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Yuzu

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I'm looking for a nice downtown sushi restaurant for this Friday evening. Can anyone comment on the sushi/sashimi, atmosphere, etc.? Are there any tables that have benches instead of chairs? Ideally, I'd like the kind of table and benches that are behind those little half curtains. Two of my three guests are from out of town and we'd like to have a bit of privacy so we can chat and catch up. If Yuzu is not the place to go, are there other recommendations? I'm looking for high quality raw fish. I'm not particularly interested in any cooked fish or other hot dishes.

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Yuzu
236 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5H1W7, CA

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  1. There are tables with benches, but nothing that would be private. However, I don't find Yuzu loud. I do go later in the evenings though.

    Shot of the main dining area:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jlunar/4...
    Shot from main dining area towards the bar:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jlunar/5...
    Another view (not my shot
    )http://www.flickr.com/photos/reelasia...

    I've had really good nigiri there, though the shari can be inconsistent. Have taken looots of photos from yuzu (very photogenic, their dishes).

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jlunar/4...
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jlunar/s...
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jlunar/s...
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jlunar/s...

    I really enjoy eating at Yuzu but uh... I eat there a lot (can you tell?), so I'm biased.

    ---
    http://www.foodpr0n.com -- food. is. love.

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    Yuzu
    236 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5H1W7, CA

    1 Reply
    1. re: jlunar

      Great pictures - thanks for posting! And a good reminder of some of the great things I ate there - that pork belly completely blew my mind. SO great.

    2. I'm going tonight. I'm no sushi expert, so my analysis of Yuzu's shari or powder vs. real wasabi will not be authoritative. I'll let you know about the tables, at least.

      For downtown, I'm going to this one basically because it's for business, I think it looks nice and it's not Nami.

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      Nami
      55 Adelaide St E, Toronto, ON M5C1K6, CA

      Yuzu
      236 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5H1W7, CA

      1. I went to Yuzu for my birthday a couple of weeks ago with my husband and it was wonderful. The atmosphere is great for a Friday night - funky, dimly lit. A really lovely room. There are no private curtained off areas though but it's not loud or cramped (I was there on a Friday). The food was delicious. The standard sushi plate was really good with interesting and delicious twists on how it was prepared (a hint of garlic on some for example). The hot appetizer plates were also great. I would definitely go back and I would highly recommend it (in fact I found about it here on Chowhound).

        2 Replies
        1. re: Arcadiaseeker

          Thanks! This sounds very promising. If Zen were more centrally located, it would be my automatic choice, but one of my guests will be coming from a downtown hotel and wants to hoof it, so I'm trying to make things easy for him. Being a raw fish lover, my inclination is to request an all raw chef's choice, but should I reconsider and let the kitchen do its thing?

          1. re: 1sweetpea

            That was my dilemma too - we wanted to be downtown but did not want to go to Nami. The thing about Yuzu is their hot apps are really really good and worth a try. I did not have the sashimi so can't vouch for letting the chef do their thing - but if the hot dishes are anything to go by, that might be a good route.

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            Nami
            55 Adelaide St E, Toronto, ON M5C1K6, CA

            Yuzu
            236 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5H1W7, CA

        2. First off...no half curtains providing privacy. It's an open room.

          Second, I really enjoyed my meal. For appetizers, we had warm dishes. The pork belly was succulent and delicious. The gyoza were pretty good, but you couldn't really tell they were stuffed with duck. The crispy fried oysters were a bit weak. Great crispiness, but I found the oysters had lost their way.

          For sushi/sashimi/etc....the spicy tuna roll is great. I always loved the Japango spicy sauce, and this one was excellent. The Uni was buttery and good. I only had the one piece and if I had to do it again, I'd swat aside the crispy garnishes as they take away from the flavour (although they look good). I'm no Uni expert, so can't compare. The BC tuna we had sashimi and nigiri. Buttery and delicious. But...and this comment applies to most of their sushi, while I appreciate garnishes and extra flavour touches, I find they overwhelm the fish. You get the texture, but the flavour is lost.

          We also had the Yuzu roll...pass. Expensive and not worth it.

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          Japango
          122 Elizabeth St, Toronto, ON M5G1P5, CA

          Yuzu
          236 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5H1W7, CA

          4 Replies
          1. re: grandgourmand

            Thanks for the details, GG. I have no qualms about moving gratuitous garnishes aside in favour of pure sushi flavours, or else trying a small bite with, then the rest without. I'm also not big on special rolls. I like my maki straightforward and no more complicated than yellowtail with green onion, though now I'm intrigued by the spicy Japango sauce, which I've never tasted.

