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Posted by Jane Manning / Reviewed on August 6, 2010 / review policy

Nigiri-Ya TorontoNigiri-Ya is a new Japanese take-out restaurant which opened early May in a tiny strip mall in Leaside. The decor is simple yet sophisticated: a blackboard lists the menu and the Nigiri-Ya Mission Statement. Since opening, the owners have added seating to accommodate 12 patrons but most customers call ahead well in advance for take-out.

Chef Yasu Ouchi and his wife came to Toronto via Melbourne, Australia where Yasu was Chef at the world famous Japanese chain Nobu. He specializes in Aburi style sushi which is to flame sear the fish on top using a blow torch. Aburi sushi is traditionally served with a citrusy sauce (yuzu) and some fish may be infused with a finespun marinade. Call it Fusion if you will.

Nigiri-Ya TorontoThe Seaweed Salad ($3.99) is a sweet and delicate dish with a hint of minced red pepper flakes and raw sesame seeds. It's cold, delicious and has no bitter seaweed aftertaste.

I'm curious about the Garlic Butterfish roll ($11.50) which has been slightly marinated in garlic and charred very lightly. It has an interesting somewhat smoky flavour while the avocado adds a rich texture.

Nigiri-Ya TorontoAlso on the plate is the less expensive Norwegian Salmon Roll ($5.99) which goes down like silk. The plate is garnished with a "tsume" glaze: a sake, sugar and soya sauce reduction.

Nigiri-Ya Sushi's Famous Aburi Sushi plate (top photo) arrives with five pieces of fish: salmon, butterfish, scallop and eel. Each piece has been seared to perfection and the scallop is dotted with pretty dollop of citrus mayo and masago. I gasp at the cost of this ($14.50) but get over it: clearly this is a work of art.

Nigiri-Ya TorontoThe only Tempura served here is a Crunchy Tempura Shrimp Roll ($9.50). Again, I find this pricey for six pieces but the tempura is golden brown and crispy. A tsume sauce garnishes the plate with fresh ginger and creamy wasabi paste.

Our server explains that the restaurant is still experimenting with their menu and pricings.

Tues - Fri 12 - 9 pm Sat/Sun 4 - 9 pm



nanalan / August 7, 2010 at 03:53 pm
This looks so average.
sneg / August 7, 2010 at 08:33 pm
RE: Seaweed Salad
I hope you know that their Seaweed Salad comes frozen and not made in house. Most of the cheap "Japanese" restaurants carry it. Not a great sign, IMO.

And, to the author, tempura, as I'm sure you know, is not supposed to be "golden brown". Good effort in terms of the review, though.
TT / August 7, 2010 at 11:23 pm
I went to Nigiri-ya a few days ago. Their menu's simple but tasty - just like my sushi experience in Japan. By the way, I'm pretty sure their shrimp roll is 8 pieces not 6.
East 4 / August 8, 2010 at 12:41 am
Looks nice!
Can't wait to try Aburi Sushi!
wowo / August 9, 2010 at 12:27 am
Hungover / August 9, 2010 at 07:56 am
wHAT does this place have to do with Queen West?
Sam / August 9, 2010 at 03:24 pm
Toronto has too many sushi places!! .. picked up from them on Saturday, hoping for quality and they didnt dissapoint! very friendly service and super fresh sushi. Highly reccomend it.
NIX / August 22, 2010 at 11:50 am
No.1 in Toronto.
M / March 15, 2011 at 10:08 am
M / September 18, 2011 at 11:49 am
M / September 18, 2011 at 11:50 am
Chris / August 30, 2013 at 09:31 pm
Tried Nigiri-Ya, it was pretty typical. Bring back Mikado!!!!!!!!
cy / July 12, 2014 at 12:18 am
tried! very bad bad bad. ppl work in nobu always worst cook cause they never really make sushi.

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