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Sep 21, 2011 03:09 PM

kaji vs hashimoto

I've already been to kaji which was by far the best japanese food i've ever had and I've heard really good things about Hashimoto. Are they comparable or is one of them better? I really should just go eat there :)

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  1. Hashimoto is $300 a head... the most expensive plate in Toronto, I think. If you're never going to Japan and this will be your one shot to eat Kaiseki style, then this could be worth it. If you've been, then this probably will be disappointing at that price-point.

    Also: two totally different meal styles.

    1. I will try to give you my two cents worth!

      Dishes beautifully garnished and arranged with real leaves and flowers aside, a typical multi-course Kaiseki meal nowadays might consist of:

      - Appetizer similar to the French amuse-bouche

      - Second course of one kind of sashimi with number of side dishes

      - A more substantial dish of seasonal sashimi

      - Vegetable with meat, fish, tofu...etc

      - Liddle/soup dish

      - Broiled seasonal fish or seafood

      - Substantial dish like hot-pot

      - Rice dish

      - Dessert

      In between some of the above captioned dishes, palette cleansers, pickled veggies...etc will be inserted.

      Now, based on the recent Omakase I've eaten at Kaji, his meal was actually planned and presented in a very similar manner! ( except for the inclusion of 'sushi' towards the end of the meal ). As such, I would actually call Kaji's version a ' Pseudo-Nouveau Kaiseki ' with less elaborate presentation but more intense tasting and equally varied dishes. The more intense tasting hot dishes might be attributed to his hot-food sous who manned the kitchen inside. French trained, he has apparently over 2000 recipes under his belt!

      Now, if you have the budget to try out some nice plate presentation dishes that are slightly on the ' mild and tame ' side, feel free to give Hashimoto a try. However, if like myself, you have a palette for more intense, stronger flavour food then opt for the ' 1/2 price, less fancy presentation but equally tasty (if not better tasting) ' Kaji Omakase! BTW, at Kaji, I was served equally exotic ingredients such as Uni, awabi, Wagyu Beef, O-toro, King crab leg...that Hashimoto might counter with using 'special air-freight fish from Japan like Kinki' or the occasional super expensive Masutaki mushrooms?!

      IMHO, I think for most Kaiseki meals, be it in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto...or elsewhere, one actually pays a huge premium for the labour intensity plate presentation rather on the food ingredients.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Charles Yu

        Is the omakase at Kaji the normal set menu, or a special request?

          1. re: Charles Yu

            Interesting! I don't remember having anything like wagyu while there! Perhaps it's time for more visits :)

            1. re: GeeDee

              Do not expect a huge portion! Ours was a Wagyu Beef nigiri sushi!

      2. Actually when I went to kaji recently, I was surprisingly full after the tasting menu. Btw there are smaller tasting courses for 100 and 80 which are both somewhat substantial if you don't have a huge appetite.

        13 Replies
        1. re: superawesomepossum

          But you can't go all the way out to Kaji without getting the full $120 tasting can you?
          I always tell myself to go for the $100 one since the $120 nearly kills me, but I can't help but wonder what I'd be missing with smaller menu.

          1. re: graydyn

            It's not the food, it's the sake, and if you sit at the sushi bar and play your cards right the river of plum wine and and the other japanese firewater (the name of which always escapes me for some reason) that Kaji-san sends your way.

            1. re: bytepusher

              OK, tell us how to "play your cards right" in order to get more value out of that $120 (or conversely, tell us how not to get ripped off)

              1. re: TexSquared

                Get more value from Kaji San?! Become a regular! Sit at the sushi bar, chat with him, offer him a drink or two, let him know your face! As ancient oriental saying ' throw a brick to attract jade back '!!
                With reputation to uphold, don't think he will 'rip-off' any of his customers!

                1. re: Charles Yu

                  In other words, you have to pay a lot more than $120, just to get $120 worth of food. Gotcha.

                  1. re: TexSquared

                    You do get $120 worth of food when you go the first time. I've never heard of anyone leaving the place hungry. I've been very full from the $100 tasting.

                    A chef giving out bonus courses after a customer develops a rapport with him happens everywhere. Look up the definition of "bonus".

                    Stop trying to turn this into something it isn't.

                    1. re: TexSquared

                      It seems abundantly obvious that people who have a relationship with this establishment, like many others, are privy to a bonus. That doesn't mean the rest of the customers are getting short-changed as you're implying.

                      1. re: jamesm

                        My only 'rip-off' complaint about Kaji: Fake Wasabi

                          1. re: shekamoo

                            Is there a real wasabi root "upgrade" option (like at Zen) or is that only for the "business elite gold medallion frequent flier club" that gets it free without asking (using airline terminology)?

                          2. re: jamesm

                            Not just this restaurant. Regulars at many restaurants get preferential treatment.

                            1. re: Pincus

                              I know, that's why I said, "this establishment, like many others'" It's not unusual or a conspiracy.

              2. Well SAP, your closing comment is truest. I would def recommend eating at Hashimoto.

                It is all pretty much covered in the other posts regarding the topic but they are very different cuisines. Kaji is definitely a chef's tasting menu with contemporary.nouveau flair (credite/footnote to CY's description) and global sensibilities/techniques applied to classic Japanese dishes/foods versus Hashimoto presenting a very 'traditional' menu based on seasonality and a very refined/subtle esthetic.

                I would take Hashimoto over Kaji but Hashimoto has always been more of an occasion restaurant and Kaji almost a drop by sort of place (if I could afford it on a more regular basis).

                Happy eating!

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