Here’s a little cocktail party trivia you may not know about me: I love reading take-out menus. If places have them, I grab’ em. I have so many that I bought a take-out menu organizer to keep them all neat and tidy. I KNOW. A take-out menu organizer! The stationery fanatic in me was over the moon when I stumbled on it at the Sears outlet by the 404 and Don Mills last year (I find the strangest things in the most unlikely of places and it makes me giddy) and actually, now that I think about it, the organizer could use a bit of tidying up because I kind of added another small pile to the mix *whistles*. It’s so much fun to go through a take-out menu (especially a sushi menu!) and circle all the items I would hypothetically want to stuff my face in. Sometimes I even daydream about what I would eat during my next visit. It’s like being an 8-year-old with a toy catalogue and circling everything you want for Christmas in bright red marker. Only in my case, it’s food 😀
After passing by Avocado Sushi near Bay and Charles St. for the upteenth time, I finally stopped to snatch a take-out menu from the pile attached to the outdoor menu board. Everything changed after I took that take-out menu. My sushi world was flipped upside down and inside out as a I discovered what a ninny I was for not having eaten here sooner!
I unfolded the menu brochure and found out that I COULD BUILD MY OWN SUSHI ROLLS AND CHOOSE ALL MY OWN FILLINGS AND INGREDIENTS!!! I just had to shout that from the rooftop because my sushi dreams have come true because of this revelation! Not only does Avocado Sushi boast a number of maki combos, bento boxes, appetizers, and individual sets of rolls, but they also offer something very, VERY special: the chance to build your own “salad sensation” bowl, or your very own custom-made set of of maki rolls! Each set of build-your-own-maki comes with 10 rolls and sets start at $7.95.
As my eyes were roaming up and down the list of ingredients on the menu, I couldn’t believe how much choice there was! Now I know what some of you might be thinking. If the set of rolls start at $7.95 for the 10 pieces, the total price will end up sky-rocketing if you add the littlest thing, right? Nope. I was in conniptions when I realized just how much I could stuff in my sushi rolls and still have it for $7.95!
You can choose up to 7 ingredients in the first list, which includes BOTH veggie and meat options, at no extra charge. Think yams, shittake mushrooms, avocado, asparagus, crab meat, salmon sashimi, and grilled salmon amongst others, as well as other goodies such as tempura bits and tobiko. Then, on top of all that, you get to choose a sauce for your sushi rolls from a list of 6 options. The 2nd and 3rd lists are add-ons for $1, $2, and $3 where you’ll find yummies like smoked salmon, deep-friend shrimp, soft-shell crab, cheese, and others. Given how much I adore building my own “specially” made meals (hello, Fresh and Freshii!), you can imagine how happy all of this made me! I started circling menu items and building my own sushi roll set in my head over a week before I actually went to eat there!
So, what makes this meal worthy of being in the Fall Harvest Series? Avocado Sushi has Japanese PUMPKIN! Well, specifically, kampyo which is a type of Japanese dried gourd which comes in strips. This was the first time I had seen kampyo on a sushi menu, so there was no way I was passing up the chance to try it and subsequently, feature it on the blog in the Fall Harvest Series! To fill my 10-piece sushi roll set, I chose kampyo, avocado, asparagus, shittake mushrooms, green onions, crunchy tempura bits, cream cheese (add-on for $1), and spicy mayo.
Oh my gosh everyone, you need to come here and build your own rolls and eat them silly because they are so delicious. The maki rolls are nice and big and really soft and I was SO happy with the combination that I chose because everything was savoury and fresh. I had a little bit of everything going on: the crunch from the tempura bits and asparagus, the creaminess from the avocado and cream cheese, and the meshing of sweet and savoury happening with the kampyo and mushrooms. The kampyo had a very subtle sweetness to it and the texture was exactly what I would expect from a gourd, squash, or pumpkin: very soft and a tiny bit stringy. I knew you all wouldn’t be able to see the kampyo from the photos of the rolls untouched, go I lifted a piece of it out to show y’all!
The presentation was lovely (hell yes to the drizzling of spicy mayo!) and I would eat here again in a heartbeat. I feel so lame for having not eaten here earlier (you know me and my sushi), but I was so happy with my food and the service that the wait was worth it. I had fun taking photos (Ooo, red and green decor with a pair of wooden shutters and blossom branches!), the people who work here are so incredibly nice, and what makes the deal even sweeter is the student discount! Show them student ID and you’ll receive a 10% discount off your bill.
Avocado Sushi is located in the heart of downtown Toronto (it’s on Bay Street! If that’s not downtown central, I don’t know what is!) and is easily accessible by public transit which works perfectly for me because I’m eating here again. Nothing like build-your-own-sushi to get those creative and hunger juices going 😀
Avocado Sushi is located at 1105 Bay Street just south of Charles Street (which is just south of Bloor St. West). They are open 7 days a week from 11am-10pm. Receive a 10% discount when you show your student ID!