Striped bass, mackerel, scallop, and unagi sushi. The scallop was my favourite.

Though it’s been a while since I last went, I’ve always enjoyed my meals at Japango, the tiny sushi joint on Elizabeth street. So I’m not sure why it’s taken so long to visit Yuzu (opened back in 2008!) by the same chef/owner, Bruce Bu. But craving sushi one night, I finally made my way there and found fresh fish and a really tasty chawanmushi. Despite some lacklustre rice (what’s with the mushy rice at places – okay two – lately?), it was still good enough to prompt a second visit to check out their omakase.

I don’t know why, but I feel like I should warn you. While I know what fresh fish tastes like and I can tell when rice is good or bad, I am definitely not a sushi aficionado. Don’t get me wrong – I really enjoy sushi. But I can’t tell where the fish is from by taste and frequently confuse fish types. Someday I’ll learn. But for now, I’ll just be one of those pleb sushi eaters. M’kay?

We start with the oyster shooter, a staple brought over from Japango. I’d had one during my first visit to Yuzu, but this one was much better. Briny, silky, and rich, with that popping texture of tobiko as you chew. Really great.

We have a trio of nibbles out next. Fiddleheads in a thick sesame paste is sweet, the shrimp wrapped in shiso and set in agar is refreshing and different, and the mix of kabocha (yum), red beans (bland), and pickled daikon (a little spicy, nice), round off this offering.

I’d had a delicious chawanmushi (pictured up top) the week or so before at Yuzu, but this time, we’re given a non-traditional cold asparagus chawanmushi. Not as smooth as the hot version but tasty in a different way. More spongy in texture and a really integrated asparagus flavour. A hit of uni is always welcome (when fresh, as this was). The gold was extraneous bling, but a nice visual touch.

We have some seabream, amaebi, and tuna next. The fish was fresh but the nice touch was the fried shrimp head. Crunchy and tasty and extra shrimpy.

The cod glazed with saikyo miso was especially nice with the fragrant magnolia leaf wrapper. The mushroom was done in a dry-roast and quite delicious.

A saikyo miso encrusted lamb was next. This was simply okay – more of a filler dish.

Green tea crème brûlée – I generally dislike flavoured brûlées, but this was mildly flavoured and nicely done.

It was a good meal overall. In general, I’d currently avoid ordering rice dishes, as I found the unagi don and chirashi to have mushy rice. The fish is really fresh here though, so it’s not a hardship to stick that. Yuzu is a solid neighbourhood choice with some really nice creative twists and lovely plating – worth a visit if you’re in the area.

Lovely chawanmushi and a nicely plated kaki fry. Eaten during my first visit (not part of the omakase.)

  • Yuzu 236 Adelaide Street West, Toronto

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