Tag Archives: Japanese food

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Final Four fusion food feast!

Now, the last time Gonzaga was in the Final Four, I flew to Phoenix, Arizona for all the festivities. But this year, I can’t even cross the border without isolating for 14 days…and who wants to spend 14 days in Indiana!? So while I had to watch Jalen Suggs hit one of the greatest shots in NCAA Tournament history at home, at least I didn’t go hungry, bro!

Kinka Izakaya, this funky Japanese joint on Church St, is serving up a March Madness special that was meant for two…but it’s really just a light snack in Flavourtown. You’ve got two pounds of wings with fries, salmon oshizushi, takoyaki and gyoza dumplings, along with a six-pack of Sapporo to help the medicine go down. And since I had another 40% offer from Uber Eats, I took almost 30 bucks off — which means Gonzaga wasn’t the only winner, winner, chicken dinner last night!!!!!

Of course, we gotta start with the wings. These babies were nice ‘n crispy, with a Taiwanese-style crunchy batter. They came in two flavours, Original or Spicy, and since I figured a Japanese joint probably wouldn’t be dishing out face-melting heat, I went with the Spicy…and I was right. A decent little kick, but nothing two outrageous. I could easily slam two takeout boxes of these without being bound by wild desire the next day…

Now, these deep-fried gyoza dumplings were a nice little side dish. They’re basically two-biters, and you get four to an order, so they’re not gonna fill you up, buttercup. Pretty sure they were vegan, though — I’m like, where’s the beef, bro???

This was not my first time tackling takoyaki, the Japanese fried dough balls with a piece of octopus inside. These ones were very saucy, which left ’em a little soggy — but you KNOW I still put all them balls in my mouth, bro!!!!

Now, while you might not find gyoza dumplings or octopus balls at your local sports bar, I can still dig them as game-day eats — pretty much anything that’s battered and deep-fried will do it for me! But now, this is something that I’d never think to order for the big game… salmon oshizushi, or pressed sushi, with layers of fish squished together on top of some rice. Now, there was nothing wrong with this dish at all, it’s just that next time I’m watching sports, I don’t see myself chowing down on sushi. But hey, if you put it in a combo meal, I mean, it’s not like I won’t eat all of it…

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Katsu sandos with black chicken wings…

Now, over in Tokyo, katsu sandos are everywhere — you can even get ’em at 7/11, son! But they’re not so popular in Toronto… Me, I’ve only ever had one, and that was a couple years ago. So when I heard that Tokyo Sando & Chicken was serving ’em up outta Kinka Izakaya on Church Street, I couldn’t have just one, so I ordered two. Oh, and some chicken wings, too. Hey, it’s right there in the name, so it’s gotta be good, right?

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This here’s the classic pork katsu sando, a big, thick piece of breaded pork served between two slices of plain white toast with cabbage, truffle butter and a Dijon donkey sauce. Dude, this sandwich eats like a meal…and that’s only half of it!

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But you KNOW I’m not gonna eat just one sando, bro! This here’s the ebi katsu, with deep-fried shrimp, more cabbage, some Japanese tartar sauce and teriyaki. The shrimp’s a little lighter than the pork, but you do get four to a sando, so I can’t really complain, though…

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But now we’re gonna kick it up a notch! These Kurogoma wings are smothered in a black sesame sauce for a flavour that’s just nuts, bro! Let’s just say I killed a few napkins downing these bad boys…

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TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Japanese sandos on torched buns, bros!

Now, when it comes to sandos, this blog ain’t just about burgers. Whether we’re taking hot dogs, fried chicken or pulled pork, it’s all good in the hood, bro! So when I heard that Kinka Izakaya had started a spinoff serving up Japanese Aburi Bunz, you KNOW I had to check it out…

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They call this The OG Aburi, and it’s a gangster of love in Flavourtown. You’ve got a nice, beefy hot dog on a bed of cabbage in a torched bun, topped with bonito flakes, shredded seaweed and a garlic donkey sauce — I’d put that on a flip-flop!

