE: pinstripeprincess Sep 8, 2010 02:14 PM

                                                I may have to break these out then:

                                                http://www.blogcdn.com/www.scifisquad...

                                                1. re: Notorious P.I.G.
                                                  t
                                                  tjr RE: Notorious P.I.G. Sep 16, 2010 08:15 PM

                                                  Brilliant.

                                                  I'm kind of excited to go now.

                                          2. re: Notorious P.I.G.
                                            skylineR33 RE: Notorious P.I.G. Sep 8, 2010 07:12 AM

                                            What kind of mussel do they serve ? They serve it raw ?

                                            1. re: skylineR33
                                              Notorious P.I.G. RE: skylineR33 Sep 8, 2010 10:22 AM

                                              I don't know what kind of mussels we had but they where baked or broiled with a sweeter cream sauce on them.

                                              1. re: skylineR33
                                                Charles Yu RE: skylineR33 Sep 8, 2010 05:35 PM

                                                David Lee in his 'old Spendido' once served me 'Golden Mussels' from BC marinated in his housemade Ponzu sauce. It was sooooo good! Never know mussels can taste that great. Could easily eat a few dozens of those! Was told its pretty expensive though!

                                            2. p
                                              piccola RE: EarlyDrive Sep 7, 2010 05:25 PM

                                              Any thoughts on their vegetarian offerings, assuming they have any? Is it just the standard cucumber/gourd/avocado rolls, or something a little more creative?

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: piccola
                                                Notorious P.I.G. RE: piccola Sep 7, 2010 05:27 PM

                                                I haven't really explored those options as of yet.

                                                1. re: Notorious P.I.G.
                                                  p
                                                  piccola RE: Notorious P.I.G. Sep 7, 2010 05:45 PM

                                                  No worries, I know fish is the deal-maker or -breaker at sushi places.

                                                  1. re: piccola
                                                    Notorious P.I.G. RE: piccola Sep 7, 2010 05:53 PM

                                                    Totally. However, if someone was doing great vegetable Nigiri I would be all for it. It's definitely an aspect of sushi that has not been explored in Canada. I really believe that if someone where to expand in this direction they would find great produce to do so with. There are great places in Japan to have vegetable nigiri, I sincerely hope it crosses over in the near future.

                                                    We could also do with some Shojin Ryori around here too but that may be asking a lot.

                                                2. re: piccola
                                                  b
                                                  blueandyellow RE: piccola Jul 6, 2011 07:41 AM

                                                  you probably already know the answer to your question. still, i thought i'd weigh in. the vegetarian options at Sushi Couture are very sparse, and what they have is fairly standard – agedashi tofu, which i had to have without the dashi, avocado roll, cucumber roll, etc. yes, the quality was good, but the selection was lacking, and also, the portions were fairly small. if you're vegetarian and like sushi, you probably already know that New Generation, across the street, has a pretty good veg selection.

                                                  -----
                                                  New Generation
                                                  493 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S1Y2, CA

                                                  Sushi Couture
                                                  456 Bloor St. W., Toronto, ON M5S 1X8, CA

                                                  1. re: blueandyellow
                                                    p
                                                    piccola RE: blueandyellow Jul 6, 2011 06:21 PM

                                                    Thanks for this. I did know about New Gen, but I haven't made it out to Sushi Couture yet - and now, I'll probably pass.

                                                    -----
                                                    Sushi Couture
                                                    456 Bloor St. W., Toronto, ON M5S 1X8, CA

                                                3. 1
                                                  1moreround RE: EarlyDrive Sep 11, 2010 06:50 PM

                                                  Went to Sushi Couture for dinner. Had soft shell crab, sushi combo (deluxe $5 extra) , sashimi combo, uni sushi and eel maki between me, wife and 11yr old daughter. We were totally impressed with the quality of the fish given the price they charge.

                                                  I'd say the quality is on par with places like Yuzu and Takesushi (two downtown places we like), but cost 30% less!

                                                  Restaurant was only half full on a Sat night, while other lower quality sushi joints on Bloor had line-ups outside. I don't get it. But really hope that Sushi Couture survive.

                                                  I may have had better sushi elsewhere, but not at the low price this place charge. It's a gem!

