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Oct 19, 2013 04:37 PM

Nigiriya Sushi-to-go: A brief first review

With dismal rain spoiling my Saturday, I was in no mood to cook or eat out. As such, I decided to go the take-out route. Noticing an article on this Leaside take out joint featuring a chef who is a wizard with the blowtorch, I opted to kill two birds with one stone by grabbing some pastries from Rahier and Sushi from Nigiriya.

In addition to the take-out option, this micro size place also features about 4-5 tables for dine-in customers.

I selected the 35 pcs, $47 Chef's Choice Platter. Choices offered included, Tuna, Salmon, Ebi Sushi. Rolls of Baked scallop w/truffle salt, Yuzu pepper Salmon, Garlic Butterfish, Crunchy shrimp tempura, House California.

Trying to strike up a conversation with the owner/sushi chef whilst waiting for him to work his magic, I was surprised to find out that he is Korean and that his mentor and previous Japanese owner Ouchi san had recently sold the business to him! Time for Toronto Life to update its article in the dine-out section!!

Overall, this place is no Mikado!! Menu is way too small and limited, featuring only Sushi and Rolls. Apart from Miso soup and Gyoza, no hot food is offered.

Now to the food. LOVED the ginger dressing that goes with the house salad! Nicely seasoned, slightly sweet and not too tart, this is one of the best tasting Japanese salad dressing in town! Should have bought a container from them!

The shari /sushi rice was well cooked and nicely dressed. Raw Neta component of fish and seafood was acceptable but not as pristine fresh as say Zen, Michi, or Aoyama in the same 'Scarborough' vicinity. As for the Rolls, IMO, the exotic description of the various offerings sounded better than the actual taste. Once again, the write-up in Toronto Life was way overboard and exaggerated! May be the student is not as good as the teacher?!

Foodwise, Good?.... A borderline Yes but overpriced?!. But good enough for me to go back? Well....No!

Once again, the search for good sushi continues!!

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  1. Search for good sushi? Why don't you just go to Zen?

    28 Replies
    1. re: justxpete

      Been to Zen too many times. Haven't been to Nigiriya. Advertised as having a Japanese chef manning the sushi counter, therefore curious to give it a try..We won't know until we try. Right?!
      BTW, Zen is good by GTA standard but........

      1. re: Charles Yu

        Was referring to "Once again, the search for good sushi continues!!" - it reads that you don't think you can find good sushi, is all. :)

        1. re: justxpete

          Hi justxpete!
          I guess in a way, I was trying to vent my frustration of not being able to find truly good sushi in town. I'll be satisfied if there is a NYC Sushi Yasuda caliber type place in the GTA, let alone those found in Tokyo.
          Even 'Zen' does not deliver the whole package! I mean fresh grind wasabi root using shark's skin, house brewed soya sauce, perfectly cooked and seasoned Shari served at the right temperature and the chef dressing every individual piece with his own special sauce using a brush.....etc ( followed in some cases with special instructions - no soya sauce, please!! )
          Any sushi place that allows the patron to dunk the morsel into a pool of soya sauce/wasabi mixture and killing the taste profile cannot be called 'good'. Period!!
          No harm hoping!!

          1. re: Charles Yu

            i'm sure you know about the fresh wasabi option at zen...also if you ask, they will brush each piece with their own sauce.

            1. re: grandgourmand

              Indeed, which is why I was a bit confused by Charles statement. Also, "Jackie" does at times brush the nigiri with his own sauce and occasionally instructs you whether you need to or need not use any soy sauce in each instance. I also witnessed him telling someone at an adjoining table not to use too much soy.

              1. re: grandgourmand

                Yes! I am aware of the extra $5 option for fresh wasabi.

                To answer Justxpete comments. Strange and funny it may sound, but of all the close to a dozen times I have eaten at Zen, each and every time was with a group!! We always chose to sit in one of the tatami booths. I have had Omakase(s) there too but never once set at the sushi bar and being served or lectured by Kashiwabara San!!

                1. re: Charles Yu

                  So are you comparing apples to apples then, or apples to oranges?

                  1. re: justxpete

                    More like 'Mandarin'!! Referring to their fluffy soft and yummy dessert sponge cake!! Ha!!

