Quest for the Best – Sushi
Not just a restaurant, not just dinner… An EXPERIENCE!!!
“Let me get this right,” asked the Uber driver. “You are in Downtown Toronto and I am taking you out to Etobicoke for dinner?” Right?
We are just a couple of winos, foodie friends that have similar tastes and we know what we like. Not experts by any stretch but we know that we like Sushi Kaji – a lot!!!
On the quest for the Best Sushi in Toronto, both Kat and I were surprised to learn of the dubious distinction that Sushi Kaji has garnered. Located in an unassuming strip mall on the Queensway, between Royal York Rd. and Islington in Etobicoke, minutes from where I spent almost half of my life – who would have thought?!
A man with a craft, owner Mitsuhiro Kaji has been making sushi since he was 13 years old and strategically apprenticed under a number of master chef’s in order to capture many different styles and techniques.
Kaji is very picky and methodical in the preparation and presentation of your meal, believing that Japanese food is very sensuous and that making fine sushi demands not only a lot of training but also a gentle, sparing care.
Said Kaji, “A common mistake is to over handle the ingredients because the hand is warm, the rice is warm, but the fish is cool, and touching the food dramatically blends the temperature of the ingredients, often ruining its texture and taste. He also believes the secret of good sushi is to always select the best ingredients, and never compromise on quality.”
Fresh is always best! Fish comes strictly from Tokyo Bay within 24 hours of being caught and is never stored over night. Rice, vegetables, garnishes and condiments are exclusively imported from Japan.
Sushi Kaji is a quaint spot with only 30 seats available each evening. Reservations are highly recommended.
The Menu might be considered limited by other restaurant standards.
If you are looking for California Rolls and Teriyaki Bowls… THIS IS NOT YOUR PLACE!
Want the real deal in Japanese food culture – THIS IS YOUR PLACE!!!!
Daily Chef Kaji delivers his own creations using ingredients selected for availability, quality, and freshness. There is no ‘a la carte’ menu. Some might consider the portions lean – we found that we were more than satisfied.
The Sushi Kaji experience does come with a price tag that some will consider excessive at first glance. The good news is that you may bring your wine with a small corkage fee applied.
A special evening deserves some special wine, and it never hurts to start with some bubbles.
The bubbles we won’t go into detail about, it was the last of my Cordillera Sparkling Pinot Noir. One of my all-time favorites that is no longer available.
We knew that there was definitely going to be some fish for dinner on this evening but really had no idea of what we were in store for. We both love our Pinot Noir, no better wine to bring that is suitable for almost any food pairings.
Pinot Noir is a fascinating wine, elegant and without a doubt, the most romanticized red wine in the world. Typically light to medium bodied, often bold in flavour with fruit-forward character, with strawberry, cherry, raspberry, and blackberry dominating the palate.
That is why it’s a favourite the world over.
For our meal, you have three menu options which include: Appetizer, Sashimi, Seasonal Dishes, Kaji Selection of Sushi, and Dessert.
Consider it like a Kaji Tasting Course, per person:
- TAKUMI — $140
- WAZA — $160
- SHUN — $190
Kaji came to Canada in the 80’s, and over the intervening years has opened eight different sushi restaurants in the city. In May of 2000 he finally found the opportunity to open his ideal restaurant — Sushi Kaji.
I think we can consider Kaji a Master himself. Dine at the Sushi Bar and you will find that he is a bit of an entertainer as well.
I will be in anticipation of my next visit!
Check it out for yourself: www.sushikaji.com
Wine for the night:
Belle Glos Las Alturas Vineyard Pinot Noir 2015, California – $59.95
Bold to the nose, bold in colour and bold in taste might be the best way to describe this Pinot. Smooth, silky and dry, dominated by blackberry, cherry, and a spicy moca.
Bet you can’t have just one glass!
Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2015, California – $40.00
From an award winning family of wines. Beautiful, dark ruby red color, intense blackberry fruit aromas, a touch of vanilla and a boldness from black cherry and red berries. Long smooth finish!