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Le Cafe Michi or Zen for better sashimi in Scarborough

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I have read many posts/reviews on these restaurants but have yet to visit either. I am thinking about trying Le Cafe Michi for a birthday omakase dinner this weekend. Anyone been to BOTH restaurants and can comment? I'm interested in the quality of their fish, not rolls and other a la carte items. Thanks!

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  1. Zen for omakase, sit at the bar.

    Le Cafe Michi for chirashi and desserts.

    5 Replies
    1. re: aser

      Thanks for your input. There are just too many "rave" reviews out there from diners who only appreciate tempura, rolls and udons. I can't even tell you how many unhelpful reviews I've plowed through that mention "freshest fish ever!" with no input on what types of fish were served.

      1. re: insearchofflavor

        I had the omakase sashimi at Zen on Saturday night and paid the surcharge for the fresh wasabi. On the plate were scallops (so creamy), fluke with a dab of lemon zest, sweet shrimp, tuna, amberjack, horse mackeral - mixed with finely diced green onions and ginger, and tuna belly. I might be missing something else, can't think of it. We ordered additional pieces of the tuna belly and amberjack and, what I love about sitting at the bar, asked for whatever he felt like making . He made a roll with eel and a sweet type of sauce which I found meh, and some sort of fish that I can't remember drizzled with lime juice and a pinch of salt - that was great.

        I'm no sashimi expert by any means but imo you cannot beat Zen for freshness and melt-in-your-mouth pieces of heaven. It's worth the price and, getting off topic a bit, I hope they don't move as I'm sure their overhead is quite reasonable. It came up in conversation with one of the waitresses and she said that there were no plans to relocate in the near future.

        1. re: katdog

          Did they left out the Mirugai ( Geoduck clams ) and Uni ( Sea Urchins )? If so, there's a little 'rip-off' scenario here?!!! Every time I ate there, those two items are always included in the Omakase!!!

          1. re: Charles Yu

            My taste buds don't appreciate either so they don't prepare it for me. You did jog my memory a bit though Charles - octopus was also on my plate.
            One of the carte blanche pieces they made, and I'm probably butchering the name, was matsu (?) seared with the blow torch - to die for.

            1. re: katdog

              Ah!! Pity!!

    2. Zen for quality and better/more varied selection of seafood/fish for the nigiri sushi 'neta' and sashimi

      Cafe Michi for better 'value for money'. The complimentary dessert/cakes at the end is a plus!

      9 Replies
      1. re: Charles Yu

        Now that the OP has reached a conclusion, I'll do a small hijacking.

        I haven't been to Michi yet. I like to try new things whenever I omakase anywhere. That's half the fun. Are you suggesting I wouldn't experience anything new at Michi?

        1. re: Googs

          Michi generally has the more standard cuts. The quality is consistently good, but you're not going to find many surprises in the fish selection. The surprise will lie in their desserts, take this from someone that doesn't have much of a sweet tooth, it's good.

          If you're looking for more specialized sourcing of fish, Zen wins.

          1. re: Googs

            Zen is definitely more specialized for sure. Michi however, with regards to the Chirashi Don which in my opinion is the thing to get, has often really surprised me in terms of ingredients.

            In the past I have had Engawa, Hotaru Ika, Mirugai, and Akagai, just to name a few. I've also had 5 different variety's of Shiso grown by the sushi chef, and wasabi stems there as well.

            I love Zen don't get me wrong but I have to say that I have an equally soft spot in my heart for Michi as well.

            And as per everyone else's comments their english trifle made fresh daily is incredible.

            1. re: Notorious P.I.G.

              I'm more savoury than sweet so desserts aren't really my thing. Five types of shiso sounds exciting. Now that stuff I could eat like candy. Does chef have that all the time?

              1. re: Googs

                I'm in the same boat as you, def a savoury person.

                I rarely order desserts at restaurants, but I always order desserts at LCM, it's that good.

                Didn't know that about the shiso, I'll leave that for n.pig to answer.

                1. re: aser

                  The delicious dessert cakes are apparently made by a neighbor/friend of one of the sibling owners. Yumi (?) is a baker, but usually outsources this task. I find the cakes at the J-town bakery to be of similar quality.

                  1. re: T Long

                    But just to clarify, Yumi makes the English Trifle with fresh fruit herself.

                    1. re: Notorious P.I.G.

                      Thanks for the clarification...that makes sense.

                2. re: Googs

                  Sorry to be more specific, the sushi chef grows his own shiso, 5 different varietals and what you usually find on the Chirashi is a leaf, plus different kinds of Shiso buds/flowers/sprouts.

                  So good. I love that place. Their Nabe dishes aren't bad either.

          2. I live in scarborough and have been to both, definitely agreed with Charles

            Zen has a very wide variety of fish compared to Michi and is a unique experience in my opinion.

            Michi has more 'basic' fish but quality is definitely still good. Chirashi is a must here, desserts are great as well.

            If your party is open to new tastes and experiences, i'd definitely recommend Zen. If you need to stick to basic fish, then Michi. Quality is great at both places, I say Zen might be a bit better than Michi

            1. Thanks, everyone for the input! Reservation made at the bar for tomorrow night, 1 nigiri omakase and 1 sashimi omakase. Will report back with photos later this week.