Kirei Sushi + Bar
Went with friends who wanted to try out the new Japanese restaurant on Queen and Lombard (where Ivory Thai used to be), but when I saw it said "Kirei Sushi + Bar" my expectations just plummeted. The wait staff are all non-asian, when I ordered the chawan mushi he didn't know what it was although it's on the menu. Well the chawan was the runniest I've even had, it was so unsubstantial all the seafood (mind you a good amount of it) sank to the bottom and the mushroom bits floated to the top, and it was like eating soup. Decided to be brave and ordered the sashimi platter. The white tuna, tuna, salmon, fluke and maguro were all SEARED - the tuna all around, the rest on one side. The fluke and salmon were almost half cooked (and came with skin). I don't think any certified sushi chef would ever serve them that way without mentioning "tataki". They did taste ok except the one piece of amaebi which was probably frozen too long.
My friends fared better, the gyoza (made in-house), edamame, spicy chicken and beef teriyaki were good. (Yes you can screw up edamame by boiling them too much or not put enough salt on.) Just don't get the sashimi if you go there.
Definitely a bar vibe and quite a few young couples on a hot date.
My partner and I went to Kirei Sushi tonight and we absolutely loved it. We were somewhat anxious at first; one does get the impression that they have opened recently and are still trying to find their niche (case in point: they give three complementary amuse-bouches which were a bit sad). But once the food started arriving, we perked up. For appetizer, I would suggest the homemade gyoza (crispy on the bottom, satiny elsewhere, with a luscious filling) and the agedashi tofu (addictive). The sushi deluxe was truly a work of art; superbly fresh fish, beautifully presented, with some interesting touches (such as a wafer-thin slice of fried lotus root). Very friendly service, good cocktails, and a lovely Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc by the glass). And don't forget the black sesame ice cream for dessert.
We will return. I really hope this restaurant takes off and flies. True, it's somewhat more expensive than your average sushi joint in downtown Toronto, but it's also way better (even the rice, pickled ginger, and wasabi outshine the rest). Definitely for those who want a dining experience and not just sushi on the run.
The wife and I went there tonight for dinner and we were pleasantly surprised. The decor was really nice and the service was very attentive. A mix between Nami and (a smaller) Ki. We sat at the sushi bar and had a sushi and sashimi dinner. I was surprised at the different selection of fish that was available. Overall the freshness was good and we both liked the taste. The rice was good, but I have had better. It reminded us a little bit of Ajisai Sushi Bar in Vancouver. Not the same old boring Toronto sushi dinner. Definitely one of the better options in the neighbourhood.