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

Salmon Sashimi, Crispy Rice, & Special Mayo Sauces – Let’s Talk Sushi Pizza!

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A photo tribute to one of my all-time favourite sushi dishes, the salmon sushi pizza!  Even though Sushi Time is more expensive than other spots in the city by about 25 to 50 cents ($7.25), it’s always one of my go-to dishes whenever I come.  I’ve had their salmon sushi pizza three times already!  Which is saying a lot considering I hate and try to avoid ordering the same thing over and over again at places I love and go back to.  The blog would be one huge snooze fest if I did that! 

Their sushi pizza gets to me every time though.  With its breaded, crispy rice (the sushi “pizza” is cut into 6 pieces), mayo sauce, and super thick slices of salmon sashimi with sesame seeds and green onions sprinkled on top, it is so, so good and one of the meals that truly inspired me to scrapbook my food photos and photograph food seriously.  It played a big part in my very first sushi experience in the city downtown and I’ll forever remember it as the moment my eyes and tastebuds were opened to so much more.

If you can believe it, the very first time I had sushi pizza was at an all-you-can-eat buffet in Scarborough about 5 years ago!  Up until that point I had no idea such a thing existed and my mum and I were so ecstatic when we found this adorable and delicious sushi concoction!  I’ve tried many different sushi pizzas over the years, both at AYCE spots and regular ones and the one at Sushi Time on Queen West still remains my favourite.        

All sushi pizzas have different toppings and different ways of utilizing and displaying them on the crispy rice pizza base, but they always have tobiko and special mayo sauce of some sort, sprinkled and drizzled on top.  Some places will chop and dice the salmon sashimi and mix it with some spicy sauce to form a salmon salad while others will include diced veggies or use different kinds types of sauces like thousand island style dressing, barbeque, or sweet teriyaki.  They come in a a variety of different kinds with salmon, tuna, BBQ eel, and eggplant being the most common.  I’ve only ever had salmon sushi pizza, so I’m dying to try tuna and eggplant the most. 

If you love sushi pizza as much as I do, feel free to share your favourites around the city!   For those of you looking for a fabulous deal and bang for your buck, you absolutely have to try the salmon and crab sushi pizza from Big Sushi in the Annex!  The next time I go I promise to get more and better photos, but in a nutshell, theirs is truly a meal-size dish ($7.50) and the salmon sashimi, shredded crab meat, and avocado slices are loaded on making it almost more like a pie than a little sushi pizza! 

And if you’re having sushi pizza from Ginza, be sure to order it without the diced red onion.  The diced red and green bell peppers delight me, but the red onion takes away from the pizza and it’s much better off without it.  My dear friend Aamer swears by the sushi pizza at Sushi Sky and I am mega curious about the tuna pizza at Yonge Sushi just south of York Mills on Yonge Street, so we’ll see how those ones measure up!  In the meantime, if you enjoy sushi but have never tried sushi pizza before, you should.  It it one of the funnest, most enjoyable things to eat, ever.


Sushi Time is located at 325 Queen St. West near the corner of John St. and Queen West.  Situated between University and Spadina Ave., Sushi Time is on the south side of Queen and are open for business at 12pm, 7 days a week.  You can view their menu in PDF form at their temporary website HERE.

The Sushi Lunch Special Series – Shrimp Tempura & Spicy BBQ Butter Fish Rolls at Sakae Sushi on Mount Pleasant!

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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.


Double The Salmon, Double The YUM! – Tempura Salmon & Twin Salmon Sushi Rolls at The Sushi Shop

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How exciting is it when your favourite sushi place introduces new menu items?  VERY!  😀  You all know how much I love The Sushi Shop and how I can eat their maki rolls till the sun comes up.  One of the many reasons why I enjoy eating here so much has to do with their consistent way of churning out new rolls and creative combinations.  Now that’s not to say that old stand-bys aren’t great; on the contrary, discontinuing best sellers and favourites is a big no-no for diehards like myself who would most likely cry or whimper about it on the subway ride back home. 

It’s really fun though to open up the menu to discover that there are FOUR new kinds of rolls you’ve never seen and tried before!  So long as they keep doing what they do best, it’s all in good fun and it keeps things fresh.  I loved the way they incorporated Valentine’s Day into their sushi by creating their Sweetheart sushi rolls in the shape of two halves of a heart put together.  It was just too cute and so creative and, lucky for me, they decided to add it to their permanent menu of rolls alongside their newest additions.

Not too long ago during spring, The Sushi Shop rolled out (no pun intended, ha!) a slew of new sushi rolls to add to their existing menu and being the sushi roll crazed girl that I am, I jumped at the chance to try some of them out.  They added

  • 1) the Volcano Sumomaki
  • 2) the Tokyo Sumomaki
  • 3) Tempura Tekka Hosomaki (tempura mixed with tuna) and finally,
  • 4) the Tempura Syake Hosomaki (tempura mixed with salmon).  

Given how I love salmon sushi the way Homer chugs down beer and scarfs down donuts, it made perfect logical sense to give the Tempura Syake a whirl, especially considering how crazy I am about different textures with my sushi.  I really enjoy Sushi on Bloor’s crunchy rolls (salmon with tempura bits and avocado) and I couldn’t imagine not being totally in love with Sushi Shop’s interpretation. 

The tempura in their rolls is just different and amazing.  I don’t know if it’s because the bits seem bigger and therefore crunchier, or if it’s because of the spicy mayo they use with the salmon and tempura, but the combination is SO soft and flavourful.  Even though my boyfriend and I would agree that that their tempura shrimp appetizer isn’t their strong suit, they nail it using tempura in their rolls.  Come to think of it, the tempura shrimp appetizer seems to be the only blip in their repertoire and not because it tastes bad, but only because they don’t measure up to other sushi places in the city in terms of size and portion and the like. 

Otherwise, their tartare is fabulous, their Fuji Bowls are delicious (my boyfriend loved his and reported back to me, ha), and their rolls are out of this world.  And to make it even more perfect?  Ordering the Twin Salmon maki (rolls with salmon, avocado, red masago, and light mayo draped with the most mouthwatering smoked salmon with black sesame seeds) with these new Tempura Syake rolls seals the salmon lover’s deal. 


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).  For more info on their menu, promos, and shop, check out their official website here.