Monthly Archives: August 2016

Soba Canada = Ichiriki Japanese Restaurant

Address: 120 Bloor Street East. Unit 103.  Toronto, ON M4W 1B7
Phone: (416) 436-7997

Please be advised, this review is only on Soba Canada, not Ichiriki.

Soba Canada only opens on Tuesday evenings at Ichiriki Japanese Restaurant.  Call ahead to make sure they are opened.  I was told the owner has the restaurant sublet to the soba maker to spread the health benefits of buckwheat noodle and to show Japanese cuisine has other varieties than just sushi, iazakaya tapas, udon and sashimi.  It is nice to know there is a eatery that is dedicated to only soba.

Located in the heart of Toronto, on Bloor and Yonge intersection, surrounded by numerous corporate companies, majority of the clientele come from employees or whitenecks of these local corporates.  Lunchtime is the busiest moment of the day, when there is a high concentration of people around the strip.  At the end of a working day, everyone rushes to go home, therefore, dinner is usually quiet.  Therefore, I was not surprised to see just six tables occupied when I went to try the soba.

The soba noodles are handmade the day of and to order, with ingredients – flour, water – shipped freshly from Japan.  Waiting for the food or service can be long bcause of the kneading and cooking process.  The waitress sometimes disappeared to assist the chef in the kitchen.  Our bowls of soba took a minimum of thirty minutes to arrive.  Do expect waits or delays.  Is it worth it?  Yes!

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Chirashi Soba ($21.00) is a mixture of shrimp, roe, strips of pan fried egg, cucumber resting on top of cold soba in tsuyu sauce, topped with seaweed, green onions.  This was scrumptious, like eating a salad, very fresh and crunchy.  It was a very light and clean combination.  Nothing can go wrong.

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Oboro Soba ($19.00) is a cold soba noodle in Tsuyu sauce, topped with oboro tofu and minced green onion.  Their oboro tofu is made using only natural grown organic soybeans and natural extracts of seawater.  No chemicals are used. This was my favourite soba of the evening.  The tofu was in excellent harmony with soba.  The tofu was so soft, melts with every strand of soba.  Tofu had a strong natural soy bean flavour, just extremely refreshing.  It adds a subtle flavour to the tasteless soba, and with the tsuyu sauce, it just heightens the palette, giving the combination a dash of saltiness.  This is a great vegan option, and a healthy one too.  This unexpected combination was just outstanding!

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Deep Fried Soba (approximately $19.00) is rested in tsuyu sauce, topped with grated daikon, green onions and shrimp.  This was the only hot soba ordered.  Initially, the fried soba was very crunchy, but gradually became soggy after absorbing the sauce, making it oily and salty.  The minced daikon aka raddish and green onions made the sauce sweet, which was absorbed easily by the shrimps and noodles.  I find this cooking style kind of wasted the soba, lost the natural flavours and health benefits.  Overall, this was an interesting selection.

Rutin of buckwheat and isoflavon of soybean keep you young and healthy.  Soba has a lot of health benefits, if ingested occasionally.  There are many variations as to how soba can be cooked.  Experimenting with the selection from Soba Canada gives me the inspiration and creativity to attempt making a soba feast.  No doubt, I really liked the restaurant and is a great choice for a light meal, especially after festive eating events.  I highly recommend.  Remember to bring cash~

Ratings

Food 3.75/5
Service 3/5
Ambiance 3/5

Ichiriki Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Nome Izakaya

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Address: 848 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M2N 5N2
Phone: (647) 347-7937
Website: http://nomeizakaya.com/#!/home

Nome Izakaya, known for their a buck a shuck oysters on Tuesday and Wednesday, makes a successful appearance on Yonge Street, near Sheppard Avenue.

Their interior decor is of the natural dark gray stone and wood, making the enviornment really cool and clean.  But a lot of restaurants have the same decor, more or less, but plays around with the colour schemes.  The atmospere is great, considering how the stone paved walls help block sound from neighbours, hence, conversations between friends are a lot more clearer and understandable.  The livelihood of the restaurant is quite enchanting, making you feel energetic and happy.

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Grilled Beef Tongue ($8.5)  is grilled beef tongue using salt and pepper, topped with green onion.  Beef tonge was thinly sliced and grilled to a crunchy texture on the edges, but maintaining a soft middle.  The salt and pepper heightened the natural meat flavour, with the green onion giving a fresh aroma and crunch with ever bite.  Overall, I enjoyed the appetizer, but nothing spectacular.

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Takoyaki ($5.5) is deep fried octopus ball,  served with tonkatsu sauce, mayo and bonito flakes.  It was crispy on the surface, leading to the chewy texture in the middle.  The octopus was fried perfectly, where it was not to tough.  The snack was not oily at all, but tasted salty, from the bonito flakes and the soy based sauce.  Nonetheless, this was one of the best takoyai I have ever tried because it was able to keep its form and rich flavours.