                                                  1. shekamoo RE: EarlyDrive Sep 14, 2010 02:33 PM

                                                    I had one order of the O Toro sushi ($12) today at lunch time as I was not really hungry but could not resist the blackboard announcement that O Toro had just arrived today. I must say I was unimpressed, with the subpar quality of the fish, the rather bland taste of the shari and the dryness of the nori. but then again two pieces of sushi is not enough to judge. what really annoyed me was being told triumphantly by the server that I was being served "fresh wasabi" which was not the case at all. now, I was not really expecting fresh wasabi, so why say that to me and make me feel like I am being treated like an idiot?! I still have not crossed them out completely though. will go back for a proper lunch soon

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: shekamoo
                                                      haggisdragon RE: shekamoo Sep 15, 2010 05:46 AM

                                                      I believe their wasabi is a mix of fresh and the paste. CMIIW.

                                                      1. re: haggisdragon
                                                        shekamoo RE: haggisdragon Sep 15, 2010 03:25 PM

                                                        hmmm, could be, the texture could support this half/half theory(if it is indeed a theory), but the taste (the horseradish BOMB) tells me it was all paste. I mean even half/half should give you a hint of sweetness in the aftertaste, no?

                                                        1. re: shekamoo
                                                          pinstripeprincess RE: shekamoo Sep 15, 2010 07:10 PM

                                                          they're definitely using a half and half mix and theirs seems to be heavier on the horseradish burn. not great, but it is a blend.

                                                          curious about your "dryness of the nori" comment. i like nicely toasted crunchy nori, soggy is unappealing. what about it was so dry and unpleasant?

                                                          1. re: pinstripeprincess
                                                            shekamoo RE: pinstripeprincess Sep 15, 2010 07:34 PM

                                                            I like crunchy nori too, but only if crispness is followed by a melt in your mouth smoothness. I thought this was your ordinary toasted nori which you would get in any sushi place in town. I wouldnt call it unpleasant, but nothing exciting either. maybe I just had high expectations

                                                    2. d
                                                      danieljosef RE: EarlyDrive Sep 15, 2010 09:47 AM

                                                      Went for dinner last night.

                                                      Was really happy with the quality and freshness of the sashimi, for the price I can't imagine SC can be beat (16 pcs. of sashimi on a bed of rice for $13.99). Also had the spicy tuna roll with crunch, the rice on this role was a bit off, overcooked I think. They comped us a sea urchin roll, which was one of the best things we had.

                                                      Place wasn't super busy, it was about 55% full midway through our meal (whereas Sushi On Bloor was lined up out the door). Service was attentive and fast, we were in and out in about an hour. Defs my new favourite place in the Annex area.

                                                      -----
                                                      Sushi On Bloor
                                                      515 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S1Y4, CA

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: danieljosef
                                                        a
                                                        acd123 RE: danieljosef Sep 16, 2010 11:13 AM

                                                        My wife and I tried it last night too and liked it a lot. Very happy to have them in the neighbourhood. Now to have somewhere to go other than Japango, which is a bit further from our house.

                                                        -----
                                                        Japango
                                                        122 Elizabeth St, Toronto, ON M5G1P5, CA

                                                      2. chefhound RE: EarlyDrive Sep 19, 2010 11:17 PM

                                                        Just tried Sushi Couture and it was great. We had the omakase. It started with the standard miso soup and salad and then the real meal began.
                                                        Clams in sake broth, maki ( I think it was the Sushi Couture roll), oyster sake shooter, sashimi, scallop with cheese (sounds odd but was pretty good), nigiri sushi, tempura banana with green tea ice cream.
                                                        How can you beat that for $40?
                                                        Both the fresh wasabi and the regular wasabi were available on the table.

                                                        -----
                                                        Sushi Couture
                                                        456 Bloor St. W., Toronto, ON M5S 1X8, CA

                                                        1. d
                                                          danieljosef RE: EarlyDrive Sep 22, 2010 12:33 PM

                                                          I went again this week (Monday night) with friends from outside the city.

                                                          And I had a totally different experience.

                                                          Arrived at 7ish, restaurant was about 60% full. Sat down, had to wait for about 10 minutes before anyone came to the table, when they did, waiter brought miso soup and water, didn't ask if we wanted tea. Had to flag him down again to place our order. Salad came out about 10 minutes after we ordered. Our food about another 15-20 min. later. Service was disorganized, they had two servers both who didn't seem to know what to do and couldn't stay on top of their tables.

                                                          Ordered the sushi dinner, and upgraded to a deluxe roll instead of the standard california roll. Two others at the table ordered the sushi dinner (one upgrade, one not). Fourth person ordered the sashimi dinner. Sushi came out, first thing we noticed was how much smaller the sushi was compared to last week. I upgraded my roll to the Sushi Couture Roll, can't remember what was in it, but it's delcious (they charged me $7 to upgrade to that roll instead of $5). My partner ordered the dynamite roll, which okay, a bit too much roe slathered on top.

