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Jun 2, 2012 10:41 AM

Azuma = authentic mile end sushi bar!

Can't believe I haven't been sooner... I fought the annoying roadblocks, cyclists, and obnoxious crowds of pot clanging protestors last night for almost 40 minutes just to settle in at this sushi bar on St-Laurent, corner Maguire. I was the only honky gaijin in the room. The chef and all servers are Japanese (unlike most establishments in town) as were all patrons, and the fish was exceptionally fresh!

I had asked the chef to just slice me up a dozen pieces of nigri of his choice, but he somehow misheard or misunderstoof and made me a plate of sashimi instead, so I asked for a side of sticky sushi rice and probably made a fool of myself as he watched me try to assemble my own plate of nigri, dropping rice and wasabi all over the place and fumbling with the chopsticks hah. He then pulled out a giant Maine lobster claw and proceeded to crack it open and pull out heaping chunks of fresh meat. I couldn't resist and asked him to make me some kind of roll with it. He asked whether I wanted a handroll and I eagerly affirmed, but was surprised and slightly disappointed when he handed me a large cone instead. I was expecting a few pieces of maki, but it was delicious nonetheless. Overall, despite not really having sampled any sushi proper, I had a really great and reasonably priced solo dinner ($45 tax incl. for a dozen pieces of sashimi; yellowtail, tuna, mackerel, etc) and I am looking forward to returning next week to get a better taste of the potential that I'm sure this sushi chef has! So far, this is among the better sushi bars I've been to in the city. The fish is fresh, albeit a minimal selection on the menu last night, and the operation is basic and straightforward, which is what I look for in a good sushi bar. No fancy fusion rolls or overpriced novelty menus liek sushi pizza or items of that sort. Great atmosphere too!

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  1. Stopped into Kem Koba on the way back to my car for a mango/chocolate soft cone which was really not very good at all.

    2 Replies
    1. re: OliverB

      I love Azuma! I'm not a sushi expert so can't really say how authentic the sushi is, but I have enjoyed everything I've tried there - sushi and cooked items. Nice calm, comfortable atmosphere and great service, too. I have always understood "hand roll" to mean a cone; I'm not sure what you were expecting. Also, I have to disagree about Kem Coba - I love that place too, although I will admit that chocolate-mango soft-serve is not quite as good as the mango-coconut combo I seem to remember from last year.

      1. re: stak

        Yes, a hand roll or temaki is cone-shaped and eaten with your hands, hence the name.

    2. I did not have a good experience with Azuma. The cooked stuff is not as good as Furusato. At least it's not horrible like Zen-Ya.

      3 Replies
      1. re: marblebag

        Not sure but I didn't order any cooked stuff... are you talking about the fish/sushi or did you order off the a la carte menu for teriyaki and stuff? I would only go to sushi bars for the raw fish anyway.

        1. re: OliverB

          Chicken Kara-age is supposd to be fried chicken wing but I received frozen chicken nuggets. Agedashi tofu is worse than Zen-ya's if you can believe it. The unagi was chewy, the tamago was better in the freezer at Chinatown.

          1. re: marblebag

            Chicken kara age is usually made with boneless chicken. I've never seen it made with wings. Japanese food and messy eating don't normally go together.

      2. What do you mean by "exceptionally fresh" compared to other place?

        1 Reply
        1. re: maj54us

          Just what I say... the toro and yellowfin tasted extremely fresh and not like it spent 2 days thawing from a freezer.

          I can't comment on the menu items as I didn't order any but it's possible and likely that this isn't their strong point.