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            Japango
            122 Elizabeth St, Toronto, ON M5G1P5, CA

            1. re: 1sweetpea

              Agreed. The Yuzu roll was our only disappointment - I had read about it so we ordered one up and it was very generic (unlike the rest of our meal) - I would have rather tried something else.

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              Yuzu
              236 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5H1W7, CA

              1. re: 1sweetpea

                If you're getting the spicy tuna maki...best to finish with that. It has the most poweful flavour. Bad spicy maki taste like it could be tabasco and mayo. This stuff has more chili flavour and a hint of smoke. I know it's not the most authentic stuff...but damn it's good.

                1. re: grandgourmand

                  I took the safe route and ordered the sushi deluxe, substituting a standard salmon maki for the yuzu roll. The salmon maki was fine, though quite small. I quite enjoyed the treatments of each piece of sushi for their creativity, but would have been just as happy to savour the freshness of the fish and seafood had they been presented unadorned, except for a dab of wasabi, which was missing from each piece. The fish was very fresh and the selection was decent, though I was disappointed not to see any toro amongst the offerings. I can't complain about the flavours whatsoever, though a couple of pieces of fish tasted as if they had been dipped in the same salad dressing as on the house salad. I can't help being a purist. I like my fish to look and taste like fish. When consuming it as sushi, I want nothing more than wasabi, soy and ginger to accompany. That said, I enjoyed my dinner at Yuzu for exactly what it was: fusion flavours presented with sushi. Next time, I will focus on fun appetizers and mains and save the purist-style sushi for another restaurant.

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                  Yuzu
                  236 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5H1W7, CA

            2. Had a good lunch at Yuzu today.

              My friend tried the sushi sampler. and a very generous Nabeyaki Udon, including the tempura shrimp, seaweed and egg, as well as a non-tempura shrimp, several types of mushrooms, some zucchini, as well as other veggies. I ordered the double-decker bento, which included salmon teriyaki (could've also ordered beef or chicken) 2 tempura shrimp and several tempura veg, 4 pieces of nigiri sushi, marinated spicy zucchini, marinated sweet potato, some sort of marinated tofu, and rice. The noodles and bento included a green salad and miso soup to start. Our meal came to around $50 before tip.

              Although I've enjoyed dinners at Yuzu, this was the first time I've been for lunch, and I hope to return soon.

              Good place to dine before a matinee at the Royal Alex or Princess of Wales Theatres.

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              Yuzu
              236 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5H1W7, CA

              3 Replies
              1. re: prima

                Hi Prima do you mind sharing how was the nabeyaki udon?even though your friend ordered it how did he/she like it? I like to make it at home but the number of ingredients required for it sometime makes it not worthwhile to do at home but I think its very good on the cold winter days.

                1. re: elvisahmed

                  My friend liked it a lot. I tried some of the noodles, broth and enoki mushrooms, and liked what I tried. It was larger than most versions I've seen in Toronto, with a lot more ingredients, and a nicely seasoned broth. It cost $15 at lunchtime, which I thought was reasonable. It looks like it might cost $17 at dinnertime. It looked a lot like this photo taken by jlunar last year: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jlunar/5... , the main difference being the version today included zucchini, and the version in the photo appears to include some napa.

                  I also read on this Board that Ematei makes a good version (see photo here http://www.postcity.com/Eat-Shop-Do/E... ), possibly the best nabeyaki udon in TO. Haven't tried Ematei's version yet.

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                  Ematei
                  30 Saint Patrick St, Toronto, ON M5T3A3, CA

                  1. re: prima

                    Thank you much appreciated. I will try it out on the next cold day (seems like the upcoming Saturday)

              2. Would you guys recommend going to Yuzu for dinner or lunch?

                3 Replies
                1. re: .alias

                  Either is great.

                  1. re: Arcadiaseeker

                    There seems to be more a la carte options on their dinner menu? What would be the price point of either one ?

                    1. re: .alias

                      I've been for both lunch and dinner but can't remember the cost difference - sorry. Food quality was good at both meals though.

                2. Does anyone know why Yuzu changed its name to Yuzunohana?
                  Has the food quality stayed the same?
                  http://yuzunohana.ca/

                  34 Replies
                  1. re: prima

                    Apparently there was a conflict with their original name. Same people though, as far as I know. I haven't been since Spring, though it was still good then.

                    1. re: jlunar

                      Prices seem to have gone up. $17 (dinner menu) seems a little steep for Nabeyaki Udon.
                      Will let you know how it goes.