                                                          Nothing wrong with the quality of food overall (fish was still super fresh, good selection of different types), but a huge difference in the size of the rolls (about 40% smaller) plus service was pretty disorganized and chaotic. I did notice that the sushi chef (originally from Japanago) wasn't there as well as the other guy who seems to be a part-owner. Let's hope the next visit is more successful.

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                                                          Sushi Couture
                                                          456 Bloor St. W., Toronto, ON M5S 1X8, CA

                                                          1. m
                                                            moo422 RE: EarlyDrive Sep 28, 2010 11:31 PM

                                                            Went to Sushi Couture this past Saturday.

                                                            Ordered the Omakase:

                                                            First of the 5-course omakase was a clam broth. I'm thinking it was a dashi broth, but I may be mistaken -- while salty, there was also sweetness to balance it out. The natural mild bitterness of the clams added another level of complexity, and the parsley was a classic complement to the clams.

                                                            Next came a trio of grilled items: lightly grilled capelin, a broiled mussel with mayo sauce, grilled eggplant with bonito flakes. The capelin, while fresh and full of roe, felt a bit room-temperature to the touch and could have been cooked a little bit more. The mussel was topped with a tangy mayo, almost like a japanese big mac sauce. The eggplant was grilled chopstick-tender, and the bonito flakes danced on the plate. The bonito provided the amount of salt and umami to balance with the mildly sweet/soy-seasoned eggplant.

                                                            With our next few dishes came picked ginger, wasabi paste, and fresh wasabi. I suspect that the fresh wasabi is from a tube, as a friend had brought back a tube from a wasabi farm in Japan, and the texture and flavour were very similar. Other "fresh grated" wasabi in the past haven't had as much nasal kick, which both the tubed and wasabi here demonstrated. Not that I'm complaining -- I'll gladly eat this over the paste.

                                                            The signature shooters with tobiko (flying fish roe), ikura (salmoe roe), uni (sea urchin), oyster, and a quail egg. At Japango, I remembered the different textural layers and flavours coming in waves -- here, the flavours seemed overpowered by the ikura, but finished very well with the deliciously sweet uni. Texturally, the various elements seemed to blend together too much.

                                                            On the same plate, a whole aji (mackerel) was deftly fileted to produce three pieces of nigiri, three small lime-cups of loose aji meat, and presented alongside the whole unbroken skeleton wrapped in a ring. The fish was unbelievably fresh, and the ginger-scallions and lime weren't even necessary - the typical fishiness was completely absent.

                                                            From the left, blowtorched kurodai (seabream) and seared BC albacore tuna. While the shape of the kurodai seemed a little odd, the fish itself tasted incredible with a hint of char. The BC albacore tuna was topped with a garlic oil, and the flesh was juicy and firm.

                                                            From the right, tempura eel and madai (red seabream). The tempura batter was light, un-oily, while the unagi was fresh, substantial, mildly savoury and sweet -- i don't remember the last time I've had unagi that's not soggily drenched in bbq sauce and falling apart. The madai was also lightly blowtorched, exhibiting that mild char flavour as well.

                                                            The signature Sushi Couture roll (or so I believe) - imitation crab and cucumber slivers inside, topped with salmon and the tangy mayo, and broiled. It was interesting and had strong flavours, but I think I might have prefered something less fusion. For what it was, the execution was good, but I would only order this from the menu if dining with less adventurous eaters.

                                                            Tempura banana with a mediocre green tea ice cream. Meh.

                                                            The biggest complaint about the evening? The wait between courses was abnormally long, but I do understand that items on a custom menu would take longer, as the chef's assistants wouldn't normally handle these dishes. Between our 5th course and the dessert, the chef came to our table to apologize for the waits - it was a nice gesture, and i'm glad he's aware, because this place is only going to get more and more busy going forward.

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                                                            Sushi Couture
                                                            456 Bloor St. W., Toronto, ON M5S 1X8, CA

                                                             
                                                             
                                                             
                                                             
                                                             
                                                             
                                                             
                                                             
                                                             
                                                            8 Replies
                                                            1. re: moo422
                                                              Bobby Wham RE: moo422 Oct 18, 2010 06:48 AM

