Square Fish is a little sushi restaurant in the big pond of Queen and Spadina. Located on the textile strip of Queen West that’s slowly turning over to other kinds of businesses, this place is going to have to do a lot to stand out in an area that’s oversaturated not only with other sushi options, but fast casual choices from almost any cuisine you can imagine.
Luckily, that’s exactly what they plan on doing. With a menu of square sushi that incorporates fish prepared using a variety of techniques from raw butchery to curing to blowtorching, handheld sushi burrito rolls, and doshi (donut sushi) they’re already turning heads.
The interior is super small but bright and colourful and not at all constricting. Murals done by Toronto illustrator Kellen Hatanaka are inspired by fishing lures.
The doshi is what I’d likely most recommend coming here for. We go for tuna ($9). Two rings of sushi rice, the bottom one wrapped in cheese and deep-fried until crispy, sandwich a harmonious combo of lettuce, seaweed salad, classic sauce, mango, edamame, spicy mayo, corn, and tuna.
That’s topped with tuna, avocado and sesame. Square fish recommends slapping parchment paper down on your palm and eating it like a burger.
For a handheld roll we go kim chi beef ($7 for a hearty half size, $12 for full). Other diverse options include, chicken, scallop, shrimp and veggie. It’s seasoned beef combined with kimchi for a complete flavourful bite, along with mango, sweet crab meat, avocado, pickled radish and carrot, beet, tempura crumble and lettuce wrapped in sushi rice and seaweed.
We do up a signature combo ($11) that showcases all the square or “mosaic” sushi Square Fish has to offer. A salmon piece is topped with fresh salmon with cured salmon in the middle, and is garnished with fish egg and basil microgreens. This and the tuna are pretty basic tasting, but yummy.
The same beet that's in the beef roll tops one of the sushi pieces, along with a teeny dollop of avocado puree. The beet is prepared sous vide style, as are as many items as possible, creating a contrast between creamy avocado and crunchy beet.
A seasonal roll is incredibly enough topped with Cracker Barrel cheese and blowtorched, but the effect is pleasing and almost hamburger-y, spicy and salty.
They like to say that the space is divided into “square” and “fish”: there’s a ledge facing a window at the front with the murals, then up two small steps is the tiled area where you order your food and beyond that the back area where it’s prepared.