Address: 135 York Blvd, Richmond Hill, ON L4B 3B4
Phone: (905) 763-5757
Tsuki Izakaya first store is on Yonge Street and I am unsure if it is still there. I discovered this new location in Richmond Hill, at the same East Bever Creek restaurant complex as the well known chain restaurants, ie. The Keg, Jack Astors, Marlows etc. This is the only Japanese restaurant but one of four Asian ones. This gives everyone an extra option to choose from in the mixture and also shows the multicultural fusion within Toronto.
This complex is always busy regardless of time and day. We had a gathering at Tsuki on Saturday at 7 pm and had a brief wait for our table of six. The restaurant was not overly busy, with a few empty tables of four and two. We were given a booth that had enough space for six and literally nothing more. Thank heavens we were all small and skinny, otherwise, I would be clueless to how we were going to fit in. Nonetheless, it was still a bit tight. As the evening went on, the restaurant gradually got busier. After all, this is still an izakaya, a Japanese style bar, where you can still watch your sport games or enjoy a sake or beer.
The restaurant, like other Japanese eateries, was typically decorated with wood panels, wood tables and wood stools. It is also common to have empty sake alcohol bottles lined on the walls for decoration. It helps with advertising the restaurant’s available alcohol.
Complimentary cold noodles was given to everyone. The broth was clear and simple, with a hint of seaweed and miso flavour.
Tako Wasabi ($4) is octopus with chopped wasabi stem on bed of sliced onion, served with dried seaweed. The octopus was fresh and very chewy, paired with a zing from the wasabi. It was not spicy nor hot, but it had some amount of burning effect. I overall liked this dish because it was very refreshing and felt like I was eating sushi when wrapped with the dried seaweed.
Salmon Tataki ($12) is lightly seared salmon sashimi with ponzu, oroshi sauce and cashew bits. This dish tasted exactly like seared ahi tuna. In fact, we were staring at the colour of the sashimi wondering if this is salmon or not because it appeared more red than usual. The texture was soft and juicy, extremely fresh. It was thinly sliced so it can retain more of the flavourful sauce and also to make each bite easier. The ponzo sauce was sweet and sour, quite zesty, a strong citrus essence.
Buttered Squid ($9) is quite explanatory, squid grilled with butter and soy sauce. The squid was done just right, chewy and not rubbery. The tips and the tentacles were a bit tougher than the tube portion. The taste of the squid was simple and lightly salted. The butter flavours were nonexistent, probably overrun by the soy sauce. Some may find it bland but it really depends on your preference. I do like my food lightly salted, therefore, I enjoyed this squid quite thoroughly.
Seafood Nooroongi ($12) is seafood and rice in egg dropped soy base broth. I treated this as a stew in a hot pot, where you mix everything together and drain every drop down till it was empty. It was a thick broth and the rice was like a fried rice crisp or cake. You had to submerge the rice into the broth to soften it up. As time gradually got longer, the broth became more liquefied from the rice absorption. I enjoyed this stew a lot because the stew had little amounts of salt. Therefore, the taste was clean, and the seafood was chewy, even though it was probably prepackaged freezer style, and had a lot of vegetables in it, keeping it fresh and healthy.
Seafood Pancake ($12) os made with seafood and vegetable pan fried with egg batter. They served it with a spicy chili soy sauce on the side. The pancake was pan fried perfectly, where the egg had a bit of the charcoal crust on it, ensuring us that it was fully cooked and had a crunchy surface. It was loaded with green onions, hence, it offered an aromatic sweet flavour. The seafood was chopped into smaller bite sizes and for even mixture of the batter. The pancake texture was very consistent throughout.
Pork Kimchi Duruchigi ($14) is kimchi, pork and vegetables stir fried with hot sauce and garlic, topped with cheese. The pork was tender and juicy, all evenly wrapped in the hot sauce and kimchi. The sauce and the kimchi, made the dish outstanding or more interesting from the spicy zing it provided. The vegetables which where not fully cooked or half raw, was used a condiment or a prop to rest the pork on. But I liked the crispiness or crunchiness when you ate it with the pork because it takes away some of the spiciness, making the dish more manageable.
Mangetsu Sashimi Combo ($46) is a 46 pieces of sashimi platter of salmon (sake), scallops (hotate), sweet shrimp (amaebi), surf clam (hokkigai), tuna (maguro), mackerel (saba), ika (squid), flounder and hamachi. The sashimi was extremely fresh, sweet and juicy. The selection of sashimi depends on their daily supplier and catch. What I had most likely will not be the same as what you had. This just gives you an example of what you will be expecting. And, I definitely think this platter was awesome!
Izakaya Tsuki is a great place to have a good Japanese food fix, especially if you are in the area. Their food is as good as other iazkayas in the city but not as far as travelling to Downtown Toronto for it. Also, it is a wrong to think Downtown will always have the best food or best Japanese izakaya. I do recommend trying this restaurant and I am already thinking of ordering a platter of sashimi as I am writing this.