The Keys to My Heart: Salmon Sashimi Salad Rolls, Spicy Tuna Salad Rolls & Scallop Nuggets at Sushi Garden!

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A realization just dawned on me: I’ve eaten sushi 3 times this week.  THREE TIMES!  Once for lunch and twice for dinner.  I haven’t done that in ages.  Eating sushi 3 times within a week that is.  And funny enough I didn’t even plan on having sushi this week – it just happened.  My mum bought some giant sumomaki rolls with crispy tempura, shrimp, lettuce, avocado and red fish roe for dinner on Tuesday, then I spontaneously decided to have some for dinner when I was out on Friday because the salmon lovers sushi box was beckoning me, and then yesterday my best friend and I ditched our soup-and-sandwich lunch plans in favour of bento boxes and yummy rolls with spicy mayo sauce.

It’s been a wonderfully delicious sushi week.

I haven’t posted about my sushi noshing adventures in what feels like forever but trust me when I say that I sushi and I are as tight as ever.  I’ve started an “I Love Sushi” photo gallery on Ate by Ate’s Facebook page, I have some new posts in the works with brand spankin’ new photos, and today, Ate by Ate is back to its sushi-loving ways with a post about one of my all-time FAVOURITE sushi menu items in the city – salmon sashimi salad rolls from Sushi Garden at Yonge & Wellesley!

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You know something’s captured your heart when you feel compelled to order it every single time you make a return visit to a place.  This is a HUGE deal for me because everyone knows how anal I am about trying something new and not ordering “repeats” if I can help it; after all, if I always ordered the same thing, how on earth would I ever have new content to post about and photograph?  Even if I do order something I’ve eaten before, I always feel like I should order a little something extra on the side, just to make the visit worthwhile in the context of the blog.

Yes, I’m anal and nuts.  But I know y’all love me anyway despite my quirks!

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The salmon sashimi salad rolls from Sushi Garden at Yonge & Wellesley get to me every single time though.  I love them THAT much and they are THAT amazing and yummy.  And they’re pretty darn exclusive!  They’re only available at 2 out of the 3 Sushi Garden locations in the city (the Yonge & Wellesley location and the one by Yonge & St. Clair, not at the Yonge & Eglinton one) and I have yet to see the same thing at any other sushi place.  And if you can believe it, the very first time I had this was back in 2009.  Yes, nearly 4 years ago!  I just never posted about them because I didn’t have a good photo of them.  That and there was another time where I didn’t get a photo of them, period.  I know, foreshame.  Good things come with time though so they’re here now ready to make a big sushi splash!

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These salad rolls, or salmon sashimi with vegetables as they’re referred to in the menu (4 for $6.99, 6 for $8.99) are comprised of thick, delicious, velvety soft slices of salmon sashimi wrapped around julienned cucumber, fish roe, and giant chunks of creamy avocado.  I could eat these endlessly, they are SO good!  They’re super thick and they truly don’t skimp on the salmon sashimi.  I love them not only because they’re delicious but also because they’re a nice change from the maki rolls with rice.  They have such a fresh, bright taste to them and they’re a little less heavy in comparison to other menu items (like rice and noodles and such), so they’re a great dish to pair with an appetizer or another set of rolls.  Because truthfully, salmon, tuna, and butter fish are my favourites so if there’s any menu item that will give me a generous helping of either of those 3 (or all 3), I’m all over it like peanut butter on jelly.  It’s the reason why I love sushi pizzas so much!

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During this particular visit to Sushi Garden, I paired my salmon sashimi salad rolls with spicy tuna salad rolls (4 for $5.99) and shared the scallop nuggets appetizer with spicy sauce with my sweetheart.  The spicy tuna salad rolls are rice and nori rolls filled with tuna, avocado, and spicy mayo but the difference is, all the rolls are wrapped with another layer of thinly sliced cucumber, making these rolls another great fresh and bright tasting alternative.

And the scallop nuggets!  If you love seafood, and especially scallops, you will LOVE this appetizer!  The scallop nuggets (5 for $3.99) are breaded and crispy on the outside and meaty and juicy on the inside.  They’re like scallop coins or medallions sitting daintily on a bed of lettuce with a generous portion of spicy mayo sauce.  And I do mean SPICY!  I find that many the spicy mayo at different sushi places have varying degrees of heat but let me tell you, this one is HOT!  It’s delicious but boy does this sauce ever clear up your sinuses and make your eyes water!  It is definitely not for the faint of heart but perfect for those who love heat.

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Even though I had this meal in the dead of winter, the colours and flavours scream spring and freshness so let’s hope our spring season starts sooner rather than later!  I’m working on some new sushi things for the spring and summer so enjoy this sushi comeback and indulge your cravings by checking out the gallery on Ate by Ate’s Facebook page!