                                                              Ok, I feel extremely ripped off now because looking at your $50 omakase, you got more food than our "upgraded" omakase. I loved my first experience at Sushi Couture so much that my gf and I made resos. I was really disappointed with the whole experience. It started off well enough with the oyster shooter and trio of tuna tartar, eggplant/miso and mountain potato, but then we waited 30 mins for our next course, and when we got our miniscule portion of sashimi, the 4th course came right after so they had to put the steaming clam/broth off to the side while we were still eating our 3rd course!!! then had to eat it when it was luke warm, WTF, it was in really bad taste. sashimi and sushi courses were SO small (4 pieces of nigiri), and the duck mushroom course was tough and flavourless, we did not get any rolls whatsoever and when dessert came we were in awe at the small amount of food we had just consumed over 2 hours. We complained to the host and let him know we felt ripped off. So this is just a warning for anyone that wants value, you could spend $70 on rolls and a la carte and get a ridiculous amount of food, save your omakase experience for somewhere with a better reputation. Oh well Sushi Couture we had high hopes, but, on to the next one...

                                                              1. re: Bobby Wham
                                                                t
                                                                tyatt RE: Bobby Wham Oct 23, 2010 07:54 PM

                                                                I had the exact 70$ omakase as well and needless to say it was the most terrible meal I had in my life! The quantlity was so little and the food was just so so. How could they go from wowing everyone to disastrous? I really dunno. But I feel that they are short on staff as you can see piles of dirty dishes at the kitchen, and also how messy the kitchen is....terrible. I went there to celebrate my birthday and made special arrangements for the kids to stay home. Uber frustrated and disappointed, I also talked to the chef after my meal to let him know that he really should not cheat his customers like that. Not only would he lose his customers, but he would also lose his reputation. Now I swear I would not walk in this restaurant ever again, and any other restaurants he might own in the future.

                                                                1. re: tyatt
                                                                  Charles Yu RE: tyatt Oct 23, 2010 07:57 PM

                                                                  Wow! This is indeed one big surprise!! Hope the chef follows chowhound??!!

                                                                  1. re: Charles Yu
                                                                    t
                                                                    tyatt RE: Charles Yu Oct 23, 2010 08:12 PM

                                                                    It doesn't matter whether the chef follows chowhound or not because after talking to him in person, I did not feel that he thought anything was wrong in his 70$ menu. He went on explaining how much things costed him.... etc. Towards the end of that one way discussion I suggested to him to look around town on other restos serving omakase, and he replied that he has his own style. Sure he can have his own style but definitely not the kind to attract customers, especially how both quality and quantity can go downhill like this.

                                                                    1. re: tyatt
                                                                      shekamoo RE: tyatt Oct 23, 2010 08:45 PM

                                                                      I think putting a $70 omakase request to him is stretching things a bit too thin on what he is able to offer. even my $60 order was easily testing the limits. if I want to go beyond $60, I would just go to Kaji.
                                                                      of course your point goes more to quantity, and I would agree that I would have liked a bit more food in my omakase, and it seems you got even less

                                                                      1. re: shekamoo
                                                                        t
                                                                        tyatt RE: shekamoo Oct 23, 2010 10:07 PM

                                                                        Unfortunately we did not ask for the $70, we were told that they did not do $60 anymore and it was then $70. We went along with it thinking that it should be an improvement on the $60 one many of u had earlier this month. It was really terrible, and gave me a strong feeling that they were out to treat us like idiots who never had omakase before.

                                                                        1. re: tyatt
                                                                          shekamoo RE: tyatt Oct 24, 2010 05:52 AM

                                                                          oh. do they still serve the 'basic' $40 omakase?

                                                                  2. re: tyatt
                                                                    s
                                                                    szw RE: tyatt Nov 3, 2010 10:53 AM

                                                                    But honestly, we all knew something would have to give right? This thread became so popular because it was a great bargain, a better deal that what other restaurants in town were serving up. So everybody knew it would have to change eventually, the Chef probably wanted to show off and attract people at first. Who knows maybe he still wants to do it but is constrained by someone else looking at the books (I have no idea if the chef an owner).

                                                              2. Underdog Rally RE: EarlyDrive Oct 2, 2010 07:38 AM

                                                                Aside from some of the best sashimi I've had in Toronto, this is easily the best *value* I've gotten by a wide margin. Most of the menu (sushi/sashimi, rolls, lunch specials) is on par with pricing at the usual suspects on Bloor St, but you're paying for much, much better fish and much better preparation. I was particularly impressed with their cooked seafood (i.e. melt in your mouth unagi, seared fish). I can understand why sushi purists might find the Sushi Couture roll (salmon/scallop/rich sauce) too strong, but I think it's a good attempt to keep their local market in mind. Their menu provides for a wide range of experiences - you can fill up on rolls for ~$10-15 per person, you can run through the daily specials for ~$20, or you can go all out on a high end progression of fresh fish for ~$40-$60.