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Up next, we’ve got The Fire Cracker, with four chunks of spicy chicken karaage on top of crunchy coleslaw that barely fit inside the bun, son! With a name like Fire Cracker, I was a little worried about the heat, but it’s more Buffalo chicken than Nashville Hot. Although the last couple bites had a bit more of a kick — I guess there was a little more sauce on that one piece…

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Of course, I WOULD like fries with that, but these ain’t yer everyday taters, bro. These Tokyo Wedges are topped with bonito flakes, seaweed, Japanese curry sauce and more donkey sauce. Like I always say, if there’s anything better than donkey sauce, it’s even more donkey sauce, broseph!!!!!!!

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Wagyu katsu to go-su!

Now, you probably already know I like steak, and I’ll eat pretty much anything that’s battered and deep-fried… So when I heard that Gyukatsu Kyoto Katsugyu, this funky Japanese joint on Dundas, specializes in deep-fried katsu steak, then you KNOW I had to check it out, bro! But we’re not going for a sirloin, a strip steak or even a tenderloin, but rather this grand poobah of deep-fried steak dishes, the Premium Wagyu Gyukatsu Zen:

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So, what you’ve got here is 4.5 ounces of Wagyu beef, chopped up and breaded, then served over rice. They also had all sorts of sauces and an egg on the side, which I’m assuming that you were supposed to pour over top?

Anyways, the steak was nice ‘n tender, lightly breaded, but well past medium by the time it got to my doorstep. The egg added a nice breakfast element to it, which worked for me, cuz I’m eating this around noon. And hey, because it’s 12 o’clock somewhere…

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We’re washing this down with an Ochame, this hazy, green tea IPA from Godspeed Brewery, which fits the Japanese theme quite nicely. Now, I’m not sure if this beer contains antioxidants, but it’ll definitely cure what ails ya, bro!!!

 

 

Japanese-style steak ‘n squid @ Miku

Now, I’ve always said, if I’m gonna drop three bills on a fancy dinner, I’d rather spend it on steak than on sushi. So we’re hanging out at Miku, this fancy Japanese joint at the foot of Bay St, where they do have some pretty pricey sushi…but they also happen to serve steak. Wanna guess what I ordered?

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But first, we are starting off with some seafood, though — I’m talking tempura calamari, bro! This deep-fried squid is cooked to perfection with a light, crispy batter…and they’ve even got some squid ink on the side for dipping!

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But now it’s time for the main event. In this corner, we’ve got a 10 oz ribeye steak, medium rare, with some miso butter and wasabi veal jus, served with a side of roasted potatoes. The plate also had some hot peppers on it, but I didn’t even touch those. Meat was cooked nicely, with some good flavour. I even ate the fatty bits, and there was actually quite a few fatty bits…

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But you KNOW that even after pounding all that beef, I’ve still got room for dessert, son! They call this the Ichigo Mochi Dome, and it’s sort of a two-men-enter, one-man-leaves situation…which means I’m totally not gonna share. What we’ve got is a brown sugar cookie, topped with condensed milk whipped cream, and then there’s strawberries on the inside, along with a scoop of jasmine tea ice cream, more strawberries, and chunks of chocolate peanut butter brittle. Definitely one of the funkiest desserts I’ve had in a while!!!

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TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: I think I’m turning Japanese for this chicken katsu with cheese!!!

Now, I gotta admit, I’m not a huge sushi fan. I mean, I’ll eat it — especially when it’s all-you-can-eat — but it’s not really my go-to. When it comes to Japanese food, I’m all about the breaded and fried, and if there’s cheese involved, that’s the icing on the cake. But we’re not eating cake, though — this is chicken katsu from Mr. Tonkatsu, bro!!!