*****

Sushi Garden serves 3 locations in Toronto:

  1. 1560 Yonge Street, at the corner of Yonge & Heath Street (in Delisle Court), closest major intersection being Yonge & St. Clair.
  2. 30 Eglinton Ave. West between Yonge Street and Duplex Ave.
  3. 3 Wellesley Street West. at the corner of Yonge & Wellesley

Wooden Sushi Planks and Japanese Porcelain: Rolls and The Famous Spicy Salmon Don at Tokyo Sushi – Part I

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It feels like eons since I last made a sushi post and writing about it now feels like a lovely breath of fresh air! 😀  Each time I go out for sushi I find something new to love and something new to get excited about.  Tokyo Sushi, located at 33 St. Joseph Street in downtown Toronto, was a discovery that was a mix of both accidental and meant to be and I have my friend Sally to thank for this!  With hectic school and work schedules and life in general, everyone really has to make a conscious effort to carve time out for friends.  It’s not something that falls in our lap, nor is is something that we should take for granted. 

So when Sally and I were figuring out a date, time, and place to do lunch, Tokyo Sushi seemed like a great choice: easily accessible because of its proximity to Bay Street and c’mon, it’s sushi!  Like I would kick up a fuss about that!  And then I had a lightbulb moment: why not make it a regular lunch outing?  Some girl-time with a close friend and sushi on a regular basis?  Genius!  You all know how passionate I am about food and how I truly believe it plays a role in creating and sustaining relationships.  I have grown to love Tokyo Sushi very much over the last few months and I am thrilled that Sally and I have made it into a regular thing for us.

I really didn’t know what to expect before my first visit to Tokyo Sushi.  They don’t have a website and although that doesn’t particularly buzz my biscuits, I know A LOT of people get annoyed when they can’t look up a business or restaurant online.  Although I understand how some could get frustrated by that, I’m honestly not that bothered by it and so long as I can find it on a map, I’m a happy camper.  There were some online reviews of Tokyo Sushi on some Toronto dining forums and message boards, but I take the reviews with a grain of salt.  This is partly because online reviews on message boards can be outdated and also partly because you honestly don’t know the face behind the voice.  For all we know, a bad review could have been written by a disgruntled business owner down the street whose business has been affected by the restaurant in question. 

One of the reasons why I make an effort to blog about some of my favourite places multiple times is because I want to show continuity over time.  I want things to stay relevant, whether I posted about them last year or three years from now.  And also because this blog, to me, is so much more than a “review platform”.  I really don’t see it as that and I don’t see myself as a critic.  What I strive to show through my food blogging is my story-telling through scrapbooking and the sense of community, love, and relationship-building that food brings to the table every time.  Having said all this, there was definitely one common opinion among all online reviewers and my friend Sally though: the spicy salmon don is awesome and a MUST for those who eat at Tokyo Sushi.  And I would have to agree 😀  It is SO good and that is quite different in presentation and interpretation from other Japanese sushi bars.

For those who are unfamiliar with what a salmon don is, the concept of the dish is simple: fish on top of rice.  When you order any dish ending with the word “don”, in essence that is what you are ordering.  The only difference between dishes is the type of fish, sashimi, or meat.  Tokyo sushi offers a number of lunch specials that are served from 11am-3pm and many come with a miso soup and a green salad.  Their famous spicy salmon don is listed in their list of lunch specials and goes for $9.95 and it is filling and satisfying.  I’ve eaten here a number of times now and I’ve tried both the spicy salmon don AND the spicy tuna don and they are both so delicious.

Their spicy salmon don is different from others because tradtionally, the sashimi is sliced and laid on top of the rice.  At Tokyo Sushi, you get a nice big bowl of white rice covered with chopped and cubed salmon sashimi with flaked tempura and shredded lettuce and seaweed, all mixed together with a little bit of their special sauce which I can only describe as some delicious form of Japanese mayo.  It is creamy and yummy and all you want to do is shove chopstick full after chopstick full of salmon and rice and lettuce in your mouth.  The spiciness isn’t over the top but there’s just enough heat to give the dish a nice kick.  The shredded lettuce gives the dish a bit of cool freshness and crunch, and the salmon sashimi is smooth and buttery in texture, just the way it should be.  

Although I also adore the rolls I’ve ordered from here (which I’ll be blogging about tomorrow in my Part II segment!), their spicy salmon don is truly their shiny gem and Sally would agree with me because she orders it every time we go to lunch 😀  Oh, and spicy tuna don, pictured below?  Same story, only with chopped and cubed tuna sashimi and a dollar more than the spicy salmon don.  YUM x eleventy billion!

*****

Tokyo Sushi is located at 33 St. Joseph Street, which is just north of Wellesley St. and just east of Bay St.  They are open for lunch at 11am and offer a number of lunch specials served from 11am-3pm.  Look for my Part II post tomorrow for a slew of maki roll pictures as well as a lengthy write-up including a discussion of prices and seating in the restaurant.

Scrapbook materials used: emerald green, pale yellow, buttercup yellow cardstock (Recollections); patterned paper (The Green Tea stack by DCWV); black and white polka dot alphabet stickers (atd by momenta); party sushi stickers (TheTinyFig.com); puffy sushi stickers (Cumberland Terrace shopping mall);  paper corner rounder (ek success).

Special thanks to Sarah from LoSo for the adorable party sushi stickers, and a special thanks to Sally for being my friend and my foodie partner-in-crime 🙂