Friday, December 21, 2012

Kaji Sushi

When we drove by the neighbourhood of etobicoke on Queensway, my parents saw a sign that said Kaji. They have heard of rumours of his talent from japan and have heard about his background of how he came to Canada to start his own restaurant. The interesting part of his background is that he's called a 'tsubushiya' loosely translating to house of destruction. This nickname apparently came from the fact that he had a gambling problem in Japan. As a first class chef with a high pay roll, he would gamble his money and owe bookies lots of cash. With no money left to pay these bookies, they would come to the restaurant he worked and he would give them 1st class meals for free. Doing this many many times, the owner of the restaurant would lose money and eventually close shop. He did this to a few restaurants (do not know the actual facts) and finally decided to move to Canada to open his own shop. I guess owning your shop, there's only one person to screw if you give free food away and that is yourself.

Anywho, after hearing much about his skills, I decided to do a little research on this restaurant. I read many reviews and they were all glamorous but always mentioned that it was quite pricey. After looking at their website Kaji Sushi, I could immediately tell that this was high class price. There were 2 menu options which both looked very similar to each other.

In order to try the whole menu in one sitting, I decided to go with a few co-workers and we split the meals to try. This place is very much impossible to just come in and sit down to eat as reservations book up very quickly. I had to book 2 weeks in advance to get a seat on a Friday night.

In the restaurant there maybe only enough to seat around 30~40 people at a time. The best view would definitely be at the sushi bar where you can see the chefs make each dish. Everyone that worked there were japanese and you could tell who Kaji san was. He was the only one on the line who was drinking and making food. :3

We sit down and order our options, and be warned, this is not just a regular dinner, this dinner took well over 2.5 hours. Each dish coming out at intervals of 10 minutes (I think this makes you full). There were about 14 dishes and each dish were bite size which also made it very hard to split between another person. The presentation was amazing, and the food quality great!

One of the earlier dishes was the soup duck dumpling. The soup broth was light and yummy. The dumpling was small and flavourful and the soup had rich flavour. Delicious.

 This next dish had amazing flavours! I believe the item on the right was a jelly fish in a yuzu based jelly. This was citrusy and sweet but with a hint of broth flavour. Interesting combination but still very good! The left item was fried saba (mackerel) on top of a bed of cooked radish in a sweet sauce. The oiliness of the saba and the zesty of the yuzu was a great combination.

These two dishes, were not my favourite and as they were not, I really do not remember the experience. I remember the left side was a sticky potato wrapped in a dumpling skin in something like a conbu sauce. The right hand side was a fish ball in a sweet soy dango sauce.

There were multiple duck dishes and this was one of them. This duck dish is fatty and with the soft yet crunchiness of the green onion tasted great. This looked like a chinese dish but tasted very japanese.

The presentation on this dish looks great but very small! My favourite was the one in the middle. The oyster with the same yuzu jelly previously shown! I wish I had a whole tray of this! The egg dish on the right was good, but I feel that when you're paying such high prices, eggs even done perfectly seemed kind of cheap.

 Haha as you can see in this photo, we ate the food of the first dish before we decided to take a photo!! Ooops. I wish I remember what the dishes were, even the one in the photo!

This one bite soba was quite refreshing but left me very hungry soon after... too little food!!

Ahh, finally! Sushi! The first sushi dish presentation looked amazing! and I have never seen sushi done like this either! These mini lumps of rice with raw fish on top looked very good! From left to right, red tuna, lobster, ika (squid). All so very very good...

Then we come to the unagi (eel) and scallop! The unagi was Very interesting to see being made! The chef packed a small box full of rice, and made a cube shaped rice patty. Then laid the unagi on top and cut it in 4 pieces. Box presentation! cool! The scallop sauce was very interesting, even though the colour was dark, it had a wasabi and shiso hint to it. It was very good as I love the taste of shiso (japanese mint, but trust me, does not taste like mint leaves).

Now come the sushi in storms of 4! They were all high quality meats and I only had one complaint...

 My complaint was the ebi (shrimp)! When I come to a high dining restaurant, I don't expect to be fed cheap shrimps that are bought anywhere... mind you this was still great, but I felt kind of cheated. If they at least used ama-ebi (sweet shrimp) that would have been classier.

And Finally the sashimi plate. Let me tell you, the octopus I had here, was probably the best octopus I have ever had! I have travelled all across japan and have ate at many sushi restaurants and this amazed me. The octopus was so meaty, so soft, not chewy, and so flavourful. I'm not sure if it was just that one octopus or if it was the preparation of the octopus but this was stellar. There was lobster sashimi in there as well but I think I'd prefer to eat it boiled. Still good!

And last but least, the dessert. To a non-japanese person this may have been heaven! but to a japanese person this was quite the common dessert. The bottom was a moose like coffee pudding, and the top was kanten and a macaroon. Kanten!! How I love kanten. For those of you who do not know, kanten is like jello but instead of jelly, they use seaweed to harden into jelly. The texture and flavour far surpasses jello and plus, vegetarians can eat it too! Everyone should switch over to kanten instead of jello! Plus it is healthy! 

Overall I would rate Kaji sushi a 92% in food and presentation.
With the price included, I think I would drop it down to 85%. Would I go back again? For sure!! But will I openly recommend this place? Probably not, mainly because of the price but it is still delicious. This is not recommended to those sushi lovers who only like all you can eat.

Give it a try!

Kaji on Urbanspoon

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