                                                                Regarding the wasabi, we've been given separate piles of fake and mixed (you could see the fresh flakes).

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                                                                Sushi Couture
                                                                456 Bloor St. W., Toronto, ON M5S 1X8, CA

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: Underdog Rally
                                                                  Bobby Wham RE: Underdog Rally Oct 2, 2010 07:18 PM

                                                                  Very impressed! Sashimi and sushi were very fresh, loved the garlic oil on the bc tuna tataki, when we got the bill we were served 2 salmon handrolls with it on the house! Fresh fish was being delivered while we ate. Loved the fish-to-rice ratio of the nigiri

                                                                  1. re: Bobby Wham
                                                                    s
                                                                    szw RE: Bobby Wham Oct 3, 2010 08:35 AM

                                                                    has anybody gone for a good nigiri only experience here yet? I had the omakase and enjoyed it, but I wouldn't go again.

                                                                    Just wondering if I should ask for a nigiri only omakase or just order ala carte.

                                                                    1. re: szw
                                                                      haggisdragon RE: szw Oct 3, 2010 08:11 PM

                                                                      When I went we ordered a la carte. We pretty much stuck to nigiri, with one or two sashimi choices aswell. I ordered mostly off of the daily specials menu. We had many of the same dishes and presentations as those mentioned above in the omakase descriptions. The only cooked dish we had was the tempura part of the Aji three ways, which was freaking delicious. Stand out dish was O toro tataki. 2 of us spent $80 total. We were given a complimentary maki, dessert, and a couple of pieces of nigiri. We left very happy. So I would say if you want nigiri you won't be missing out on anything if you go a la carte. BTW I agree with those who have said that the shari is not as good as Kaji.

                                                                2. p
                                                                  Pincus RE: EarlyDrive Nov 2, 2010 11:03 AM

                                                                  I ordered a la carte there a couple of weeks ago and enjoyed the service and food. Got some uni for the second time ever. Not sure what the great stuff tastes like, but it was sweet and also a bit earthy (which is a weird adjective to use with seafood, I'll admit), and I enjoyed it. Certainly not the top sushi place in the world, but for the price point and location it's a winner for me so far.

                                                                  I have seen the comments about the omakase lately and thank everyone, it will save me from ordering it and having a similar awful experience.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Pincus
                                                                    Googs RE: Pincus Nov 3, 2010 04:49 AM

                                                                    If the ocean made whipped cream, that's what good Uni tastes like. Earthy seems a little wrong, but perhaps that's not the word you were looking for.

                                                                    1. re: Googs
                                                                      p
                                                                      Pincus RE: Googs Nov 3, 2010 10:14 AM

                                                                      I think most of the earthy flavour came from the seaweed/nori.

                                                                      So, sweet and foamy?

                                                                  2. g
                                                                    greedy_foodie RE: EarlyDrive Nov 5, 2010 11:35 AM

                                                                    I found Sushi Couture's price to be fair and the sushi good. Hurray! this proves people in the know are willing to pay a little bit more for better sushi. Afterall, Japanese food is not something we should try to shave a few pennies off!

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                                                                    Sushi Couture
                                                                    456 Bloor St. W., Toronto, ON M5S 1X8, CA

                                                                    1. t
                                                                      tholepin RE: EarlyDrive Nov 18, 2010 08:02 AM

                                                                      I definitely have to add my support of Sushi Couture, which is the best sushi I've had in Toronto so far. Also, it's reasonably priced and has an interesting mix of other rice-bowl type of dishes too. The staff is super nice and welcoming; I definitely hope it can stay afloat despite being in such a competitive section of Bloor. Then again, I'm also glad it's still somewhat of a secret so I don't have to wait in line (especially when I see what happens to Sushi-on-Bloor right across the street, which doesn't compare, by the way ;-)

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                                                                      Sushi Couture
                                                                      456 Bloor St. W., Toronto, ON M5S 1X8, CA

                                                                      1. e
                                                                        eatravel RE: EarlyDrive Nov 22, 2010 09:11 AM

                                                                        Great lunch deal at Sushi Couture. Lunch for two includes 18 pieces of nigiri (tuna, butterfish, BC tuna tataki, and salmon), 1 spicy salmon roll, two soups and two salads for $21.99. We asked them to put less salmon and add sea bream in its place - they charged us only $2 extra. Sometimes, they bring us an extra roll or give us the wakame salad instead of green salad at no extra charge. Love it!

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                                                                        Sushi Couture
                                                                        456 Bloor St. W., Toronto, ON M5S 1X8, CA

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