kingyo izakaya in Cabbagetown
Just a quick share regarding my first experience here...I don't have a huge frame of reference, having only visited Guu on Church Street, so keep that in mind! What we ordered: bbq pork salad roll, soft shell crab salad, jumbo prawns with spicy mayo, chicken karage (?) and calamari..oh yeah, and 2 perfect pints of Sapporo each. Total bill with tax and tip was about 70.00. My bad for ordereing too much fried food - I had forgotten my glasses at home and couldn't see the menu that well..being hugry and irritated I chose rather too quickly.
Food - everything was beautifully presented and tasted very fresh (despite being deep fried!). We enjoyed all of our dishes..the salad roll was particularly good and the calamari, at about 7.00 was a huge bargin! Very lightly battered, tender, large portion..not at all greasy. I look forward to trying their hot pots, sashimi and sushi most definitely! My husband tried to ask our poor server if they would consider showing football on sundays so he could come in for pints, calamari and the chicken karage dish...
the space - large with very comfortable banquette seating as well as tables/chairs..Ii suspect it would get quite noisy on a busy night (it was over half full when we left on a Wednesday about about 7pm)
Service - oh, I am a sucker for a sweet server with a cute smile. So polite, many do not have excellent English, but somehow this makes them cuter..absolutely NO attitude just warm and gracious..they even walked us to the door on the way out (though perhaps this was due to the football comment..)
So happy to have another midweek spot to eat in my area..apparently they will be changing the menu every 3-4 months! Go!
I went on New Year's Eve and thought it was quite good. I can see how some people already put it on the "best of 2012" list. Sharing a few photos:
2. vegetarian 10 dish medley (apparently limited quantities?)
3. tajima beef cooked on hot stone. Was not hot enough for the last few pieces and needed them to get us another stone. The beef was very good as would be expected
4. sashimi platter (medium size)
edit: wanted to add, it was fairly quiet that evening, maybe 40% full, loved the doraemon anime being shown on big screen, more comfortable space than guu. Also ordered black cod (gindara), cooked to perfect texture and sauce was good, but a bit overpriced relative to Guu. Their signature Kingyo drink was ok, perhaps lacking in alcohol content.
I was there with a group of friends several Saturdays ago and it was also a positive experience. Having been to both locations of Guu and Don Don numerous times, I think Kingyo compares well and is perhaps a little more "refined" and adult than the others in terms of service, decor and food presentation. I don't remember all the dishes we ordered but everything was enjoyable save for the beef tongue we had to self-cook on a hot rock: it was hard to share and tasted, well, tongue-y for lack of a better description. The service is very attentive, we also got walked to the door and wished a good night when we left.