My latest visit to Kasamoto marked my fifth time at the upscale Japanese restaurant in Yorkville. Opened in 2015, the two-story restaurant has been a blogger favourite for quite a while now. After experiencing their great brunch, a night out having cocktails with the girls and a few dinners, it was finally time to give their lunch a try.
The main dining room of the restaurant is an ode to the Japanese culture. With paintings depicting traditional subjects in contemporary ways, the restaurant showcases the culture of the Land of the Rising Sun in a new light amongst white marble and wooden tables. The upstairs patio features similar table settings but definitely lacks the class that the main dining room does. The light wooden walls and the presence of numerous television screens cheapens up the experience and makes the patio feel more apt to be the setting for a baseball match gathering than an upscale dinner. I have heard a few complaints about the service at the institution but I will gladly admit that on the occasions that I have been to Kasamoto, the service has always been great.
As always, my meal began with a dish of Haidacore tartare. A wonderful marriage of avocado, cornichon, miso aioli, shallots and scallion oil, the tartare is served on fried wonton skin. Always in a set of three, the dish is my favourite thing to order at the restaurant with its perfect mix of creaminess, sourness and crunchiness. Our second appetizer was the Rock shrimp tempura dish, served with yuzu pepper aioli and wasabi. A big fan favourite, you’ll notice the distinct flavour of yuzu and the sharpness of wasabi the moment you decide to bite into a piece of shrimp. The dish lacks the mild crunch of traditional tempura, causing the shrimp to be a tad chewy but all things considered, we quite enjoyed it. The Beef carpaccio soon made its appearance to our table, with its mustard greens, sweet onion ponzu, truffle and pecorino. I will have to admit that if you are heading to the lunch in search of a photographable meal, you probably shouldn't order it. However, if you are in search of a fantastic burst of flavour, then I would definitely recommend it. It was a well rounded dish with lots of umami flavour thanks to the soy sauce present. It is to be noted that the dish has a very strong truffle taste so enemies of the mushroom, beware!
For the entrées, we started off with the highly recommended Tonjiru noodles with pulled pork, roasted pumpkin, picked daikon, dashi and heirloom carrot. I am saddened to inform you that the noodle dish did not live up to the recommendations. The broth was light and sweet due to the pumpkin and daikon present in it and the dish lacked some oomph. An addition of MSG might have salvaged the dish but I can understand their reticence to use Monosodium Glutamate at the restaurant. We did add some soy sauce to our broth which did somewhat help it. The second main ordered was a plate of assorted sushi and sashimi, including their soft shell crab maki with spicy aioli, soy glaze and wasabi sour cream. While not being the biggest fan of soft shell crab, the maki was quite delicious and I had absolutely no complaints when it came to the fresh sushi served.
We concluded our meal with the Chocolate Stone, a decadent puck made of three different types of chocolate along with a smear of sesame paste. Just like the Haidacore Tartare always begins the meal, the Chocolate Stone always ends it. One simply doesn't mess with perfection.
Every restaurant has its ups and downs but I am glad to say that in Kasamoto’s case, the scale tilt on the upward side. With so many trip to the restaurant and many more to come, Kasamoto sure is starting to feel like mi casa.