230 Adelaide Street West, Toronto
How has your summer been so far?
I’ve already gone away on vacation, and eaten at one restaurant for Summerlicious (hurray!). This will be the month where I go up two dress sizes, because I have several food events to attend. That’s ok though… I’ve got stretchy pants 😉
For my first Summerlicious dinner, I decided to go to Shibui Robata Bar with Mandy. I believe that this restaurant opened last month, but I could be wrong. Anyhow, it’s a fairly new addition to Toronto’s food scene and is apparently the “first authentic hot charcoal robata experience” in the city. In case you’re wondering, the word robata refers to a Japanese style of BBQ where food is cooked over hot charcoal.
Not all of the food is cooked on the coals though – there is a wide selection of sushi dishes available as well. For Summerlicious the restaurant allowed patrons to select 5 dishes for $25, which was a great deal. We were able to choose one appetizer, one item from the raw bar, one item from the robata menu plus a side dish to go with it, and one dessert.
For my appetizer I chose the Crispy Rice with Spicy Salmon. This was pan seared sushi rice, fried in butter, and topped with a spicy salmon mixture. The garnish was some kind of herb, a fried garlic chip and a piece of jalapeño pepper. Wow! That’s a lot of flavours for a little bite, but it was really tasty. The crispy buttery rice was a nice platform for the fatty spicy fish, and the pop of heat from the pepper added a nice kick. I could eat a plateful of these.
Mandy started with the Kinoko Salad, which was made of soba noodles, Japanese mushrooms, carrots, cucumbers and other veggies. Look at the beautiful colours in that dish! The ponzu dressing added enough acidity to flavour the dish without distracting from the natural flavours of all those veggies.
I chose to get the Sushi Nigiri from the raw menu. I think I’ve finally learned the differences between various types of sushi. Maki refers to rolls made with rice and nori (seaweed), nigiri is raw fish on rice, and sashimi is raw fish without rice. Easy!
I enjoyed my sushi because the fish tasted fresh, but it wasn’t anything special. I think I like the sushi at Ja Bistro a bit more (review to come)… their rice has more flavour. Mandy enjoyed her sashimi though, which is not surprising because she loves sashimi.
Mandy’s sashimi bowl made me laugh, it’s so big in comparison to the amount of fish in the bowl. I know that the plating for Summerlicious is different from what they usually serve though. or at least it’s different from what you see on their Twitter feed.
I chose to get the miso marinated black cod dish for my main course, along with a side of corn with yuzu butter. The fish was cooked nicely, but it was too sweet for my liking. Mandy enjoyed it more than I did, so I gave her half of it. The corn was really interesting, it had a smoky citrus flavour and a bit of spiciness as well.
On a side note, the little radish flower on the plate was ridiculously good! It tasted like it had been pickled in orange juice and topped with cayenne pepper.
I actually thought that Mandy had the better dish (as she so often does). Her pork belly dish with shichimi pepper was melt-in-your-mouth soft with a smoky barbecued flavour. She also ordered sweet potatoes with a red miso dressing, which were tasty.
As we were waiting for our dessert (which didn’t take very long at all), two men were seated at the table next to us. The tables have less than a foot in between them, so we ended up hearing most of their conversation.
Can I just say that if you need to complain about your lack of intimacy with your girlfriend, perhaps a quiet restaurant is not the best place to do so? These individuals went on to comment about the height of the of the servers, and complain about the ethnicity of the people dining in the restaurant. It was a good thing that Mandy and I were at the end of our meal, because if I had to listen to those two much longer I would have said something stern and unladylike… #$@&%*!
I had the Petit Gateau for dessert, and oh my goodness it was so good! I’m pretty sure that I tasted a hint of orange, or another citrus, in that delicious rich chocolate cake. Every mouthful was a smooth bite of chocolate heaven!
Mandy chose the Passion Fruit Mousse, which was also very tasty. This dessert had a tangy sweet flavour, which was a pleasant way to end the meal. The only thing we noticed with this dish was that the texture seemed more like yogurt than mousse.
If you’re wondering what to order to drink at this restaurant, Mandy recommends the Kyuri Sake. This drink combines gin, sake, yuzu sour and cucumber and it’s extremely refreshing. I would have ordered one for myself except that I’ve developed a sensitivity to cucumbers (*cries*). I had a really nice wine but, of course, I forgot to take note of what I ordered. I think the description said something about it being a Reisling that had lemon peel flavours and other citrus flavours (not helpful, I know).
If you’re looking for an intimate place to enjoy interesting Japanese cuisine, this is a good choice. Leave the kids at home though… the lounge atmosphere and pin-up artwork by the bathroom is not for them.
You can see their Summerlicious menu here.
Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. The illustration is a popular meme. The drawing belongs to Allie Brosh and originally appeared on her blog.