Sushi Couture is a relatively new Japanese restaurant on the Bloor strip of countless other Sushi places in The Annex. I’m usually really reluctant to have “cheap” Japanese food on Bloor since they’re all very mediocre in quality. I heard many positive reviews of Sushi Couture and was finally convinced to give them a try. Sushi Couture is located near Bathurst Station, with tall windows and a sign written in hot pink fancy writing (how couture of them!). The restaurant had a modern and chic design with black tables and white leather chairs. The lights were off during the afternoon and I could hear jazz music playing when I entered the place; how interesting :). There were flowers present in their glass cabinets and red bottles (of something) lined up by the wall. At the back of the restaurant was some sort of fixture/screen with neon pink lighting. Sushi Couture’s design kind of reminded me of Ginza Sushi.
The lady who served me provided excellent service and always had a smile on her face. The only minor complaint I have is that I wasn’t given any water or tea until my food came and I had to ask her about it. I requested for either tea or water but she ended up bringing me both, haha ;). I found the items in their menu to be fairly appealing and their prices were extremely reasonable. I ordered Spicy Salmon maki ($5.99) and Chirashi Sushi ($10.99). I’ve never had Chirashi for less than $15 before so inevitably my expectations were altered here at Sushi Couture. You can’t expect it to be as tasty and memorable as the Chirashi served at Solo Sushi Bekkan or Nami (both owned by Japanese), but what you get here is pretty darn great.
For starters, I had the complimentary miso soup and garden salad. The soup was a little too salty for my taste but I liked their addition of button mushrooms. The Spicy salmon maki had sesame seeds on the outside with salmon, cucumber, diced onions, lettuce, and spicy oil rolled on the inside. I’m telling you, this was one spicy salmon maki all right :D I didn’t like how the maki was so loosely rolled; I had difficulty picking them up in one piece (or perhaps my chopsticks skills failed on me ;)). This was a bit different for me since I’m used to having Spicy Salmon or Tuna rolls with spicy mayo instead of spicy oil.
The Chirashi was unquestionably a fantastic value. This was only $10.99; it’s still mind-blowing to me, haha. The assortment of sashimi were fresh and soft, unlike the ones served at the nearby Japanese restaurants where their sashimi has veins/tissue/membrane (? Not sure which one it is) that would stick to your teeth when you eat them :D I liked how one of the fishies was slightly seared on the outside because it added a touch of smokiness and flavour to the overall dish. A common problem of most Japanese restaurants is their rice preparation. I know it’s really difficult to get it to the right texture but at the same time, it’s so important. It’s especially crucial that the rice is cooked right for Chirashi don since you get lots of it and you can really tell whether it was prepared well or not. Isn’t it astounding how much you can tell about a Chef’s skills when it boils down to the most basic ingredients? Nevermind the sushi cut, the rice itself already makes a statement. Unfortunately the rice here was slightly too stiff and hard; reminded me of regular rice as opposed to sushi rice.
I can understand why so many people recommend Sushi Couture and I’d definitely return for their food. The service is great, the prices are reasonable, and the quality of their sushi/sashimi is wonderful based on what you pay for it. For many of us, it’s not necessary that we have such authentic Japanese food every time we decide to have sushi. It’s okay to pay for half the price; especially if what you get is satisfying enough ;)
PS. I apologize for the lack of pictures in this post. I dropped by quickly to try their food before my appointment. I didn’t feel comfortable taking many pictures with all these pairs of eyes staring at me, haha.
*credits to Yelp for the first photo
456 Bloor Street West
Toronto, ON (416) 538-8618