As a sushi lover from Ottawa, Toronto has long been regarded as Sushi Central of the East (comparable to Vancouver for the Canadians who live in Canada's wild, wild West). As such, when my companion and I were in Toronto, we were definitely going to search for the best sushi restaurant Toronto had to offer. I had wanted something a little more "high-end" for our only dinner in Toronto, something similar to the fine-dining sushi experience we had at Japonais Bistro back in Edmonton. After perusing Urbanspoon, I settled on Blowfish (specifically the one on Bay Street). From the website and online menu, Blowfish seemed to have everything my companion and I were looking for on our dinner date: it featured modern contemporary decor with eye-catching neon lights throughout the restaurant and a menu full of interesting modern- and fusion-twists on classic sushi dishes. As soon as we sat down, our waiter filled our glasses to the brim with water and handed each of us a menu. She returned moments later with a hot, complimentary bowl of salted edamame which I appreciated. The edamame was warm, well-salted, and well-cooked though nothing special; I still think I would have preferred a bowl of hot miso soup to start off my meal as opposed to a bowl of edamame.
As I perused the menu, I noticed two things about Blowfish: 1) the clientèle were quite well-dressed, suggesting Blowfish was definitely a popular venue for business parties and special occasions alike and 2) there was a definite lack of both Asian clientèle and Asian service, which was a bit disconcerting, as that is what I use as one of my primary "once-overs" to judge the quality of the sushi meal. The menu was not as extensive as I was hoping, but had fairly interesting options otherwise. For our dinner, we decided to go with Salmon Sashimi in Miso, Lotus-steamed Lobster + Shrimp Dumpling, Red Hot Curry Salmon, Battered Tuna, and Golden King Crab.
The restaurant was fairly empty when we entered and I was expecting the food to come out rather quickly (the next stop on our Toronto tour was the CN Tower, and we wanted to catch all the attractions after all). It wasn't a long wait, but definitely longer than what I would have expected for a relatively empty restaurant (though, to their credit the restaurant did start filling up quite quickly after 7:30PM and the later dishes actually arrived in a reasonable amount of time). The first dish we started with was the Salmon Sashimi in Miso which was topped with red onion and peas. It's one of the newer items on the Blowfish menu and subsequently is not listed on their online menu. The salmon was actually a nice thickness and had great flavour from the miso sauce. The peas and red onion also gave a surprising crunch to what would have otherwise been just salmon in miso sauce. This dish was easily our favourite dish of the night and was a delightful start to what we anticipated would be an equally delightful meal.
|Salmon Sashimi in Miso|
|Red Hot Curry Salmon Makimono|
|Golden King Crab Makimoro|
|Lotus-steamed Lobster + Shrimp Dumpling|
Blowfish is a trendy restaurant, with great decor and a very chic atmosphere - great for business parties and that "dinner-before-a-night-out-on-the-town." The service was fairly average, though not lacking by any means. In terms of the actual food itself, I was fairly unimpressed; the sushi was for the most part not filling, and focused more on being trendy than actually being tasty. Unlike my companion (who is a hardcore sushi traditionalist), I occasionally like the fusion twists and am fairly adventurous when trying new sushi. However, Blowfish takes the fusion-aspect one step too far, and they really lose a lot of the natural flavours - like the freshness, the fish, the simplicity - that make sushi one of my favourite types of cuisine. Definitely not what I was looking for on my search for The Best Sushi in Toronto.
Top Pick of the Night: Salmon Sashimi in Miso