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Mar 13, 2012 06:46 AM

Is there one great Japanese restaurant where the decor, lighting, and service reflect that?

Decor and lighting eliminates Zen and Kaji. Note to Zen: If I wanted to perform surgery on my sushi, you'd be the first place I'd pick. Dim the lights already.

Good eliminates Nami and Ki. I took a look at the Blowfish Bay St menu, but it made me wanna gouge my eyes out to make the cliches stop.


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  1. Japango has a certain je ne sais quoi.

    1. Yuzu? Sushi there is along the lines of John Lee (Omi) styles that I believe you enjoy. Haven't been in a few months though. Yuzu was consistent for the time I was going there almost weekly (2 years?)... I don't know if it would qualify as truly great though. Good, yes. Sometimes great.

      236 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5H1W7, CA

      3 Replies
      1. re: jlunar

        I agree with Yuzu, I had a great dinner there. Really good service and it's pretty nice in there. I sat at the tables directly across from the sushi bar and my only small negative was that the tables are so close together when they're separated into single tables that I felt I was having dinner w my neighbours to the left and right of me. We were definitely eavesdropping on each other's conversations all night so it wouldn't be so romantic if that's what you're also looking for.

        Guu is definitely fun for big groups so you can order a billion things and the decor is cool.

        Izakaya Ju has alright food (some hits and some misses) and feels authentic but I'd say the room is pretty plain and sparse. Giant shower curtain entrance and cute plastic hearts over track lighting doesn't seem to fit your decor and lighting req.

        1. re: sumashi

          Plastic hearts over track lighting sounds AWEsome. Really.

          1. re: Googs

            Well in that case maybe you SHOULD check it out lol. The dishes that the people I went with liked were 1) maguro zuke-don, it's only on the lunch menu but I asked for it at dinner and they said yes 2) gindara 3) gyu tongue 4) BC tuna sashimi 5) osaka fried rice

      2. Kaiseki Yu-Zen Hashimoto is great for food (presentation and taste) and service (including the tea ceremony). It isn't stunning for decor though, so I don't know if it meets what you are looking for.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Dr. John

          At $400 per person (including tax, tip and drink) I'd rather fly to Japan. Who's with me?

          1. re: Food Tourist

            I'm on board Food Tourist. While I'm sure it's fantastic, $400 for what's behind door #2 doesn't really appeal to me.

        2. Would anyone know how Yuzu compares with Mikado? Would either be capable of a sustainable sushi omakase?

          Though I love it, Japanese may include, but isn't limited to sushi restaurants. What about any of the izakayas? Less formal sure, but at least it hasn't been McBistro'd yet. I'm thinking specifically of Guu SakaBar and Izakaya Ju. I'd be willing to trade decor for fun. Not that Japanese isn't fun in the first place what with all the eating with your hands and sharing. Maybe not in that order.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Googs

            For decor, Guu wins. Then Fin. Then Ju. Taste-wise, I find Fin slightly better than Guu. I didn't have a good experience at Ju, but it's been a long time. I know there are people here who enjoy it. Fin is usually my top choice - less noisy/boisterous than Guu.

            1. re: Googs

              For funfactor I think guu >>>> all, currently.

              1. re: szw

                Would totally agree with that. Guu has the most lively environment!

            2. Kaji - before or after their renovation??!!

              3 Replies
              1. re: Charles Yu

                Granted it's been so long since I've Kaji'd that I haven't even seen the renos. Shame on me I know, but it's far. Really, really far for me. Zen's simplicity is more my style most days anyway.

                Charles Yu, I was kinda hoping you might share your opinion on how the local izakayas compare.

                1. re: Googs

                  Izakayas comparison? Food or atmosphere?!
                  Personally. I prefer the food of the J-Town one to all the rest. Not much of a fan of Guu and the one on Eglington. IMO, just like Indian food. Tons of outfits but nothing outstanding!

                  1. re: Charles Yu

                    Compared by food which, I suppose, you just did. I sorta figured it'd be like that with izakayas as it is with any other type of restaurant or art form of any kind for that matter. So many try, only so many succeed.