Akira Back brings his cutting-edge brand to the second floor of the Bisha Hotel with this restaurant by the same name.
The celeb chef is most well known for his blend of Japanese and Korean cuisine. This spot marks his first Canadian restaurant, and in addition to serving several of Back’s signature dishes also carries a few unique to Toronto, most meant to be shared.
The large space is designed by Studio Munge. There is a long curved ceiling, and apparently dishes are inspired by the vibrant yet delicate watercolour artwork of Back’s mother.
AB Wagyu Tacos ($22) stuff crispy crunchy wonton shells with wagyu beef prepared Korean BBQ style with a bulgogi sauce and tomato ponzu, topped with cilantro cress and a sliver of serrano pepper.
Jeju Domi ($22) is a true delight, a play on the way Back was taught to eat raw fish. Korean snapper is wrapped around orange essence infused tobiko with chojang (gochujang) for an amazing contrast of textures and flavours.
Tuna Pizza ($22) is one of Back’s most coveted creations, a tortilla “crust” providing the base for thinly sliced Bigeye tuna set off incredibly by powerful truffle oil, an umami aioli and Maldon sea salt.
48 Hour Wagyu Short Rib ($32) has been braised for 48 hours and then cooked sous vide in a sweet soy.
The teriyaki sauce is tempered by black garlic, and this dish pays homage to the way Back’s mother used to make kalbi with the incorporation of a soft-cooked quail egg and deconstructed accompaniments of potato and carrot.
The Yasuke Sour ($18) is made with charcoal, green-tea-infused Bulleit, yuzu and egg white that gives this citrusy goth cocktail a classy little foam top.
Take Me to Tokyo ($16) is breezy combination of Ketel One, sake, pink peppercorn, yuzu, grapefruit, soda, and thyme syrup, garnished with an effortless handful of thyme sprigs.
The Seoul Train ($16) is a crushable gin-and-sake-based cocktail with a slightly tropical bent, made using ginger beer and coconut cream. Despite the potency of these two flavours, it’s actually the lemongrass chili syrup that comes through the most.
A six-seat sushi bar offers a front row seat to some of the kitchen’s action, and the menu has a whole other section of pricey but droolworthy sushi, sashimi, and signature rolls with ingredients like pop rocks and pork belly.
It’s more of a secretive late night sushi spot, so arrive around opening time at 5 p.m. and you should practically have the place to yourself.