It must be the week of new foodie districts on the blog! Earlier in the week we paid our very first visit to Fresh on Crawford, yesterday and the day before we explored a tiny part of Ossington Ave. and Ossington Village with an amazing Cuabn lunch at Delux, and today, we’re doing sushi for lunch on Mount Pleasant Road! Aside from my cupcake post on Lollicakes last Hallowe’en, I haven’t featured any yummies from the neighbourhood since. There are some fabulous cafes, sweet shops, gourmet food purveyors, and classic Italian restaurants in the area and while you wouldn’t automatically associate sushi with Mount Pleasant, I have found a great spot, one with a terrific sushi roll lunch special and a classic appetizer at a great price: Sakae Sushi!
Located at 643A on Mount Pleasant Rd., Sakae Sushi is an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant that serves both lunch and dinner with a separate, non AYCE menu. I actually found out about Sakae Sushi just by walking by and grabbing a take-out menu from the front entrance during a nice walk several months ago. I pored over the menu, realized they had a fab sushi roll lunch special 7 days a week, and had an epiphany about something very important and useful. I realized that with all the sushi take-out menus I had I could actually start price comparing and cross-referencing items from different sushi spots in the city.
We know many of them serve some of the same types of rolls and similar dishes, but how many of us truly know where the best bargain is between them all? I don’t think any of do because it’s virtually impossible to know the price points at every single sushi spot in town. But I know my method would at least narrow things down a little bit. And that’s how I came to the conclusion that, in addition to a great sushi roll lunch special, Sakae Sushi has one of the most reasonably priced classic appetizers around. It may not be the most inexpensive, but it’s definitely one of them. Which appetizer am I referring to? Why, the classic shrimp tempura of course!
Shrimp tempura, one of the simplest and most beloved sushi appetizers around, is oddly enough, not as readily available as one might think. Now obviously we’re not taking into account AYCE menus, we’re talking straight lunch, dinner, and a la carte menus. I LOVE shrimp tempura like nobody’s business, but so many places serve it along with tempura vegetables and not on their own and I always wished that I could order the shrimp by itself without the vegetable component just because I prefer my vegetables non-tempurafied.
Once I started cross-referencing items between menus, I discovered that there were a handful of places that served the appetizer on it own. YES! Now, all I had to do was figure out which one offered the best deal. Guess who came out on top? Sakae Sushi, with 5 giant, crunchy, delicious shrimp tempura for $6.50! Other places priced theirs for $8, some places didn’t offer as many pieces for the same price point, and so on. Their shrimp tempura is fantastic. They’re big, they’re perfectly fried (not greasy), and the shrimp is so soft and delicious. They come with a dish of ponzu sauce, but in all honesty, the sauce isn’t even necessary because they taste fab on their own.
Sakae Sushi also offers a number of lunch specials including grilled meat bento boxes and my favourite, sushi roll combos! One of the reasons why I like their sushi roll lunch special is because I get to mix and match and choose which rolls I want. For $7.50, the lunch special includes a miso soup, a salad, and your choice of two kinds of sushi rolls from a list of 13 with 6 of each kind. Sure, there are places that offer sushi roll lunch specials for $6.50 or $6.99, but like I said, the roll sets aren’t predetermined and the sizes of the rolls here are big and very reasonable. As well, their sushi roll selection is great in my opinion because they offer vegetarian options, you aren’t limited to california rolls in every single combo (my biggest pet peeve), and there are some rolls you can’t really get anywhere else.
I chose a tofu and avocado roll and – wait for this – a SPICY BBQ BUTTER FISH ROLL! I was SO excited to see this when I looked through their take-out menu in the beginning just because butter fish rolls aren’t something you find at many places and certainly not spicy BBQ varieties! I was really happy with the size of the rolls (one roll makes a veeery decent mouthful) and my rolls were delicious. The avocado was creamy, the tofu was savoury with a bit of sweet mixed in and the texture was wonderful as it resembled bean curd sheets.
The spicy BBQ butter fish rolls were A-MAZING! The butter fish wasn’t in its raw sashimi form but instead, grilled and incredibly flaky and meaty and delicious. Exactly like a grilled salmon fillet, but butter fish. The rolls were stuffed with flaky grilled fish, tempura bits, and sweet and savoury BBQ sauce in between it all. It had a little bit of kick, but for those of you who have a low tolerance for heat, no worries, it’s not light-my-mouth-and-butt on fire spicy. Lots of flavour and texture without the fire! This is a top notch roll and definitely one of the more unique ones in the city when it comes to lunch special offerings.
Ever since Haru Zushi by Yonge & Davisville left my heart broken when they packed up, I haven’t been able to find another sushi spot that let me mix and match rolls the way their menu allowed me to do – until now. Sakae Sushi is a lovely spot in a lovely neighbourhood and I’m going to be really happy going back for more. Especially for that awesome shrimp tempura.
Sakae Sushi is located at 643A Mount Pleasant Rd. at the corner of Hillsdale Ave. East on the east side of Mount Pleasant, south of Eglinton Ave. East. They are open 7 days a week for both lunch and dinner and offer AYCE for both. They are open from 11:30am-10pm from Monday to Friday and from 12 noon-10pm on weekends. They provide take-out and delivery, and you can view their official website HERE.