Yesterday evening, fellow 'Nipponphile' foodie skylineR33, myself and our spouses had a wonderful mini-chowmeet at Sushi Couture. Not only the company was great, the food was equally fine to match!
Prior to our gathering, skylineR33 called ahead to arrange with chef Ken for an upgraded $60 Omakase for the four of us.
When we arrived at the restaurant, we were greeted by a modern, chic and cozy space/decor. Service was friendly, smiling and efficient. A hospitable chef also came out to greet us. He also informed us that instead of 7 courses, he will be serving us 8! Yippeee! When the meal began, chef Ken also payed us regular visits to describe some of the more exotic ingredients and dishes of the night.
- 1st course was the house signature 'oyster shooter'. Raw quail egg, sweet ponzu marinated ikura, ponzu jello all atop a briny Corville Bay oyster. 'Cholesterol galore'! But whose counting?!
- 2nd course, the first of two cooked dishes, was an immaculately grilled Aji (smelt) paired with a duo of tempuras - East coast sea bream paste sandwiched in Shiso leaves and European sea bream paste embedded in eggplant. The Aji was very fresh, texture was firm and void of any bitter innards taste. The lightly battered tempuras were equally tasty.
- 3rd course was the first of a few sashimi adventures. A trio of ultra fresh ( arrive only the same day ), Hamachi (Yellow Tail), Hata (Garoupa) and Kurodai (Sea bream from Greece).
Both 'freshly grated' wasabi and the more potent wasabi/horseradish paste were provided. The enhanced soya sauce was sweet, not too salty and infused with pleasant smokey Bonito essence. Since the skin of Sea bream is normally tough, chef Ken used the flame torch to crispened up the skin. A nice 'tasty' touch.
- 4th course was a duet of Madai ( sea Bream from Japan) sushi and sashimi. The beautiful plate presentation was typical 'authentic' Japanese with the food arranged next to a 'curled up' fish skeleton, head and tail still attached. The bright, clear eyes telling the patrons we have one super fresh fish here!!
Shari size was 'spot-on'.Dainty and small, they resembled morsels normally found in top sushi restaurants in Japan. The rice was also packed just right. Only criticism was that the rice was a touch 'under-seasoned'!
Diced sashimi morsels were housed in two hollowed out lime halves.
- 5th course was whole East coast Lobster sashimi. Again, the cut up lobster tail meat was presented along with the rest of the lobster, head, claws, tail and all. Can't get any fresher than this, since the beast was still alive a few minutes ago!
- Then came four more pieces of nigiri sushi. Wild sea bream from Boston, Blue fin Maguro, Unagi and O-Toro Tataki. Again, fish were very fresh and the B-B-Q eel nicely cooked with a tasty sweet glaze. The diced up O-toro tataki wrapped with nori was smokey. However, personally,I would prefer just a simple untouch piece of fish.
- The second of the hot dish - lobster udon came next. Using the head and claws of the sashimi dish, the resulting lobster, daishi, bonito,and seaweed soup was amazingly flavourful!! Wow!!
- Lastly, the dessert. A combo of tempura banana and chocolate drizzled green tea icecream. This was an 'anti-climax' to an otherwise wonderful meal!! Cannot understand why Japanese cannot come up with more innovative desserts?!! Sigh!
OVERALL VERDICT: Sushi Kaji aside! At $60 per person, this must be one of the most enjoyable, tasty and beautifully presented Omakase I have had in Toronto. Better than Zen, Sushi Hiro, Omi, Aoyama, Solo-sushi Ya, Cafe Michi....etc. ( except for may be a few cooked dishes from Aoyama or Solo-sushi-Ya ). Next time, may be I'll have the chef prepare a few more 'cooked' dishes for evaluation??!!
One last observation. Even though the blackboard indicated ' newly arrived Uni'. However, we were not served any. The reason being, this is not Uni season in the Northern hemisphere. Uni was from Chile which was a bit 'inferior'. This approach by the chef reflects his knowledge and professionalism as well as his respect for his 'foodie' patrons!
Bravo Chef Ken!!
456 Bloor St. W., Toronto, ON M5S 1X8, CA