Fit For a King and Queen…Or Maybe Just a Brother and Sister – Rolls, Rolls, and More Rolls at The Sushi Shop

2 Comments

Oh sushi, how I’ve missed you.  Well, blogging about you anyway because I actually ate some last week!  These pictures were taken on a very special day during the first week of March.  If you’ve been reading and following my blog, I know you’re probably thinking that sushi is very commonplace in my foodie world and EVERY sushi adventure is awesome for me.  And that’s true, but this meal was different because I enjoyed it with my mum and my brother during my brother’s spring break. 

Let it be known that my younger brother and I, as close as we are, are very different in personality.  He’s four and a half years my junior, he’s one of my best friends in life, and we couldn’t be more different.  I am the chatty, bubbly, independent artsy fartsy one who loves going out.  He is the shy, quiet homebody who loves the comfort of home.  He looooves it when we go out as a family, but unlike me, he would never venture out on his own for the sake of it.  I, on the other hand, will arbitrarily pick a subway station off the map, get off, and walk around without knowing what the heck is around the area.  So when I told him that I wanted to take him out for a day on the town during his spring break, he was mega excited. 

I took him and my mum to my favourite sushi place, The Sushi Shop, and we had ourselves a maki roll par-tay!  I recommended some of my favourites (the salmon with green onion as well as the smoked salmon, avocado, and cream cheese Vancouver rolls that I love so dearly!) and ordered some I hadn’t yet pigged out on (the spicy tuna, tempura, and avocado 911 rolls, and the Ebik maki with shrimp, tempura, avocado, and cucumber rolled in red masago).  I loved it, they loved it, and we “mmmed” our way through a whole platter of amazing sushi rolls.

This was a fun day, just for us.  My dad isn’t into sushi rolls, so it worked out quite nicely.  No guilt for going without him on our part!  It’s something that we don’t get to do as often as we’d like.  Our lives are hectic and we’re constantly pulled into different directions.  My dad is work, my brother and I are both at school and have mountains of work to attend to, I’m not always home for dinner, and my mum runs the household and has a gazillion things on her never-ending to-do list.  I know how hard-working my brother is and I know how he doesn’t get to do a lot of “fun” things during the school year, so it was important to me to make sure he had one super fun day during his week off.  Call it sisterly love.  We love sushi and my mum and brother love going downtown with me, so it was win-win for everyone.

Even though my brother is 21, he is still very much a baby brother to me.  He came home with the biggest smile on his face and with so much excitement and happiness from our day out.  We got some fresh air, we walked around till our feet were going to fall off, and I introduced parts of the city to my mum and brother they were completely unaware of.  I was so happy that they had enjoyed the day.  And my mum pulled me aside at the end of the night and said, “You made your brother so happy.  He said today was one of the best days ever.  I’m so proud of you”.  I smiled and nodded, blinking back a few tears.  Just doing what any good sister would do.  Fill the tummy and fill the heart ❤

*****

The Sushi Shop is located at the intersection of Yonge and Carlton St. (3 Carlton St.), with 2 other take-out locations serving the downtown core, one being in the GO train station concourse and the other near Maple Leaf Square at 25 York St (closed Saturday and Sunday).  According to Google map, there is also a location on Bloor St. E at 175 Bloor St.E (Saturday and Sunday closed as well).    

Advertisements

The Dizzying Array of Choices at Sushi on Bloor! Salmon Crunch & Spicy Tuna Crunch Rolls

2 Comments

I am not joking with my post title.  Other than Queen Street West, if sushi restaurants and bars were people, Bloor Street West would have to be one of the most densely populated!  Walking westbound from Spadina to Bathurst, you literally pass by a different sushi establishment every four shops.  I kid you not.  And yes, if you are wondering, I have already been to several *whistles innocently*.  Surprise, surprise.  Given how many sushi places are in this area though, it’s going to take me quite some time to make my rounds, especially considering how large many of the menus are these places!  What I have for you today is some food porn from Sushi on Bloor (how appropriately named!), located at 515 Bloor St. W. (west of Spadina, east of Bathurst).

