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Restaurants

Sake Bar Kushi

Posted by Jason Finestone / Profiled on July 31, 2013 / review policy

Kushi TorontoSake Bar Kushi (sometimes known as Kushi Izakaya) is the newest izakaya to grace midtown Toronto. Walking in for a midweek meal, the first thing I notice is the striking decor. A long double sided bar splits the restaurant and secluded booths line the sides. Sake bottles are intermingled amidst the dark wood walls and just-right ambient lighting. For groups, they also offer private, sunken kotatsu tables (zashiki-warashi).

Kushi TorontoThe Kushi in the restaurants name refers to the skewers used to hold food for grilling or frying, sort of like yakitori. At $2 a piece and with over twenty types to choose from, the kushi here is worth exploring but the meats offered aren't for the squeamish. Best bets include the chicken neck, heart, liver and shishamo. The chicken wing or bacon wrapped asparagus, slathered with tare sauce are good bets for the less adventurous.

Kushi TorontoThe salmon sashimi arrives with real gold leaf and is fresh, tender, and rich...literally. One of the things I appreciate most about Kushi is the beautiful accessories they use. A gorgeous red, ceramic teapot with Japanese lettering holds our soy sauce, and our anise tinged Urakasumi sake ($19) is served with a painted sake carafe and glasses.

Kushi TorontoTheir tompeiyaki ($9) is not what you'd call a light omelet, but it sure is tasty. Stuffed with fragrant green onion, salty pork and topped with tonkatsu sauce, mayo and bonito flakes, it's a real filler-upper.

Kushi TorontoIzakayas are known for helping out hammered patrons with their deep fried delights, and Kushi does the best fried chicken knee I've ever tasted. A squirt of lemon, a dip of salt and I'm in heaven.

Kushi TorontoI wouldn't consider Kushi a go-to ramen joint but they also serve up silken bowls of tonkotsu and shio ramen ($9) with bamboo shoots, broccoli and bean sprouts.

Kushi TorontoWith little room for much else, we still finish with a tempura banana split with green tea ice cream. It's so good that I may consider getting their $29 prix fixe menu next time I go. Featuring five courses, the prix fixe includes one salad, an appetizer, two kushi skewers, an entree and a dessert.

Kushi Toronto

Discussion

27 Comments

Human / July 31, 2013 at 12:57 pm
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i've been to this place twice. it's great food, and a great atmosphere.
the servers great you the second you walk through the door, and escort you out as you leave.
the servers and kitchen staff are always loud and fun; someone yelling something in Japanese, and everyone else responding.
the menu is a bit hard to read, but i highly recommend this place. the staff will help you decide.
5* 10/10

