From a first glance, sushi appears deceptively simple. However, simplicity doesn’t equate easy. Little do people realize that it takes longer to become a trained sushi chef than it takes to become a doctor in Japan! When working with minimal ingredients, there is nothing to hide. This increases the complexity of technique as even the most minute mistake will be magnified. This is why sushi trainees do repetitive tasks (i.e. wash rice, sweep floors) for many years before graduating to making sushi rice, then scaling and fileting fish, and finally making sushi for customers. The purpose is to gauge their patience and meticulousness. Only the cream of the crop will be selected to apprentice under the master chef. Chef Rei Masada has trained under the legendary sushi master Sukiyabashi Jiro for nine years before embarking on his own restaurant. Albeit young, he already has two Michelin stars under his belt.
Miku is one of the trendiest hotspots for Japanese cuisine in Toronto. The Toronto branch opened following the successful venture of its original Vancouver location. Serving contemporary Japanese Canadian fusion cuisine, Miku definitely ranks among one of the best restaurants in Toronto. The kaiseki is the best way to explore the menu, as you will get a taste of most signature/popular dishes. We chose the five course Miku kaiseki.
The first course was a sashimi platter, plated with finesse. The chu-toro (medium fat bluefin tuna) was very good, meltingly tender. The hamachi (yellowtail) and amaebi (spot prawn) were also very enjoyable. Later during the meal, the prawn heads were brought back to the kitchen and fried. I know visually this can intimidate people but it’s actually not bad to munch on.
Located in the heart of Papeete, Le Soufflé is a quaint bistro that serves traditional French fare. Like the bistros of Paris, the menu isn’t static and changes depending on which ingredients are in season. In addition to the paper menu, the waitress also brought over a large blackboard, which indicated the daily specials of the day. This was all written in chalk and reminded me of the old school charm of Bistro Paul Bert. However, one problem remained. It was all in French! Luckily, I had enough basic French to get a gist.
Soon after, we were presented with a complimentary hor d’ oeuvre; potato bacon chowder and a piece of puff pastry. The crisp puff pastry was studded with thyme, perfect for dipping into the velvety soup.