Kabuki Sushi Lounge
Kabuki Sushi Lounge at the Shops at Don Mills is all about sleek finishings, dark hardwood and high ceilings. TVs tuned to CP24, sports and Japanese anime give the place more of a bar than restaurant feel.
The menu is extensive to the point that it overwhelms. From traditional and modern sushi to grilled items and noodles, Kabuki runs the gamut of Japanese cuisine. Each section of the menu also features vegetarian and gluten-free selections.
We start with a round of Chinatown Cold Tea ($11) which is made with gin, Sapporo, honey, lemon juice and topped with icy cold foam. It's a sweet surprise and a refreshing option for warmer weather. The San Fransokyo Connection ($12), on the other hand, is a concoction of sake, elderflower liquer, lemon juice and ginger ale. It's a lighter drink and you can barely taste the alcohol.
For dinner, we start with the Chipotle Karaage ($11), which is your typical Japanese fried chicken with chipotle mayo. For an extra $2 you can get it to come with white meat only. The chicken is done well - moist and juicy - and would be a good snack on its own, but we came hungry.
The Spicy Tuna Salad ($17) is not your typical salad - it's essentially a maki roll with thinly sliced cucumber replacing the traditional rice and seaweed. It tasted great but definitely not worth the sticker price.
Meanwhile, the Shinjuku roll ($17) is named after a popular district in Japan. This flavour-packed specimen comes with avocado, oshinko and crispy rice and is topped with torched white tuna, cheese, spicy mayo and unagi sauce.
This is my favourite roll of the bunch. It's unique, and the combination of the sweet unagi sauce with the crispy rice, cheese and the torched tuna really makes for a decadent meal.
From the traditional Japanese side of the menu we try Kabuki's specialty sashimi which we learn is flown in from Japan every Thursday. The fish changes weekly depending on what's available.
On this day we're served Usubahagi (a type of sturgeon fish), o-toro (fatty tuna), Isaki (grunt fish), Renkodai (A type of carp), and Houbou (gurnard fish). The presentation is impeccable - the sashimi is served with a huge ice block to keep it fresh and the entire plate is decorated with edible flowers.
We also order a full Isaki fish that's paired with edible flowers, spicy shredded daikon radish and ponzu sauce. Similar to the specialty sashimi platter, the presentation is beautiful and you can tell the fish is as fresh as it can be given its travels.
After you're done with the sashimi, you can ask the chef to deep fry the remainder of the fish - a popular practice in Japan. The edges are crispy and delicious but beware the backbone, which is way too hard to consume. This is a fun concept but I think it needs to be refined.
Writing by Christina Li