                      1. re: prima

                        the prices have gone up a little, they used to be a little bit cheaper than japango but now i think they're on par with their prices.

                        that being said, had dinner there a week ago and spent less than i normally would...

                    2. re: prima

                      Though I have not tried it before. I went there last week here is my input
                      I have been meaning to try out this place for a while. So when an opportunity came up to try this coveted spot for sushi/sashimi we jumped upon it. The funny thing is this happened to be the eve for Halloween and we were thinking we would be out of place since we were dressed in costumes and all. Our fears were washed away as we were greeted enthusiastically by the the staff and even the sushi chef came out to greet us at the table phew what a relief.
                      We were starving so we decided to order a medley of food.
                      Starters were agedashi tofu, wakame salad with a bonus California roll thrown in for good measure. 2 of our mains also came with miso soup.
                      For the main we ordered Gindara, Vegetable Soba, Sashimi Deluxe. For drinks a glass of Pinot Grigio, Asahi and Asahi Black.
                      The food arrived promptly. The California Roll was the lone standout, with the wakame salad and agedashi tofu being visually appealing and average in taste. Miso soup was run of the mill stuff, why oh why restaurants make this soup so weak.
                      The mains arrived afterwards and our first impression was the serving is on small side with gindara being a tiny portion. Vegetable Soba came in big bowl and looked decent. Friend liked her Gindara while the other friend found the soba to be nothing special.
                      The sashimi deluxe was visually appealing with a very nice combo of colors and condiments. Unfortunately the wasabi is not the real deal and is the artificially flavored and color variety a misstep IMO at this price point. I didn't bring my stash of real wasabi with me for this dinner (yes I am one of those people who bring their own wasabi to restaurants) Some of the sashimi was of very high quality especially the white fish.
                      Still unfulfilled we decided to order a spicy tuna and spicy salmon hand roll. Spicy tuna had a good amount of kick in the end which was appreciated by moi (I like my tuna roll spicy like George likes his kung pao spicy)
                      We closed the meal with scoop of black sesame ice cream.
                      The cost per head is on the high side as we hadn't even touched their sake selection so if we do the cost benefit analysis I found this place to be good not great.
                      3 Stars.

                      1. re: elvisahmed

                        Glad you found it to be good, even if it wasn't great.

                        Are there any Japanese restaurants close to the Financial District or Entertainment District that you like better? I like that Yuzu is convenient to the Royal Alex, TIFF Lightbox and Roy Thompson Hall.
                        Unfortunately, I didn't have a good experience at Ematei.

                        1. re: prima

                          JaBistro. I put the sushi chef up there with Kaji and Sei San at Zen. Great stuff and right next to Yuk Yuk's on Richmond. Good Sake list too.

                          1. re: Notorious P.I.G.

                            Thanks Notorious P.I.G. We loved JaBistro.

                            1. re: prima

                              Awesome!

                            2. re: Notorious P.I.G.

                              Have you been to Jabistro or do you just know the Chef? Looking through their website, the "kyukyoku (ultimate fresh pieces)" for $55 under the Sushi menu sounds like omakase similar to zen's style?

                              I'd love to hear anyones opinion who has had this!

                              Too bad about your experience at Ematei, its one of my favourite restaurants in Toronto!

                              1. re: szw

                                I've been twice and both times I ordered the KyuKyoku among other things. You sit at the bar and he serves it piece by piece, there are a bunch of other nice little touches that he throws in there but I won't ruin it for you.

                                Also, they have unbelievable Ankimo in right now as it's in season.

                                I don't generally speak on restaurants I haven't been to without saying that I haven't been there or that I'm repeating hearsay.

                                1. re: Notorious P.I.G.

                                  any other interesting fish that they've had or from better locales? i'm dying for some uni from cali and only like the sea bream from greece.

                                  i'm also crazy excited that their dessert menu doesn't include only ice cream and custard. the number of times i've cut a yuzu meal short at the end and went in search of dessert is too numerous to tell. i hope they have the milk roll cake i've fallen head over heels for.

                                  1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                    Uni was from Vancouver and Boston, no Santa Barbara unfortunately.

                                    Not sure where the rest of the fish was from but it was all great.

                                    1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                      The uni/urchin at JaBistro was from BC last night. The server said BC, rather than Vancouver, so I'm not sure where it's exactly sourced in BC. I didn't ask about the provenance for any other sea creatures we ate. JaBistro's standard 7 piece sushi plate (as opposed to the more deluxe options) was much more interesting than your standard standard 7 piece sushi.

