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Aug 28, 2010 02:16 PM

Sushi Couture: Get over there!

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.

122 Elizabeth St, Toronto, ON M5G1P5, CA

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  1. 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:

    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.

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

      1. re: Notorious P.I.G.

        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 omakse blitzing for me! If so, how does it compare?


        1. re: ekim256

          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

            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

              Good cooked food eh? I should try Solo soon.

              1. re: Notorious P.I.G.

                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

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

                  1. re: tjr

                    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.

                    122 Elizabeth St, Toronto, ON M5G1P5, CA

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

              15 Replies
              1. re: Prabhakar Ragde

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

                1. re: c.cow

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

                  1. re: Googs

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

                    1. re: skylineR33

                      Supply issues. Serious Sushi stops Sunday's.

                      1. re: Googs

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

                        1. re: skylineR33

                          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

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

                            1. re: skylineR33

                              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

                                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

                                  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

                                    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 :(

                              2. re: skylineR33

                                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 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

                                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!

                                122 Elizabeth St, Toronto, ON M5G1P5, CA

                              4. re: c.cow

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

                              1. 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

                                  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

                                    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

                                      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

                                        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

                                      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...