Kingyo Izakaya - Toronto (1 of 2)
Nelson @ Cabbagetown: We were checking out a friend's one-woman play this Friday, Dairy Free Love, but it just so happens that Kingyo Izakaya was next door and just opened the day before! Lucky timing I suppose, but the only downside was that it was a soft opening as their complete liquor license hadn't come through yet. Lucky for me, most items (except Uni) were available. Their logo is of a fish and inside there was a special table with a built-in fish tank. Neat! Otherwise the interior is nicely decorated with one wall filled with flashy pachinko machines and another a bar. The staff all speak Japanese and seem very friendly.
Onto the food. The first is Stone Grilled Beef Tongue ($10.20). Kingyo is actually the old location of Stone Grill and hopefully they will have better luck with this location. The stone came out piping hot and the thin pieces of tongue cooked quite quickly. It had a nice peppery taste and the tongue itself was lean and tasted good. The red sauce came with a warning from the waitress and it was quite spicy. Probably the best presentation of tongue I have ever seen and quite tasty to boot!
Beef Tataki Salad with Ume Dressing ($10.80): seared beef sashimi salad dressed with ume plum dressing, topped with garlic chips. This dish had many different flavours that worked great together. I especially liked the garlic chips.
Always popular, the Ebi Mayo ($8.80), world famous Kingyo Ebi-Mayo, deep fried prawn with chilli mayo sauce. Really large prawns dipped with the perfect amount of this spicy mayo. It tasted a bit different from other spicy mayos as I don't 'think' they used sriracha. The deep fry was nicely done so that I could eat the whole thing. I really liked it and got to eat two!
To quote the menu ($16): "Shio Koji - Saikyo Miso - Grilled Black Cod - Black cod is first prepared with an in house blend of Saikyo miso & shio koji, then it's grilled. Then you eat, then you smile." Shio Koji is a "steamed rice that has been innoculated with koji spores (Aspergillus oryzae) and incubated to allow the fungus to grow" and "fermented in salt". I did taste something funny in the sauce, but couldn't quite figure it out. Unfortunately we ate this a little cold and I felt like I've had better ones before.
Once again to quote the menu ($8.60): "Famous 'O-Sho Restaurant' Karaage with magic powder. Deep-fried chicken karaage from 'O-Sho' in Japan served with our magical pepper blend". When it was served the waitress emphasized how secret the sauce was and how only the chef knew what it contained. To me it tasted like a lot of salt. I liked the deep fried chicken and battter. The quantity was substantial considering the price, but Kitty thought it was too salty even without the extra magic powder.
Since they didn't have their full license the drinks were limited. We were really hoping to have some plum wine, but instead had to settle for some bottled Sapporo. Kitty tried a yuzu gin tonic ($8) and she said it really tasted strongly of yuzu and definitely not of lime or lemon.
The table setting was neat too, with the chopsticks in front like I experienced throughout Japan which I only notice after coming my trip there. The stone used to set the chopstick greatly impressed my dining mate Richard.
Tomorrow I'll post the rest of the meal!
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