                                      Not sure where JaBistro's sea bream is from, and not sure what specific type of sea bream it happened to be (not sure if it was gilthead, red sea bream, etc). I did think this was the best sea bream sushi I've tasted in Toronto. Mind you, I haven't ordered sea bream at Kaji or Zen. Do you dislike Tunisian-sourced gilthead sea bream (dorade/orata/etc), psp? I wouldn't be able to tell the difference between good gilthead sea bream from Spain, Greece or Tunisia.

                                      They did have a roll cake on the menu last night.

                                      1. re: prima

                                        most of the other sushi restaurants are offering japanese and/or greek sea bream with the japanese one being the most common. there is a fairly significant difference in flavour and a minor one in texture. i'm just familiar with it as kurodai and i'm not aware of the european name.

                                        1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                          Greek seabream is fairly cheap fish imo. Its not bad...but its not highly prized like the Japanese seabream is. If you like the greek seabream, its very common to buy in fish stores as well so you can prepare it at home different ways if you like.

                                          1. re: szw

                                            i much prefer the flavour and texture regardless of it being a cheap fish. while i can appreciate otoro, the fattiness content is so obscene it's not something i would choose to eat regularly even if it was affordable. i do buy it for home cooking but not for raw consumption.

                                            1. re: szw

                                              Some Greek sea breams are cheap, some aren't. I haven't noticed cheap Greek black sea bream being sold anywhere in TO, but I haven't looked for it. Where do you like to buy your Greek sea bream, szw?

                                              Does anyone know if better Japanese restaurants in TO automatically use black sea bream? Do some use gilthead sea bream? Or do most just use any sea bream? Do any Japanese restaurants offer several sea breams? I wouldn't mind trying both Greek-sourced and Japanese-sourced black sea bream, as well as gilthead sea bream, side-by-side.

                                              Most of the better quality cooked sea bream in TO is gilthead sea bream.

                                            2. re: pinstripeprincess

                                              There are several types of sea bream that are common in Greece, with different Greek names, depending on whether its the gilthead (tsipoura/dorado which is probably the most well-known/common, and easiest to find in Canada), red, white, black, etc.
                                              Guess I'll ask more questions next time I'm served sea bream sushi. Starfish was serving Tunisian gilthead sea bream last year.

                                              After a quick online search, it looks like Kurodai is black sea bream.

                                    2. re: Notorious P.I.G.

                                      Great news. Thanks!

                                    3. re: prima

                                      Well I would recommend WOW Sushi at Yonge and Charles (Not exactly financial district but close by) and for lunch I would say run don't walk as its a very good value.

                                      1. re: elvisahmed

                                        Do I have to be a Paladin with full Mana bar, one handed mace, and righteous defence to gain entry into WOW Sushi?

                                        1. re: Notorious P.I.G.

                                          Orange gear only!

                                          But I'm sure they'd let you in, even if you were all blues.

                                          1. re: jlunar

                                            I look less insane now. Thank you Jlunar. Thank you.

                                            1. re: Notorious P.I.G.

                                              XD Nerd 4 Life.

                                    4. re: elvisahmed

                                      where have you found that offers real wasabi? i find the nicer ones still even only do the half/half (which is what yuzu has) unless you pay extra or know someone well.

                                      1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                        I'm not trying to hype them up again but JaBistro had a root behind the sushi bar that they where using for Nigiri.

                                        1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                          In fact:

                                          http://www.torontolife.com/daily/dail...

                                          1. re: Notorious P.I.G.

                                            yup, saw the photo. but they're brand new and i'm curious about the ones that aren't that do.

                                            1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                              Zen does but it's an extra surcharge. It's not listed on the menu, you have to ask for it. I recall it being $5 extra.

                                              1. re: aser

                                                I was harged $5 extra once but the last time (about 4 months ago) they charged $7 extra

                                          2. re: pinstripeprincess

                                            Hmm I recall sushi kaji having it at a meal a while ago and also used to get it by request at the now defunct Akasaka location at North York Centre.
                                            Kinda odd thats why I sometime take my frozen wasabi with me at elaborate meals

                                            1. re: elvisahmed

                                              just checking, that's what i figured. many places don't do it. i find the wasabi i see in toronto is older than i like and so i'm not always keen to have the real stuff. i can manage with the half/half.

                                              1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                Or you can do like moi and get yourself some frozen one (some frozen tube versions are good as well) and take it with you when you go to a sushi place.

                                            2. re: pinstripeprincess

                                              Cafe Michi.