Tag Archives: Japanese food

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…

 

Japanese katsu sando @ Koi Koi Sake Bar

Not gonna lie, I was pretty bummed out when I found out that Graffiti’s, home of the black metal brunch, in Kensington Market shut down. But now I hear that spot is home to this funky Japanese joint called Koi Koi that’s serving up a convenience store classic from the Land of the Rising Sun. I’ve been seeing katsu sammies all over my Instagram feed, but never had the chance to scarf down this sando until now, bro!!!

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OK, now let’s break it down. You’ve got a pretty thick pork chop, breaded ‘n fried, between two pieces of toasted white bread, with some great big globs of spicy mustard and one sad little leaf of romaine. And then, on the side you’ve got these burdock fries. Dude, what the fuck are burdock fries???

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Turns out that burdock is a root vegetable that’s pretty popular in Asia…but I can’t say I’ve ever had it before, and I’m not sure I would have it again. It sorta tastes like a bitter, chewy turnip–even when french-fried, I would NOT eat it off a flip-flop! In fact, I think I’m gonna need an ice cold brewski to wash this taste down…

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Good thing this place has got a few brews from Godspeed, a local craft brewery that gives all its beers Japanese names…even when they’re not even close to Japanese. Like Irori, a peated scotch lager that’s blended with scotch whiskey, and tastes an awful lot like scotch whiskey. I didn’t even realize this beer was 8% until I started singing air karaoke to Kirsten Dunst’s version of “Turning Japanese…”

Christmas teppanyaki dinner @ Matsuda Japanese Cuisine

Dude, the best part of Christmas is definitely Christmas dinner. Any reason to eat so much that your tie-dye sweatpants rip apart is a good time with me. But I’m not really a big fan of turkey, unless it’s smoked BBQ Texas style. So instead, we’re funking it up this Christmas at Matsuda Japanese Cuisine… Who needs turkey when you can have teppanyaki, bro???

Now, in case you’re a pagan, a wiccan or an Israelite with an appetite, the good news is that most Asian restaurants in Toronto are open on Christmas Day. But this ain’t just any ol’ Asian restaurant. This funky Japanese joint is serving up everything on its grilled teppanyaki menu for $38.99 — and you can even go back for seconds!!!

You’ve got steak, you’ve got chicken, you’ve got duck, you’ve even got grilled tofu and bacon-fried rice…plus an entire sushi menu at your disposal. Now, I’m not gonna fill up on sushi when I can be eating steak. But I had to give these wasabi mussels a try:

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This was definitely different from any seafood dish I’ve ever had. These mussels were as cold as ice, ice baby, with so much wasabi that I felt it in my face. Did not see that coming! Of course, I couldn’t just order one thing from the sushi menu, so I dived right in to the deep-fried section, with some super shrimp tempura and calamari:

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Now, I dunno if this pic even does it justice, but this shrimp was so long, it belongs in an ExtenZe commercial, bro! And there were about five or six more where this one came from–they definitely don’t short-change you!

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The first thing to come off the grill was seafood. The grilled flounder was legit, the jumbo shrimp were literally on fire, but this flame-grilled Atlantic salmon was the best part of waking up (at 8 pm). Fish was super flaky, with a great teriyaki glaze… I could definitely go for more of these!!!

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Now, here’s something I’ve never had at a teppanyaki joint before. They take this duck breast, thinly sliced and cooked up nice on the grill. What the duck? I think I musta ate at least 17 pieces of this stuff!!!

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Now, the first rule of Flavourtown Food Fight Club is that everything tastes better with bacon, bro! This includes bacon-fried rice, which they make right in front of you on the grill. There were some other delicious dishes too, like chicken teriyaki, beef short ribs, and thin, stringy mushrooms wrapped in bacon…but let’s cut straight to the main event, the top choice ribeye steak:

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Now, even the raw cuts of meat looked super tasty, but once they slice ‘n dice em and serve ’em up, I bet they taste even better. I haven’t put this many pieces of meat in my mouth since that one time, at beef camp…but you KNOW I still had room for dessert, bro!!!

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Dessert is also all you can eat, which means you don’t have to choose between ice cream, chocolate pudding and deep fried bananas…you can have all three! Or four, or five, or six, or seven–calories don’t count on Christmas Day, dude!!!

Sushi Legend: Come for the AYCE sushi, stay for the beef!

So, we’re hanging out at Sushi Legend, this funky AYCE sushi joint all up in an Asian strip mall at Finch and Leslie. Now, this place is pretty legit–you know they’ve got sushi, they’ve got sashimi, chicken katsu, fish cakes, peel-and-eat shrimp… But what really makes it is this tasty trio of beef dishes. Why settle for all-you-can-eat sushi when you can have all-you-can-eat beef, bro???

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We’re starting out with some torched beef sushi. Man, I musta slammed at least 17 of these! The meat is nicely grilled, served on a bed of rice, with a little bit of fruit on top. One of the best beef dishes I’ve had this week!

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Next up, you’ve got these garlic steak bites. They might be tiny little pieces of meat, but they’re packed with flavour, hot off the wok with crushed garlic overtop. Goes great with the garlic mushrooms, which they’re serving up the same way…

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But man, the best dish on the entire AYCE menu might be these Korean-style beef ribs. The meat is super tender, grilled to perfection, and you can just bite it right off the bone. Bro, I could eat my body weight in these babies and still have room for dessert! Oh, and speaking of dessert…

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Can you say AYCE creme brulee, Jose???