Monday, March 5, 2018

Yasu: Omakase Seafood Bliss on Harbord

Omakase comes from the Japanese word "trust" and involves trusting the selection of the meal and its preparations to the skill and sensibilities of the chef. It allows the chef to choose the freshest ingredients and add their own artistic flair. Careful attention by the Itamae or sushi chef, in selecting the fish and it's presentation. Tucked in a narrow white room on Harbord Street, Osaka-raised chef-owner Yasuhisa Ouchi delivers glistening sushi, one delectable piece at a time, to 10 guests seated at his marble-topped bar, Yasu. The city's first sushi-only omakase restaurant, Yasuhisa's edict is simple — "In a global world where borders are becoming seamless, Toronto can now have access to the freshest seafood like what we have in Japan. Yasu took this opportunity to return to the roots of sushi, in which simplicity was the key ingredient in bringing out the taste of the sea. He uses classical methods to draw out the umami of seafood, with fish that is freshly sliced and placed atop warm, loose rice then brushed with a touch of nikiri soy for a perfectly balanced bite. In short, Yasu is all about capturing the essence of sushi. Seasonal ingredients are prepared at the sushi bar and served immediately for maximum flavour and freshness, for a true omakase sushi experience, served over freshly made vinegar-seasoned rice draped with succulent fish, made right in front of you and served one single bite at a time.

My favourite Japanese omakase in Toronto, the prix-fixe menu is Ouchi's choice of 20 impeccably fresh pieces of edomae sushi for $110 per person, which can include Striped Jack from Kyoto, Red Shrimp from Argentina, Lobster from Nova Scotia, Fluke from Hokaido and Horse Mackerel from Portugal. The Marinated Bluefin Tuna from Mexico literally melts in the mouth and the Uni from Vancouver sublime. The fish selection changes constantly. For sushi devotees, Yasu is an experience unlike like any other. Place yourself in chef Yasu's hands, and you'll leave in a blissful state of sushi euphoria every time.

The chef preparing housemade wasabi for the sashimi platter

Premium sashimi plate with Kushi oyster from BC, Nova Scotia lobster, uni and scallop from Hokkaido, amberjack from Japan, and tuna from Mexico

Kushi oyster from BC

Shirako from Hokkaido, is the milt, or raw sperm sacs of male cod 
and actually melts in the mouth like butter

Ikura from Hokkaido with fatty tuna from Mexico on rice, topped with finely sliced scallions

The omakase sushi are prepared and served one piece at a time

Monkfish liver (Ankimo) from Boston with minced daikon and ponzu on rice and shiso leaf

Striped Jack from Japan

A very nice Japanese fellow sitting next to me offered me a glass of the Loveblock Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, that he and his friends were drinking

Fluke with fin from Hokkaido

Preparing the Fairy Squid Sushi

Fairy Squid with miso from Hyogo, Japan

Cured Mackerel from Norway with shaved daikon

Bluefin Fatty Tuna

Chef preparing the uni

Uni from Vancouver

Red Shrimp from Argentina

Chef slicing the Bluefin tuna from Mexico

Bluefin very fatty tuna from Mexico

Horse Mackerel from Portugal

Sea eel (Anago) with yuzu zest from Nagasaki, Japan

Housemade Tamago

Housemade Black Sesame Iced Cream

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