Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Yasu on Harbord: The Best Omakase in Toronto

Tucked in a narrow white room on Harbord Street, Osaka-raised chef-owner Yasuhisa Ouchi serenades his patrons with the best sushi in Toronto. 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." The chef can be found behind the bar night after night, carefully preparing each nigiri of the omakase meal, assisted by one or two sous chefs, with each course focusing on the freshest seafood flown in fresh from fish markets all over the globe. 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 only just-warm, vinegar-seasoned rice draped with superlative fish, made to order right in front of you and served one single bite at a time. 

Our favourite omakase in the city, the menu is Ouchi's choice of 20 impeccably fresh pieces of edomae sushi for $135 per person, which can include Striped Jack from Kyoto, Ocean Trout from Scotland, Uni from Hokkaido, Horse mackerel from Portugal and Unagi from Nagasaki and sublime hay smoked Bonito from Japan. The fish selection changes constantly, and the sake pairings, served in glasses cradled in a traditional wooden masu box, are a delightful trip through the various styles of Japanese rice wine and well worth the price. For sushi enthusiasts, 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 'oishii' every time.

Sous chef garnishing the oysters with tobiko and chopped scallions

The first Sake pairing of the evening, a Dassai 50 Junmai Daiginjo

Creamy, semi-dry, bright, lively and absolutely yummy

Premium Sea Urchin from Hokkaido, Japan

Chef Yasu's Premium Sashimi Plate with wild spot prawns from BC, bluefin tuna from Mexico, wild Japanese amberjack from Tokyo, scallop and uni from Hokkaido and Royal Miyagi oyster from BC

Royal Miyagi Oyster from the Strait of Georgia in British Columbia

Chef Yasuhisa Ouchi slicing the Japanese Striped Jack

Yoshinogawa Gokujo Ginjo Sake, our second pairing of the evening, and comes from the oldest 
brewery in the famed Sake producing region of Niigata Japan

Striped Jack from Japan

Tiny Sakura Shrimp in season from Shizuoka, Japan are also called 'Cherry Blossom' shrimp 

Chef Yasu garnishing the fluke sushi with seared fluke fin

Fluke with seared fluke fin

Horse Mackerel from Portugal

Dewazakura Dewano Sato Premium Junmai Sake from Yamagata, Japan

Rich and full bodied, this youthful dry-style Junmai Sake has a notes of bright fresh green apple and a delicious blend of subtle spice flavours

Ocean Trout from Scotland

Hay Smoked Bonito from Japan

Yasu sous chef preparing the Toro and Ikura bowls

Negitoro Bluefin Tuna from Mexico and Ikura Salmon Roe from Alaska

Homemade Fish Broth made from Japanese Striped Jack

Otokoyama Kimono Sake from Hokkaido

New Zealand Grouper with lemon juice and sea salt

Norwegian Mackerel with paper thin daikon wrap

Mexican Bluefin Tuna with homemade soy sauce

Lightly Seared Tuna Belly

Unagi Freshwater Eel from Nagasaki, Japan

Tsukasabortan Yamayuzu Shibori Sake, a yuzu infused pure sake from Kochi

A delicious and refreshing sake with an expansive fruity aroma of mountain yuzu

Tamagoyaki, a type of Japanese omelette made by rolling together several layers of cooked egg

Homemade black sesame iced cream

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