Yummy / August 1, 2013 at 08:48 am
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My boyfriend and i love this izakaya. This is my new favorite izakaya in toronto. The food and the ahsmosphere are very like izakaya in Japan. Try chicken skewers and maguro yukke. They are sooo delicious. :)
Sakae / August 1, 2013 at 09:24 am
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I went here last friday with my japanese friends. We all love this place so much~!! The place reminds me izakaya in Japan. We ordered a lots of yakitory. They are sooo good~~.i can give them 5 stars .
Dee / August 1, 2013 at 11:08 am
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What is their pricing like?
jason / August 1, 2013 at 04:37 pm
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Its amazing place. I went kushi.. they have happy hour from 8pm-12pm
Half price food. it is really good deal .
I love kushi bar
motoki arimoto / August 1, 2013 at 04:53 pm
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I went this izakaya .....I miss japan.here is small japan..I wanna go back japan @@@@
Cheng / August 1, 2013 at 05:10 pm
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This is one of the best izakaya in Toronto. Price is very resonsble, the food was great and the staffs were really friendly. I drank some sake with my friends ( they have large selection of sake) and we got some special dishs from the chef ! Anyway, love this place. See you Kushi bar again !
Hisashi Tanaka / August 1, 2013 at 05:17 pm
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This cheerful atmosphere is real Japan! I was really fun to stay here. Also food is really good. In Toronto I can't believe I can't eat such a tasty sashimi and sushi. Tuna tataki is my favorite. BBQ Unigi is also good. Kushi taste is better than Japan for me. Everything is quite good. We enjoyed Chu-hi too! I'll come back soon!
Akiyo / August 1, 2013 at 05:24 pm
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I've been there last weekend with my friends for B'day. Food n servicing are awesome!! They prepared the special Dorayaki cake that was free for my friend!!! And they are shouting some Japanese words that are "Irassyaimase" n "Haiyo". I remembered in Japan. We're absolutely visiting there:)
Sake bar kushi / August 1, 2013 at 06:39 pm
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Thank you for awesome comments!!
We are starting new promotion on Facebook called "Happy hour." If you push "Like" on our facebook page, all tapas menu will be discounted 50% from 8pm-12am!! Please come to Kushi:)
いま串では、新しいプロモーションが始まりました。私達のフェイスブックページを"いいね"して頂いた方限定で、夜の8時から12時までタパスメニュー全品半額です!この機会をお見逃しなく。ご来店お待ちしております!!
If you some questions, please contact us or our facebook "sake bar kushi";)
Jenny / August 2, 2013 at 12:08 am
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One thing I like the most about this restaurant is the very unique designed interior. On top of that, all the dishes are great with fresh foods. The people are really nice too.. I love this place!!!
kev / August 2, 2013 at 12:21 am
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I've been here several times already and each time it never fails. From the moment you walk in you are greeted by very friendly waitresses. I love the fact that they yell the greetings in Japanese.
The food here is amazing and I love the various skewers that they offer. My favourite is the bonjiri (chicken tail). I recommend this place to anyone that wants great food, exceptional service and great atmosphere. Hey Kushi....I'll be back with my friends!!!
Sophia / August 2, 2013 at 01:13 am
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The one of the best reason that I love Kushi is the atmosphere. I like here, traditional Japanese and Urban style interior design. Also all staffs are very friendly and they give us an excellent service. Of course, foods are absolutely great. I have no doubt that this business is going to be doing flourishing.
Crystal / August 2, 2013 at 08:55 pm
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I love this place. The food and atmosphere are exellent. And the price is resonable.
Jeff / August 3, 2013 at 12:43 am
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The food looks awesome delicious! That wing looks great too, would love to see a dozen wings in a basket with those skewers in them...
Eddie / August 3, 2013 at 06:21 pm
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When I first see this restaurant, I didn't know they serve awesome dishes with passion but now I really happy that I found this restaurant in Toronto.
I'm not Japanese and I don't really know what is real Japanese food but Kushi's dishes are very fabulous and interesting compare with other Japanese restaurant I don't mean other restaurants suck :)
Jay / August 3, 2013 at 06:24 pm
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Great interior.Exellent food and the service. Definitely coming back !
Nicole / August 12, 2013 at 04:40 pm
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Loved it - the food was delicious!
Salanth / August 16, 2013 at 06:51 pm
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Anyone know what kind of salmon they use?
BrianC / August 16, 2013 at 10:01 pm
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Coming to a kushiyaki place for salmon? It's like going to the keg and ask what kind of lettuce they use.
Mo / November 10, 2013 at 01:56 am
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Great sake. The types of sake rule. I have 2 down and 20 left to go lol. Salmon was sweeeeet. Waitress not rocking it and not flaunting which is sad because otherwise this place knows how to make customers happy.
Peter / December 5, 2013 at 03:29 pm
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Great photo I want women who flaunt it and good drinks and good food looks like they have 1 covered at least
Thai / December 8, 2013 at 11:46 pm
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Hands down one of the best, if not The Best Izakaya in town! A real gem of the area.

It's a smaller place compare to Guu's so much better service, more quiet therefore it's more "intimate" since the tables are "closed" off. Don't go in a big group because their biggest tables fit 6 adults, that's unless you book the vip room at the back which can fit up to 50 people.
There were 2 tables, including ours, whom weren't Japanese customers. So you know it's good!

The place looks great (bamboo wood look), very nice atmosphere; playing house music all night (Best of Kaskade, Beach House, etc) and good to very good food/price ($10-$15/dish). "Jon" the owner, Eva the manager and Chief Tristan are very nice (he came out from the busy kitchen to talk and take pictures with us), the waitresses were very friendly, professional by knowing the menu and recommending us good dishes, and attentive to our quite lively group of 5. Hard to find better staff.

Everyday after 9pm you'll get 2 dishes on the house. You will never get that at Guu's!

I have been there a few times and will definitely come back with hordes of friends and will book the 50 people vip room so therefore highly, Highly Recommended!
LC / December 28, 2013 at 11:57 am
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Went here last night after reading so many positive reviews, and I have to say this place really lives up to its reputation! Food was amazing and is worthy of a 10/10 in my books. Service was some of the best I've ever seen. They were so welcoming and friendly and all of our food arrived fast. I'm a west ender and rarely venture past Bloor for a night out but I'll definitely be back here!
Lumberg / January 25, 2014 at 09:35 pm
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I went there and it is cool that you can have some intimacy if you want or not if you don't but no good looking foxes why does the waitress dress like Pizza Hut? This is why I keep tipping lots @ Hapa lol
Blair Currie / February 16, 2014 at 01:26 am
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This is simply the worst Japanese restaurant we have ever visited. My wife is from Tokyo and I worked there for 7 years. Yet we have never had food that arrived 90 minutes late and the yakitori was overcooked. After patiently waiting for poor food we were welcomed with a $270 bill for sake that we thought was $27. When we contested the bill the manager called the police. I don't know about you but I cannot support such nonsense. The customer has some rights and when we said this was not "on" for a Japanese restaurant the manager said "This is Toronto not Tokyo". Don't go there.
Jmaers / March 1, 2014 at 11:44 am
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Blair: that is awful... time to boycott
and the police cannot do jack
just do not pay

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