Now, with so many sushi places in the city to nosh at, it can get dizzying and you start wondering what sets each place apart from the rest.  Thus far I’ve posted about Haru Zushi and The Sushi Shop, as well as some thoughts on some decent maki rolls from T&T supermarket, Promenade Mall location.  Besides freshness and great customer service, Haru Zushi sells itself with terrific prices and variety for lunch specials, and The Sushi Shop impresses with their creativity and interpretation of ingredients for their rolls.

Sushi on Bloor is fab for several things in particular.  First, the sheer number of menu items on the menu would send anyone into a tizzy.  There are nearly 150 menu items!  Aside from their daily lunch specials which include maki combinations and bento boxes, their menu is broken down into maki rolls, vegetarian maki, nigiri and handrolls a la carte, sashimi combos, soup and salads, appetizers, teriyaki meat dishes, tempura and rice meals, noodles and udon bowls, and bento boxes among others.  In addition, the prices are very reasonable for a sushi bar and restaurant.  Many items hover around the $5-$8 price range which makes it easy to mix and match and is an ideal place for either lunch or dinner.  Or both!

Just a word of warning though: Sushi on Bloor is open for business 7 days a week at 12 noon, as opposed to Haru Zushi which opens at 11am and The Sushi Shop which opens at 10-11am depending on the location.  On weekdays during the busy lunch rush, you better be there at 12 sharp.  12:15 if you’re pushing it.  This place isn’t very big and it gets PACKED!  There are literally line-ups out the door and hungry sushi lovers even claim their place in line a little before 12 noon to make sure they have a lunch spot.

Everyone has different meal preferences when it comes to sushi restaurants.  My best friend prefers bento boxes whereas I stick to maki rolls, hand rolls, and appetizers.  My brother, my mum, and my boyfriend all enjoy teriyaki while I steer clear and would much rather nosh on a bowl of udon noodles.  My favourite things about Sushi on Bloor have to be their avocado and dynamite roll (rolls with tempura shrimp) lunch special ($5.99 for soup, salad, and 12 giant rolls, 6 of each), their maki roll selection (I could eat my way through their maki menu every single day because they’re just that delicious), and their hand rolls.

 

The rolls are BIG!  The size of rolls at Sushi on Bloor are always consistently on the larger size which, in my opinion, is a great thing.  The last thing you want to feel is disappointed.  The kind of disappointed you feel when you finish your meal and you wonder what the heck you’ve eaten because you can’t feel it in your tummy.  However you may feel about the sushi and the food, everyone can agree that the sizes of the rolls don’t disappoint.

Their hand rolls are also on the larger side and their salmon hand roll is fantastic.  The roll is the size of small burrito (I like to think of hand rolls as sushi tacos) and the salmon sashimi is sliced nice and thick and absolutely scrumptious.  I really enjoy the salmon at Sushi on Bloor because it has this wonderful, melt-in-your-mouth buttery texture and it’s served at the right temperature.  Some places make the mistake of either serving it lukewarm or freezing cold and neither of these qualities make the salmon taste good.  

Thus far, I have tried these rolls from Sushi on Bloor:

  1. Avocado and tempura shrimp rolls daily lunch combo (12 rolls, 6 of each)
  2. Casa Loma Roll (unagi/eel, avocado, tobiko/fish roe, and cream cheese – 8 rolls)
  3. Spicy Tuna Roll (6 rolls)
  4. Crunchy Roll (pictured; salmon, avocado, tobiko, tempura bits, mayo – 8 rolls)
  5. Spicy Tuna Crunchy Roll (pictured; tuna, avocado, tobiko, tempura bits, mayo – 8 rolls)
  6. Tuna Salad Roll (tuna and ginger wrapped with cucumber with dollops of mayo – 4 rolls)

My favourites?  Both types of Crunchy Roll, salmon and tuna, hands down.  Not only am I in love with the way the salmon and tuna melt in your mouth with the avocado, but the tempura bits make these rolls outstanding!  My next favourite would have to be the Casa Loma roll because the savouriness of the unagi just melts into the creamy, tangy cream cheese and anything and everything with cream cheese floats my boats.  My only misgiving about the Casa Loma roll is just a desire for more cream cheese!  Call it personal preference, call it a cream cheese obsession, I would love to have more of it in the roll!  I thoroughly enjoy it though and I’m really looking forward to trying other rolls!  The selection of rolls and appetizers alone will keep me occupied here for many meals to come. 

