Sushi Kaji is praised as one of the best sushi restaurants in the city, and I can certainly see why. Both my brother and I had wanted to visit for quite some time now, but it’s not exactly inexpensive. Two months ago, my brother suggested that we go for my birthday, so I was finally able to try Sushi Kaji! I was ecstatic.
Strangely, Sushi Kaji is located in Etobicoke, and in an area that you would least expect to find such a great Japanese restaurant. It sort of reminded me of Le Cafe Michi, although I personally think that Cafe Michi is overpriced :D I called to make the reservations and ensured we would be seated at the sushi bar, where all the exciting action took place.
The staff was really friendly and attentive, and Mr. Kaji himself was very funny. He didn’t mind all my photo taking, and in fact, encouraged it. Some of the photos didn’t turn out too well because the food was glistening in the light, haha. I wish I could’ve done the delicious food some more justice!
For those unaware, omakase (Chef’s tasting menu) is the only option available at Sushi Kaji. We ordered both the Waza ($100) and Takumi ($120) so that we could try everything. I, of course, had the honour of experiencing the Takumi menu, which will be described below!
1. Daikon Radish Cake – stuffed w/ braised pork belly
The cake itself was warm and soft, with fine pieces of braised pork belly inside. On top was a thin, crispy piece of lotus root that contrasted the somewhat mushy filling and the savoury, viscous sauce underneath. Due to the fat content, the delicate daikon was a great vehicle for the pork belly. So tasty and unique, I was impressed so far.
2. Trio of Appetizers – Sesame tofu, bamboo shoots & spinach w/ sesame
To be honest, this plate was a bit of a let down for me. I didn’t find anything special, although it was something light to prepare me for the heavier plates to come. The sesame tofu was a surprise to me. I expected it to be silky smooth, but instead it was grainy and slightly firm. The bamboo shoots were grilled and came with three different sauces. The spinach was presented simply in a light, mild broth.
Yes! Now we’re talkin’. I was given a wide variety of fresh sashimi that melted in my mouth – literally. They were all memorable – each and every single one of them. It should be a crime for food to taste this great. We’ll be left forever tortured with the desire to come back and taste their incredible sashimi again!
Plate of assorted sashimi – ocean trout, amberjack, red snapper & lobster w/ sesame sauce
Flounder w/ plum soy sauce
Octopus w/ vinegar jelly, cucumber & seaweed
4. Taro and Lily Bulb Manju
A little chewy and mushy, the manju was interesting. A decorative sakura (cherry blossom) on top added a hint of saltiness and fragrance to the dish. The flavours and textures that comprised this plate are hard to describe, with not much of a contextural contrast and a mild flavour that consisted of both sweet and savory.
5. Sea Eel Tempura
Served along with the sea eel were the common red and yellow bell peppers, and a Japanese pepper that looked spicy but tasted sweet. The batter was light and not greasy, and the sauce reminded me of hoisin.
6. Crab served with egg yolk sauce grilled in the shell
Although delectable, I struggled a bit distinguishing the crab from the other ingredients. The mushrooms, onions, and bamboo shoots were all great, but I would’ve liked it if I could taste the actual crab more. On the soup spoon rested pieces of fried duck and a side of fish cakes.
7. Assorted sushi & noodle
I had no idea we would be served so many types of sushi, so I was indeed one happy camper. Again, they all tasted fresh and were mind-blowing, but the sinful toro was hard to beat. Despite the fattiness of it, I’m head over heels in love with toro!
Eel, tuna, tuna belly, scallop, lobster, fluke, salmon, etc…
Green tea noodles in a light broth with mountain potato. Even though the green tea flavour was subtle and the overall dish was “simple”, I found it quite enjoyable. It’s nothing to be in awe about like the sushi, but it was still delightful.
My dessert was a bowl of fruits & jelly and a semi-frozen wasabi macaron. Refreshing although nothing special. I’m not sure why the macaron needed to be borderline frozen, but it messes with the wonderful texture that distinguishes the macaron from any other confection. Oh well, at least the wasabi flavour wasn’t overpowering. I preferred the yuzu macaron that my brother got.
1. Daikon radish w/ chicken miso sauce
2. Vinegarred eel rolled w/ egg crepe & marinated chicken
3. Sashimi (same as above)
4. Shrimp Tempura
5. Sauteed monk fish w/ burdock roots sauce
6. Sushi & Noodle (same as above)
Sushi Kaji really did manage to blow me away with their fresh sashimi/sushi and their execution for the most part. I have to agree that they have some of the best sushi in the city, but of course, it comes with a price tag. Their fish, rice, vegetables and even garnishes are flown in from Japan, reflecting their strict use of only fresh, high quality ingredients. If you’re looking for authentic Japanese food in the GTA, then you have to give Sushi Kaji a visit. Oh boy, you don’t know what you’re missing ;D
860 The Queensway
Etobicoke, ON M8Z 1N7