Tojo's July 11, 2002

I've only eaten at Tojo's once before and was not that impressed.

However I kept hearing great things about his omakase and he keeps getting awards! When I had last dined there, we went on a weekend, ordered from the menu, sat at a table not the bar so I thought hmmm maybe that was not a fair try!

What finally put me over the edge was the marvelous "gastroporn" i.e. food photos of his omakase on his website. Fantastic and mouth-watering.

So I asked Barb if we could go there for my birthday.

It was therefore with some trepidation that I entered the restaurant on the 11th at around 8p.m.. But I thought, "aw heck it's my birthday let's throw caution to the wind".

We sat at our reserved seats at the sushi bar (I have grown to love the bar ever since my friend Robert remarked how he loves sitting at the bar kibitizing with the chef and watching the flurry of the kitchen.).

Tojo greeted us and asked us what we would like to eat. I replied that we love everything except natto (natto is a bitter tasting fermented bean often served with quail eggs that I have tried many times but never developed a taste for).

And we were off to the races!

First off we had tataki, lightly seared tuna in a ponzu sauce. Wow! I have had this at other restaurants but here the flavours were just right. Distinct and tasty. And the tuna was great.

Then this is where my mind fades into a collage of one great food moment after another!

What I do remember is a lot of sushi intermixed with other fish dishes. All were delicious and all were fresh! Here are some of the highlights.

Tuna with morels. We had 4 small pieces of awesome seared tuna with two differently battered and stuffed morels. I don't know what the morel flavours were (crab? oyster?) but the earthy texture and taste complemented the tuna nicely.

The best shrimp sushi I have ever had.

Sushi coated in a thin egg crepe rather than nori (seaweed).

Geoduck sushi! Simple and fresh! You have not had geoduck until you have had it this fresh. Not rubbery. Chewy almost sweet.

Maki sushi topped with scallops and yellow fish roe on top. The fish roe was sublime: sweet and fresh.

Buttery sable fish! Mmm. delicious.

Hamachi aka yellowtail. Fresh. Need I say more?

Toro - fatty fresh tuna.

Sushi wrapped in thin cucumber instead of seaweed i.e. Tojo's famous Northern Lights Roll (mango, avocado tempura, and asparagus rolled in paper-thin cucumber; hirame ungawa (flounder fin), toro, Spanish mackerel and Japanese sardine). Our last dish before we had dessert was green tea icecream and vanilla ice cream with fresh raspberries and other unidentified but delicious fruits.

The bill came to $188 before taxes and tip. This included 1 small Kirin beer and green tea for Barb. Not cheap but definitely worth it. We were full but pleasantly so.

And we had that giddy, food high that you experience after a great meal! Definitely one of the best meals of my life and definitely the best sushi I have ever had!

We will be back next year (it's worth saving for!). And we definitely recommend that you do what we did: save up your pennies, reserve some seats at the bar, come on a weekday night (not Friday!) at around 8p.m. and let Tojo work his magic on you!