Sunday, 13 May 2012

EXPOSURES (FOOD PLACES) -- Don Don Izakaya, Sushi Garden, Sushi Rock

So I've checked out a few new places during these past two weeks. Yesterday I pretty much just treated myself as I went clothes-shopping and have been indulging myself a bit to alleviate the intensity of work (good, fun work, though!). Things will probably start winding down soon.

I would have finished writing this sooner, but I was distracted by my sister's fiance trying out The Walking Dead game for the PSN. From what I saw, it's really cool and engaging.


Location: 130 Dundas Street West, Toronto, Ontario (close to Bay & Dundas) Google Map
Contact #: 416-492-5292
Website: Click!
Type(s) of Cuisine: Japanese
Specialty (if any): Don't think so
Price Range (for a main dish): Low-Mid --$6-$13 (closer to $20 if you want to fill yourself)
Restaurant Size: Mid
Recommend? Yes!

Brief Impression
This place is all about the atmosphere. Going inside, everybody says "Welcome!" in Japanese. It's neat, clean, and the servers are very attentive -- at least when I went. Japanese pop music was playing in the background, and I was happy to have recognized a good amount of the tracks. I went inside around 3:50 PM, 10 minutes before the transition to Dinner Time. The place was pretty empty.

Since I got there before Dinner Time, I got to see the Lunch menu -- then I got see the Dinner menu (because I wasn't full enough and wanted to eat some more). The Lunch menu is just a paper printout list of the dishes available, with no descriptions or anything. The Dinner menu is this really nice, colourful, laminated booklet with photos and descriptions of each dish (exactly how it looks like on the website) -- I recommend going for Dinner (after 4PM). The Lunch menu offers some sushi, though.

The food was pretty good -- some hits, some not that on the mark (for me). I didn't get to try everything I wanted, and will definitely go back to try them.

When I was done, almost nobody said "Goodbye" (only two of them), which I found a little rude... one because it still wasn't very busy, so they could have said it, and two, because they said it to other customers who left. Was it because I was by myself? o.O

What I Ate / Drank...
Mango-Hi -- Yummy!
Crispy Fried Shrimp -- Uhh, I wasn't expecting it to be whole shrimps fried. I ordered this during Lunch, when the menu had no descriptions or photos. I wouldn't have ordered this if I knew (don't like getting my fingers dirty).
Smokey Hay Salmon Sashimi -- This is pretty good, though I may just get regular sashimi next time.
Avocado and Shrimp with Tarragon Sauce -- Absolutely loved this! I thought it was tangy and a little clashy at first, but it's great. That sauce went well with everything on that plate. It has a really fresh taste.
Tokyo Style Hot Dog (Sausage + Teriyaki Sauce) -- This would be okay if I didn't have to eat the whole dish. It was a bit too much -- a little heavy.
Chocolate Cake -- I thought it would be soft, but it's a pretty dense cake. I love the chocolate sauce, though.

Avocado and Shrimp with Tarragon Sauce -- Mmmmmm!!


Location: 30 Eglinton Avenue West, Toronto, Ontario (close to Yonge & Eglinton) Google Map
Contact #:  (416) 322-2018
Website: Click!
Type(s) of Cuisine: Japanese
Specialty (if any): Sushi
Price Range (for a main dish): Low-Mid -- ($11-$14 for lunch sets; California Rolls: $4.50; Dynamite Rolls [4 pieces]: $4.99; Salmon Sashimi [5 pieces]: $6.00)
Restaurant Size: Small
Recommend? Standard Quality

Brief Impression
The place doesn't look all that spectacular, but the food was okay (tastes pretty standard, so I wouldn't recommend against this place). The service was a little slow, though. I went for the Lunch Buffet ($12 per person), and we waited for about 20 minutes for our first plate. Didn't have enough time to wait for all our orders before going back to work (I really wanted to try the pumpkin tempura). I think I'm going to have to go back and "re-evaluate". Maybe the quality wasn't as good because we had buffet?

What I Ate / Drank... Chicken Teriyaki -- Standard
California Rolls -- Standard
Dynamite Rolls -- Standard -- I was glad I could eat it all in one bite
Grilled Eggplant -- It was good. I usually hate eggplant, but I could eat this.
Spicy Salmon Roll (1 piece to try) -- Spicy! I can't take spicy stuff well.

Plate of our food. Looks pretty standard.

So I went back to Sushi Garden and ordered salmon sashimi, california rolls, and dynamite rolls. The wait was about 20 minutes, but when my order came, everything came at once. Their salmon sashimi was good. California rolls and dynamite rolls were still standard. The dynamite rolls, being 4 pieces, were larger and wider than the buffet ones (ugh!). I'm changing my recommendation from "Small yes" to "standard quality". There are really too many sushi places -- don't really want to recommend any that just because it meets the bar and nothing else.


Location: 2359 Yonge Street, Toronto, Ontario (close to Eglinton & Broadway) Google Map
Contact #: 416-483-3888
Website: Click!
Type(s) of Cuisine: Japanese
Specialty (if any): Sushi
Price Range (for a main dish): Mid -- ($11-$16 for lunch sets; California Rolls: $4.99; Dynamic Rolls: $7.50; Salmon Sashimi Appetizer [6 pieces]: $8.49)
Restaurant Size: Small
Recommend? Standard Quality

Brief Impression
This place, like Sushi Garden, seems pretty standard. The nice thing here is that the service was much faster. The menu, though, was a mess! The rolls were split into different categories -- it took me a while to see if they even had Dynamite rolls listed (which are called Dynamic rolls for some reason). I only ordered two dishes, one delicious and one not-the-best, so I can't really say if the food is consistently good or not-the-best. I heard that the food was good, so I'll have to go back and "re-evaluate". The soy sauce, even though it's supposed to be light soy sauce, was too salty!

What I Ate / Drank...
Salmon Sashimi Appetizer -- This was delicious (salmon sashimi is always delicious)
Dynamic Roll -- This wasn't cut very nicely. The last piece just had the shrimp tail. It was a little too large, too.

Mmm... salmon sashimi.

I went back to Sushi Rock and ordered california rolls and salmon sushi pizza. The salmon sushi pizza was nice and a bit crunchy. The california rolls were standard. I'm changing my recommendation from "Unsure" to "Standard quality".

Thanks for reading! If you have any comments or want to know more about anything, feel free! :)

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