Miku / by Didier Young

This time of year holds a different meaning for everyone. Students are glad to be done their exams and to head home for the holidays. Bloggers start working on their holiday gift sets and end of year giveaways. Others start stressing out because Christmas is at our door steps and we ended up buying more presents for ourselves than for our loved ones. When it comes to the Hospitality industry, restaurants start gearing up to launch their Holiday menus. Today, we shall take a look at Miku’s.

Miku, a restaurant originally from Vancouver, opened its doors in Toronto slightly over a year ago. In the short time span that it has been opened, the restaurant garnered a following of Japanese food aficionados thanks in part to their Aburi style sushi. The famed sear-flamed delicacies offered as an option at the establishment became the talk of the city and are, to date, one of my favourite sushis I have ever tasted. Located at Bay and Queen’s Quay, the restaurant is a short walk from Union station.

Upon our arrival, we were treated to one of Miku’s sake flights. Our sake selection included the Urakasumi Zen, the Watari Bune and the Hiroki, all from different areas in Japan. Before tasting your sake, remember to give it a swirl and to treat it like any other alcohol tasting you might be doing. Out of the three, the Watari Bune was my favourite with its gentle grapefruit notes while the Urakasumi Zen came in close second and has a distinct pear flavour.

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The first course of the Holiday menu is a seafood platter. Regular patrons of the restaurant will find the dish quite familiar as it is a reduced version of the Coal Harbour Platter. The beautiful bowl in which it is served is packed full of ice and topped with a chef’s choice Aburi Sashimi, a daily selected oyster topped with a mignonette, prawn cocktail with yuzu cocktail sauce, an oyster shooter in a ponzu dashi, PEI mussels with wasabi chimichurri, Hokkaido Scallop crudo with Masatake sauce and Wakame Kaisen Poke in spicy sesame ponzu. The great appetizer place definitely had some stellar items such as the poke and the scallop crudo. I was not as smitten with the prawn cocktail due to personal preferences as I do not typically enjoy the taste of horseradish.

The menu comprises of three different entrée options and luckily we were a group of four people so we managed to order all the different dishes. The Kyoto Saikyo Miso Baked Sablefish with a cauliflower fritter, charred eggplant purée, daikon coal, edamame, pattypan squash, welsh onion and heirloom tomato relish was, by far, the winner between the three. The flavour pairings and the perfectly baked fish was a delight and I would definitely order it again. Coming in second, the AAA Sterling Prime Rib with Wasabi brown butter sauce, wild mushrooms and Iwanori baked yukon potato purée was also well received. It lacks some of the asian authenticity that the rest of the menu is imbued with but it was still delicious none the less. The BC Albacore tuna and Seared foie gras poached in tamari soy butter with crispy wild rice, spiced couscous, picked apples, heirloom cherry tomatoes and an elderberry and ume pesto was unanimously our least favourite dish. Unfortunately the tuna and the foie were both dry and the rest of the pairings did not manage to save the dish.

The third course was a selection of Miku’s signature sushi with aburi oshi, a roll and nigiri. As I previously mentioned, Miku is quite famous for their aburi sushi and they never fair to impress in that category. I could find absolutely nothing to reproach to this course.

Last but not least came the dessert. Along with the holiday menu’s Buche de Noel special, we also ordered some of their signature Matcha opera cake. The flourless chocolate sponge, manjari chocolate mousse, Aburi Ginjo sour cherry, chocolate arare and pistachio ice cream dessert was absolutely delightful. It was the perfect finishing touch to this fantastic meal. The matcha opera cake was also quite enjoyable, though i wished that it would have been a tad stronger in matcha flavour.

Overall, we left Miku extremely pleased with our experience. Other than the small hiccup with the Albacore tuna, everything was delicious and up to Miku’s high standards. The freshness of their products and quality of their service makes the restaurants an essential destination when doing a Toronto food pilgrimage. Once you’ve tried their daily catch, you’ll never need to test the waters again.

-Didier