*****

Sushi on Bloor is located at 515 Bloor Street West between Spadina Ave. and Bathurst Street on the south side of Bloor.  Sushi on Bloor is closer to Bathurst Street, just west of Howland Ave.  They are open 7 days a week at 12pm and they also offer take-out.

I Bite My Thumb at You – The Undoing of a Sushi Snob

7 Comments

I admit it: I’m a sushi snob.  I enjoy eating at sit-down places with nice atmosphere and cute plates and beautiful presentations of food (dude, how else do you explain my snap happiness??).  I love the excitement of going to an old-favourite and being  comforted by the people around me and the familiar menu, as well as new places I’ve never stepped foot in for that rush of anticipation just as your plate is set down before you.  And cucumber rolls?  Please, I am not paying whatever I’m paying to eat the least adventurous maki roll on the face of this earth.  However, when something tastes really good, it doesn’t matter where you’re eating it.  I can sit in a cave and be happy with the food that I love.  Point is, we all have our preferences for where we like to eat, what type of environment we like to eat in, and certain places and circumstances we swear  we won’t ever succumb ourselves to.  

Ask anyone: I’m very “meh” when it comes to sushi served in supermarkets and/or mall food courts.  Often, the rice is either too hard, too cold, or the ingredients inside are being buried alive by rice to the point where you might as well consider your meal a starch compenent to your day and nothing more.  But, but…the scrapbook pages show sushi from MAC Sushi and T&T!  That’s right, your sushi queen over here has been knocked down a peg and quite content about that, actually.  When you find something yummy, you hold on to it for dear life and what’s yummy are these rolls right here.  I’m spoiled because I have 3 T&T supermarkets that are fairly accessible to me and let me tell you from experience, if you want a lovely selection of sushi, GO TO THE T&T PROMENADE MALL LOCATION! (in Thornhill, intersection of Bathurst St. and Centre St.).  Don’t go too early though as they won’t be ready with everything; show up around noon-ish and you’ll be good to go. 

Remember how I said I love the way sushi places have different interpretations of their maki?  And how I’ve had tuna (spicy and non-spicy) about 6 different ways?  This is one of them.  T&T serves their spicy tuna in a set of 8 with chunks of tabago and green onions/scallions sprinkled on top.  It’s delicious and you’ll notice a difference in the rice as well as the tuna as the tobiko and spicy sauce is mixed in the tuna, rather than bring sprinkled or drizzled on top, for example.  And lordy, don’t get me started on how much I love the sunrise rolls.  Salmon sashimi makes me wiggle with delight and the sunrise roll consists of 6 salmon sashimi rolls (or roses as they’re sometimes referred to) with crab meat salad inside, as well as slivers of avocado and tabago on  top.  Like my scrapbook says, it is heaven in your mouth as the soft sashimi just melts in it.

And finally, we have the ever attractive Rainbow roll from MAC Sushi, Scarborough Town Centre location.  I thank the ceiling windows in the food court for allowing for at least half decent photos!  Avocado, cucumber, and crab meat (think California roll) surrounded by a cozy blanket of avocado and salmon sashimi.  Not too shabby at all, especially when you go closer to the evening rush when everything is marked down half price 😀 

Really, that’s part of the fun of exploring food: learning what works for you and what doesn’t, and growing as a person because of it.  Opening yourself up to things you wouldn’t normally eat, or to things you think you hate but end up loving at another time can honestly introduce you to some of the greatest eats of your life.