What do you get when you pay $800 for dinner in Toronto at its priciest restaurant? If you answered "about 150 pounds of poutine," you're incorrect. Toronto Star restaurant critic Amy Pataki took her big ol' expense account over to Hashimoto East and got nine courses of high-end Japanese food fit for an empress.
Pataki's review is a pleasure to read. It takes the big price tag in stride, appreciates the innumerable thoughtful touches that come with this sort of dining, and—here's where we really owe the writer for her work—meticulously describes every morsel that hit her plate, from the amuse bouche ("Plain rice, egg-shaped tofu and a ground-sesame 'tofu' ball plus sweet-and-gritty white miso soup") to dessert ("mini scoops of strawberry and matcha ice creams are one-half of dessert; the other half is an agar-based jelly of macerated cherries with mashed red beans and gold shavings").
As an eye-opening tour into another culture's haute cuisine goes, it's hard to beat a detailed description of a nine-course meal. That said: Next time, how about some staff photographer-supplied photos? It's one thing to read about "sashimi of wild, line-caught madai, a distant relative of snapper, fanned out like blushing chrysanthemum petals," and quite another to see it.
And, obviously, yet another entirely to taste it in one's mouth. Ah, to dine royally on someone else's dime...