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Spicy Sashimi Tortilla Bites ($9.8) is fresh tuna sashimi mixed with mayo and topped with spicy jalapeno salsa on crunchy tortilla cups.  The bites tasted fresh.  I enjoyed the different textures provided by the appetizer.  It was crunchy and soft.  The flavours were strong, where the tasteless mayo was put to life by the tangy salsa.  With every bite, you taste the burst of the salsa exploding in your mouth.

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Apple Salmon Sushi ($16) is filled with cucumber, crab meat and avocado, salmon topped with apple, mayo and green onion.  This was a very creative roll, as I have never encountered an apple-related sushi roll before.  The overall effect of apple surprised me, made the roll much more crackling than the softness I am used to, making it more attractive.  Every bite was full of sweet fruity flavours, making the roll refreshing and savory.

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Unagi Risotto ($8.8) is a creamy rice dish mixed with butter and cheese, rested in a stone bowl, topped with bbq eel and sweet unagi sauce.  The rice was really creamy and soft.  The teriyaki like unagi sauce did give the rice a pleasant umami taste, or otherwise, salty.  Do flake up the eel fillet and mix it with the rice for heightened texture because with each bite of the sticky rice, you will feel the fatty muscular bits of the eel.  I did notice the hot stone bowl absorbed the moisture of the rice in the long run, turning bits into rice crisps, very crunchy, but lost the purpose as a risotto.

Nome Izakaya is a great place for friends to gather and coworkers to enjoy a drink or bite after work.  The convenient location and growing neighbourhood gives strong business.  There is a variety of options on their menu, and there is always a bit of everything for everyone.  It is hard to find a good izakaya, for a good value, uptown.  I do recommend coming here for small eats, that can make you full.

Ratings

Food 3.5/5
Service 3.5/5
Ambiance 3.5/5

Nomé Izakaya Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Rolltation Sushi Burrito

Address: 207 Dundas Street West.  Toronto, ON.  M5G 1C8
Phone: (647) 351-8986
Website: www.rolltation.com

Sushi Burrito, finally a hit in Toronto, despite the idea originated in United States a few years back.  Afterall, Canada is always a bit slower than everyone else for any type of trends.  Dundas Street West, between Yonge Street and University Avenue has become the Little Japan of Toronto because there is a high concentration of Japanese restaurants and cafes along this strip of Dundas Street.

Rolltation adds diversity, variation and selection for the general public.  It does not always have to be the izakayas nor the bento boxes.  Rolltation has a small store front, with only maximum fouth seats, if you want to eat there.  But, majority of the population orders take out to the nearby parks, which has no shortage of, or to home and school.

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The staff take pride of their burritos and are very focused in the making process.  The counters are so clean, no cross contamination.  They wash their knives with every cut, but need to learn to change their gloves more often because never mix the sashimi with cooked shrimp.  They always ask for feedback of their burritos and always ensure us their burritos taste amazing or really good.

But I do not find them amazing, like flying colours.  However,  I thank the staff for putting generious amounts of toppings for us, to the point they struggled with the wrapping.

Classic Salmon ($13.99) , on the left, is wrapped with salmon, kale, avocado, red onion, carrot, sweet corn, tangerine, wasabi tobiko and topped with spicy mayo sauce.  No doubt, the ingredients were fresh.  But I find the selection of the fillings kind of odd.  The ingredients did not mix well, especially the corn and tangerine.  The spicy mayo was not spicy enough either, tasted more like regular mayo to me.  The burrito tasted mostly sweet, with the random hint of tangerine citrus sour juice but lacked the spiciness.  The flavours were not distinct enough.  Also, the burrito felt soft, could not hold very well.

Wasabi Tuna ($14.99), on the right, is wrapped with tuna, green lettuce, red peppers, avocado, seaweed salad, lotus chip, tomago and topped with wasabi mayo.  This was a better burrito, out of the two.  It maintained the freshness of the ingredients.  Overall, I liked the texture of the burrito with every bite.  The seaweed salad and the lotus chip added crunchiness.  The seaweed added sesame flavours to the burrito too.  The wasabi mayo was fragrant and hot, which was unmistakable, acting as the soul or the interest of the whole burrito.

There is a lot of room for improvement.  I suggest having tempura flakes in between for added texture.  They can also have crab meat in selected burritos.  I also suggest mixing the sauce with the diced sashimi, instead of a drizzle on top of all the toppings, for an even flavour.  The drizzle can sometimes be hard to control, as some burritos might have more sauce than others.

Basically, a sushi burrito is a normal sushi roll in steroids, and is not cut into smaller pieces.  Sushi burrito is the current popular food choice, and is the new hype of the city.  Eventually, this popularity will slow down, when a new creative food is produced.  I still recommend trying a sushi burrito for fun, though quite heavy in calories and carbohydrate.  Rolltation is a good choice because they have a fixed store front location, fixed hours and food stocked, making hunting down for the burrito easy, compared to a food truck’s limited stock, limited hours, daily different locations and possible mechanical truck issues that leads to sale failures.

*If you do not want a burrito, they can make it into a poke bowl, aka, a salad.*

Ratings

Food 3.25/5
Service 4/5
Ambiance 3.5/5