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Nov 13, 2011 09:27 PM

Sushi Kaji Review

1)Lobster salad accompanied by deep-fried shrimp heads. In the salad there was lobster (of course), mushrooms, carrots and a citrus-like sauce. Both the shrimp heads and salad were nothing special.

2)Chilled braised eggplant. This was surprisingly good considering that I would not find anything spectacular about a piece of eggplant. The sweet sauce and crunchy onions matched well with the soft and chilled eggplant.

3)Sashimi platter and tuna tartare. The lobster, sea bream, trout, octopus and tuna were impeccably fresh, the freshest sashimi I've had in Toronto. Freshly grated wasabi adds a mild bite. The tuna tartare was outstanding. The textures were balanced perfectly: the softness of the tuna, slight liquid from the raw quail's egg and the somewhat crunchy daikon radish.

4)Steamed fish and sticky rice in broth. This dish was something I've never had before and I enjoyed it. The sweet broth blended nicely with the warm sticky rice and steamed fish.

5)Tempura platter including asparagus, shrimp, pumpkin and onion. The batter for the tempura was outstanding and I enjoyed the salt and pepper seasoning they used, which was comparable to the Cantonese-style one.

6) Braised black cod and shrimp croquette. The black cod was absolutely delicious, unbelievably fresh and accented slightly some sweet flavors. The croquette was nothing special, I wish the sweet potato in the center and croquette itself was warmer. The garnishes (shrimp paste stuffed pepper and gonzo beans) were average.

7)Sushi course with lobster miso soup. The lobster miso soup was pretty good but not outstanding. It basically was a miso soup with a bit more sweetness and flavor due to the addition of lobster. The nigiri course which consisted of Toro, Trout, Charbroiled tuna with ginger sauce, BBQ eel nigiri, Uni & salmon roe gunkan maki, squid nigiri, BBQ eel, tuna tartare and uni on top of rice and sweet shrimp sashimi with salmon roe eggs were easily the freshest fish I've had in Toronto.

8)Fruit salad and strawberry mochi. Nothing outstanding here, the fruit salad was basically fruit in a sugary syrup and the mochi was decent, didn't seem store-bought.

The service at Sushi Kaji was second to none. The staff were very polite and friendly. You could tell as soon as you entered the restaurant, the waiters would take your jackets and present you the menu. Throughout the courses, the waiters would always present you the food with a smile and describe what it was and how to eat it. Another important detail was that they always knew when to refill your green tea, which was very good by the way. The chefs at Sushi Kaji are hilarious. Mitsuhiro Kaji is practically a stand-up comedian with his funny gestures, which included the comedic slapping of an apprentice when the apprentice dropped the plates loudly on the counter, and playful teasing of customers, especially when he personally presents you his hand rolls. His apprentices were funny as well and very informative, answering any questions we had about the food and even going as far to show us how real wasabi was made when my friends and I were discussing it. The staff as a whole always asked how everything was and Kaji himself was kind enough to ask us if we were full or not and offering extra sushi at no additional cost.

As a whole, Sushi Kaji is home to a heart-warming staff and the best Japanese food in Toronto. The price I paid at the end of the meal was reasonable because of the great experience and atmosphere of the restaurant, and the very authentic and delicious Japanese food.

Sushi Kaji
860 The Queensway, Toronto, ON M8Z1N7, CA

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  1. Nice review, Was this before or after the renovations?

    1 Reply
    1. re: petek

      Thanks! It was my first one on chowhound. This was after the renovations. I miss the fish sign they had before :(

    2. What was the price? " Reasonable" doesn't mean anything to me. Unfortunately they were still closed for renovations when I drove out there a few weeks ago.

      9 Replies
      1. re: foodyDudey

        I'm pretty sure they're open now.I work about 3 doors east of Kaji..

        1. re: petek

          Yes they are, they were working inside on the Saturday evening I dropped in and said they would be open on Wednesday and that was about 2 weeks ago.

        2. re: foodyDudey

          We got Takumi, the most expensive tasting menu which is $120 per person. The total bill ended up being $406.80, no drinks. Unfortunately I'm a minor and couldn't order sake!!! Dudey, I would highly recommend this place if you really love Japanese food and want to have an authentic Japanese sushi-bar style dining experience. I've been to Japan before and this is as close as you can get without physically going there. On the other hand, if you are used to eating at "all you can eat" type sushi places, this might not be in your zone.

          1. re: KChow93

            You're a minor...and this is your review?!? Outstanding! Thanks for sharing. Kaji happens to be my very favourite resto in Toronto.

            1. re: justsayn

              LOL thanks a lot. I've been fortunate enough to be born into the lucky sperm club and have been spoiled with trips to other countries where I was able to try different kinds of food. My family also loves to eat, so that's a factor as well. Yes, Kaji is now my favourite restaurant in Toronto as well! I can't wait until I save up enough cash to go again!

              1. re: KChow93

                Most important detail to me anyway. Was this your first visit to Kaji or are you a regular? And if it was your first visit, were you accompanied by regulars?

                That way I know if you got the standard service or the "elite medallion club frequent flier" free upgrade package.

                1. re: TexSquared

                  It was my first visit to Kaji and I went with my friends, who aren't regulars. I think I was just really lucky, maybe Chef Kaji was just extra nice to us because we were minors...? I made sure to tip extra because he did not charge for the addition sushi.

            2. re: KChow93

              I'm going to make it over there one of these days. It's taken so long as it's out of the way, but now I see I can drive there in about 20 minutes if traffic is good.
              The good old LSC, that's one of the best clubs to be in.

              1. re: foodyDudey

                Awesome! Can't wait for you review :D

          2. Also, I'll post the food pics when I get time...

            1. Here's the promised food porn :)

              4 Replies
              1. re: KChow93

                Just a small 'minor' addition. The Takumi Omakese I had there just before their renovation, I was actually served a 'meat' dish! A pseudo surf $ Turf with veal medallion paired with head on Bontan prawn.

                1. re: KChow93

                  These photos are great. Would you be able to post a few captions/descriptions for those of us not familiar with omakase?

                  1. re: merlot143

                    The order I reviewed the dishes should be in sync with the photos. If you have trouble then I'll be happy to post captions once I get time :)

                    1. re: KChow93

                      More food porn....Kaji's easily the favourite sushi place for my wife and myself for special occasions. Really love Hashimoto's when we could afford it. I recall finding out about those places from perusing J. Kates critiques in the globe decades ago.

                      I have no recollection of the specific dishes below, other than that we've eaten at Kaji around ten times over the decades and always found their dishes light, flavourful and well proportioned.

                2. The original comment has been removed