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Now, you get a pretty decent-sized lunch here for 14 bucks. There’s actually more chicken than meets the eye — with a double layer at the end — and then you’ve got rice, slaw and some miso soup that stayed warm, cuz this delivery order only took about 30 minutes. Hey, it’s nice to get a little something on the side, but you KNOW it’s all about the chicken, bro!!!

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Dude, this chicken is cheesier than an 80’s power ballad! You’ve got a nice temperature, some crispy breading, and then all that cheesy goodness. While I like the katsu sauce, I think it actually tastes better without it. Every rose has its thorn, son!!!

 

Eating all the meats @ Hibachi Teppanyaki & Bar

Now, you KNOW I’m all about that Japanese flattop action, bro! Whether it’s steak and chicken and shrimp (oh my!) at Yamato or AYCE Christmas dinner @ Matsuda, I’ll be there with flip-flops on, son! So when I heard that Hibachi, this funky joint inside the Thompson Hotel, was serving up filet mignon, lobster, salmon AND chicken for 45 bucks, I totally had to come check it out!!!!

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Of course, just like any teppanyaki joint, when you pay for dinner, you get the show for free. His flaming onion tower action was a little weak, but the Iron Chef still kept us entertained.

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So, we’re starting off with lobster tails, grilled till they fall outta the shell, and chopped up into forkable chunks. I think I still like my lobster boiled, but that garlic sauce they serve with it is ridiculous!

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Moving on from the chicken of the sea to…y’know, actual chicken. This bird is the word was nicely grilled, with the right amount of teriyaki sauce — but I’m sure that nobody comes here for the chicken!

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Now, when it comes to the filet, I gotta say mine was cooked well past the medium rare I’d requested. (It probably didn’t help that they took my meat off the grill last, for some reason.) It didn’t taste terrible, but when you overcook steak, the quality of the cut doesn’t matter — it couldda been a T-bone, and I wouldn’t know the difference.

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On the other fin, I gotta say, their salmon was some of the best I’ve had in a while. Just something about that perfect sear, and the seasonings were on point… Never thought I’d say this, but the fish was the best thing I ate tonight!!!

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Speaking of surprises, now, this place has just four beers on tap — Sapporo, Stella, Steam Whistle…and Czechvar Dark Lager. So, obviously, I had to go with the last one. Its got a bit of a roasted, toasted, coffee-type flavour that goes pretty good with a steak — or even a salmon!!!!

This Japanese joint is Guu Guu guuud!

So, we’re hanging out at Guu Izakaya, this funky Japanese joint just east of Vegandale. But you KNOW we didn’t come here to eat veggies, bro! This place has a whole lotta tapas, served up Japanese style, so we’re diving right in with some Angus beef sashimi:

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Now, I don’t always eat steak cold, but when I do, I prefer beef sashimi. I could easily slay several servings of this dish…but then I wouldn’t have room for takoyaki!

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Dude, these deep-fried octopus balls are one of my go-to Japanese dishes. It’s all about the bonito flakes, bro!!!

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Speaking of bonito, I see your takoyaki and raise you okonomiyaki! This crunchy squid pancake is slathered in Japanese donkey sauce with even more flakes on top!

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And when it comes to classics, you can’t go wrong with chicken karaage. These great balls of fryer explode in my mouth with their juicy, crunchy goodness. I could probably pound, like, 22 of these!!!

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Now here’s one you definitely don’t see every day. These baked oysters are stuffed with cheese, mushrooms and a spinach/garlic mayo — I would put that on a flip-flop!!!!

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Now, since we’re switching to seafood, it’s time for some shrimp tempura. These babies are smothered in so much donkey sauce that the donkey won’t be making babies anytime soon, son!!!!

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Holy fuck, it’s Japanese duck!!! This aigamo tataki is sous vided and served cold with scallions, onions and a sauce that’s equal parts ponzu AND yuzu!

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And now we’re taking a little detour to Flavourtown Koreatown, where the bibimbap don’t stop!!!!