                    1. re: Charles Yu

                      Charles - having Omakase at Zen (sushi bar) on Saturday. Anything you'd like me to ask them?

                      1. re: justxpete

                        Nothing comes to mind right now!
                        Enjoy yourself and have a nice time!

                  2. re: Charles Yu

                    Last time I was there ( over a year ago..maybe close to 2) I was charged 7 or 8 extra for fresh wasabi.

                    1. re: szw

                      I was charged $15 and told by Jackie "not to waste it".


                      1. re: katdog

                        Looks like the way they charge the fresh wasabi depends both on the season and 'customer specific'??!! $5 -$15 is a BIG difference!!

                        1. re: Charles Yu

                          maybe a supply issue at some times? last time i was there, it was $4-$5.

                          but i don't get the "not to waste it" comment, unless it's NOT omakase. for the chef's choice, he adds it, so it's not like you have an option to waste. maybe it was with a set and people get the dollop on the corner.

                          1. re: grandgourmand

                            Methinks Charles should have Omakase at Zen.

                            1. re: justxpete

                              at the bar, anyhow...sounds like he's had it, but only in the tatami booths.

                              1. re: justxpete

                                Methink they will charge be the whopping $15 since to them I am just another slanted eyes Oriental!! Ha!

                                1. re: Charles Yu

                                  You're going for Omakase at the sushi bar next. They won't charge you extra!

                                  1. re: justxpete

                                    So I had fresh wasabi last Saturday with our Omakase. This time they charged us $7pp. I guess it depends on how they're feeling that day - anyway, no matter, I'll gladly pay for it.

                                    1. re: justxpete

                                      At least now I don't feel so bad paying $15 for two!

                              2. re: grandgourmand

                                We had two orders of omakase sashimi and, as Jackie was preparing sushi throughout the evening, orders of whatever nigiri looked interesting.

                                Regardless, even if I slathered the wasabi on my face as a moisturizer, I didn't appreciate the comment or the assumption that we would waste it.

                                Now I pick up my sashimi from Taro, drive over to the LCBO at Bayview Village for my sake, take it home and enjoy.

                                1. re: katdog

                                  "even if I slathered the wasabi on my face as a moisturizer" - lol.

                                  I wouldn't appreciate the comment either (tbh), and would probably offer something in return.

                                  Are you sure he said that, verbatim? Seems uncharacteristic of how he conducts himself.

                                  1. re: justxpete

                                    I could understand why he might say something such as that, though. I've never found a need to adjust his work in the slightest other than a hint of soy sauce. Request fresh wasabi and have him do the work, I say.

                                    1. re: justxpete

                                      Yep, 100% verbatim

                                      Forgive me for going off on a rant here but we were 'regular' customers and often spent quite a bit of money there (the bill for the two of us that evening alone was $389.00) so his comment was even more insulting to me.

                                      1. re: katdog

                                        I can't imagine him saying that and meaning to insult you - are you certain you didn't mishear or misunderstand him? Perhaps he said that, but I doubt the intent was there - maybe he didn't understand the implication? I don't know - given my experiences there and having been served by him on multiple occasions, I have to give him the benefit of doubt.

                                        1. re: justxpete

                                          I agree. I have been going to Zen at least 5+ years and I can't imagine Jackie saying anything that was remotely meant as a slight.

                                          Perhaps he meant to guide you to preserve the taste versus adding too much, ... he's a nice guy and very respectful of his customers. I'd give him the benefit of the doubt as well.

                                          1. re: Apple

                                            I've been going to Zen since 2005 and have been served by Jackie on multiple occasions as well - we like to sit at the two end seats at the bar where he stands.

                                            I will give him the benefit of doubt in regards to his intentions but there was no mistaking or mishearing of what he said....crystal clear... 'don't waste it'.

              2. Ah, I am so disappointed to hear the original Japanese owner has sold it. :(. This was our go to place. I will give it one more try, especially since good sushi (well good food generally) is lacking in this neighbourhood.

                1. $47 for that platter doesn't seem worth it. My go to sushi place is Akane on Hwy. 7 between Leslie and Bayview. Get yourself the small Love Boat and you should be satisfied. No tax for takeout.

                  Quality-wise, it doesn't compare to say Zen, but I find it hard to beat the quality to price ratio.

                  Check it out and let us know what you think.


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