Daimaru Sukiyaki is open for dine-in. Masks are mandatory and hand sanitizer is at the entrance.
Daimaru Sukiyaki is Toronto's first all-you-can-eat Japanese hot pot place serving nonstop meat, veggies and simmering broth.
The same team behind the Gyubee chain which specializes in AYCE Japanese barbecue opened this restaurant after noting a lack of options in the city for shabu shabu, Japanese hot pot.
The menu of various sets, including basic, premium and wagyu, melds shabu shabu with sukiyaki, thinly sliced beef which is simmered in a sweet sauce.
The sister restaurant to the meat-centric Gyubee is a beef expert and serves the highest grade U.S. and Australian wagyu, along with brisket, chuck, lamb, shrimp, squid, oyster and crab meat.
Diners prepare the bottomless meals themselves in covered booths surrounded by bamboo and tables suited with induction tops.
Broths are lighter and made with less oil and salt to let the original taste of the food, especially the meat, come through.
The flavours include the signature sukiyaki with sugar and soy sauce as its main ingredients. Another, golden ox-bone broth extracts its flavour from various bones and boils for about four hours until clear and creamy.
There's also a spicy broth option which packs a nice amount of heat that clings on to anything you drop in, plus one with tomato one for a sweet and sour flavour combo.
The basic set ($24.99 each, $26.99 on weekends and holidays) includes beef brisket, lamb, shrimp, squid and crab meat while premium ($30.99 each, $32.99 on weekends and holidays) gets you a more premium brisket and chuck, with the addition of shrimp paste and squid balls.
Finally, the wagyu set ($84.99 each, $86.99 on weekends and holidays) adds on oyster, abalone, snakehead fish, scallop, and of course, endless amounts of wagyu beef famed for its marbling and flavour.
Steamed rice, glass noodles, udon, konjac and ramen are readily available to all customers.
Further incentive to splurge for the premium and wagyu sets come in the form of pork dumplings, handmade beef balls and fukubukuro.
Translating to "lucky bag" in Japanese, fukubukuro has cheese, shrimp and fish egg inside of a tofu skin wrapping. These fixings, along with the rest of the meat and veggies on the table, taste great dipped in either the garlic soy or sesame paste.
And before you dip anything in the sauces, give it a dunk in a mixture of raw and onsen (30 per cent cooked) egg to help soak up as much sauce as possible.
Select soft drinks are bottomless for $5, though this doesn't apply to the peach mint soda. Get it by the glass ($6) or pitcher ($12) to keep everyone at the table hydrated.
End the meal on a sweet note with the creme brulee. The size is kept small since most will have likely gotten their fill at this point, but the egg yolk and 35 per cent cream custard is perfectly creamy.
Daimaru Sukiyaki is an experience with attentive servers keeping the broth flowin' and hot pot fixings comin' as you work your way through the feast during your two-hour visit.
And if it follows the same path as Gyubee that came before it, we might be seeing several more locations popping up around the city soon enough.