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We’re washing it all down with a Far Yeast Tokyo White, a beer that’s actually brewed in Tokyo, bro! This dry, unpasteurized saison is equal parts fruity and wheaty, for a taste that’s killa like Godzilla!!!

Now, after all that commotion back there, you KNOW we still have some room for dessert — but this banana tempura oughtta do’er!

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Bro, these deep-fried bananas are bananas — and bananas is good! It even comes with a scoop of green matcha ice cream… How do you say “Shut the back door!” in Japanese???

Killin’ it ‘n grillin’ it @ Gyubee Japanese Grill

So, we’re hanging out at Gyubee Japanese Grill, this funky Japanese BBQ joint that just opened on Dundas a few weeks back. Man, this place has got all the meats — short rib, brisket, pork belly, sausage…even beef tongue, son! But what makes it are the shrimp:

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Dude, it’s not every day that I get to literally throw shrimp on the barbie — and I didn’t even hafta drink a Foster’s, Australian for beer, to do it! The all-you-can-eat dinner menu is just $35.99 on weekends (a bit less during the week), and with all that food, you KNOW I’m gonna need an extra large Sapporo, bro!!!!

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All You Can Eat Asian @ Spring Rolls

Now, my motto’s always been “Why only eat some, when you can eat all?” So we’re hanging out at Spring Rolls, right at Yonge and Dundas, where you can get all you can eat Asian food for just 28 bucks, bro! And we’re not just talking sushi, we’re talking dim sum, bulgogi, calamari, lamb chops… and a whole lotta cupcakes for dessert! OK, now let’s break it down:

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This plateful of deep-fried goodness includes Japanese gyoza, deep-fried scallop cakes, and a beef satay skewer with a very uneven sauce distribution… But that’s not all we’re frying up here:

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Holy Octopus Balls, Batman! This takoyaki was so hot it almost melted my face off!!!

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Now here’s something I’ve never even seen before — they take a wonton, stuff it with cream cheese, and then drop it in the fryer. Man, the only way this would be better is if they used nacho cheese, bro!

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Of course, we’ve always got room for some calamari. Dude, this is body by calamari!

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Now, I guess we should probably order some sushi. On the right, we’ve got a salmon avocado roll, and then on the left, that’s a green dragon roll — crab meat, avocado and cucumber, with more avocado on top! Who needs a cherry when you can have avocado on top???

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But now we’re about to funk it up a notch, homes! This spider roll, spider roll does whatever a spider roll does — it’s got deep-fried soft shell crab, with some regular crab, avocado, cucumber and mayo… It’s like a Tobey Maguire upside-down kiss in Flavourtown!!!

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Now, I know at this point you’re probably asking “Where’s the beef, bro?” Well, it’s right here, son! This sizzling bulgogi beef is so chewy, you could pull it apart with a fork… Man, I could eat like 17 of these!

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But that’s not the only thing they’re sizzlin’ at Spring Rolls, son! This honey ginger chicken wasn’t quite as spicy as advertised…but you KNOW it’s still heading straight down my piehole!!!

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Now, here’s something I wasn’t expecting. Imagine having steak and lamb, and lamb and steak. Imagine having both of them, on just one plate… OK, so both of these pieces were well beyond medium rare, but they can still tag team my taste buds any day, bro!

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Now, if you like your Chinese food deep-fried and saucy — dude, Deep Fried ‘n Saucy is my dating profile handle! — then this Tango Mango Chicken is for you. You’ve got crunchy, crispy bird, mango, sweet, sweet onion and bell peppers, sauteed in a house special citrus tango mango sauce. Dude, you could put that on a flip-flop, and it would still taste good!!!!

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Of course, even after slamming all those Asian taste sensations, we’ve still got room for dessert. Mini brownies, mini creme brulees, and five different kinds of mini cupcakes. The ones with the Oreos on top were my Flavourtown favourites…