Yasu is more than just a sushi restaurant. It pays homage to the old Japanese sushi restaurants where you sit at the sushi bar and the chefs prepare their specials for you on the spot. (The sushi version of teppanyaki). The menu consists of whatever the sushi chef decides on that particular day. The Omakase is an event of 18 courses of a singular piece of sushi that is crafted and described for you each and every time.
Below is a list of the Omakase that we had for our dinner
1) The Scallop Sushi was nice. It was cut raw and fresh and was a lot more softer than I imagined. It melts in your mouth and only has a slight brine compared to other shellfish.
2) Red Snapper was wonderful. It was the quintessential sushi where the flesh was translucent and the skin had a slightly fishy flavor but nothing overpowering (especially compared to mackerel). One of my favorite pieces.
3) The Horse Mackerel, from Portugal, was a firmer fish. It has a nice red color almost as if it were smoked or cooked (it wasn't). The taste was stronger than other white fishes, but nothing compared to the Saba.
4) The Fluke, from Boston, has a similar taste and consistency of any normal flounder. Real fleshy and the soy sauce was the predominant flavor for this piece.
5) The Firefly Squid, from Japan, was interesting. It's an entire tiny squid (eyes and all). I wasn't a big fan as it was way more fishy tasting than I was expecting. Not too much other flavor showed up.
6) I love Fatty Tuna. This was another favorite as it was hand rolled by our chef and seasoned quite heavily. Despite that, the taste and texture is identical to beef tartare and that makes it that much better for me.
7) Ocean Trout, from Scotland, looks and tastes like salmon. It has a deep red hue that looked like blood as the chef was slicing it. Deep flavor that is enhanced with a brush of soy sauce.
8) Snow Crab, from Nova Scotia, is like any snow crab before it. Perfect little morsel though. The crab is cooler than room temperature and seemed like an ideal piece of sushi for the middle of a meal.
9) Tuna Lean - Filler sushi. Not much taste. 10) Tuna Medium - I liked this piece. It tastes like exactly what tuna should taste like. It has a much stronger taste than you would imagine. 11) Tuna Fatty - The fatty tuna belly piece doesn't taste have a strong tuna flavor. It does melt in your mouth and has a smooth buttery texture.
- All from Mexico and all were the standard for what sushi should be.
12) Salmon Roe, from Alaska, served atop some rice and a sheet of nori. We were told to eat it like a handroll, so I awkwardly picked it up and did my best. Each ball of roe explodes with a salty water taste. Not my favorite to say the least.
13) Striped Jack - I honestly don't remember much about this piece at all. Sorry folks.
14) Smoked Bonito, from Portugal, was probably my favorite piece. I'm not usually a fan of smoked fish, but this bonito had the consistency of a nice flank steak. Amazing smoked flavor and smell. The best!
15) Monk Fish Liver, from Boston, tasted...like liver. It honestly felt like a small swab of foie gras on a piece of sushi rice.
16) Saba Mackerel, with pickled ginger, is my least favorite of the sushi fish. It has such a strong fishy flavor and smell. The tiny bit of wasabi and pickled ginger did nothing to mask any of the fishy taste. It's so strong and overpowering. It was probably the hardest piece of sushi to get down. Needed some ginger slices after that piece to cleanse the palate. I'm sure people who love mackerel don't agree but to each their own.
17) Unagi, sea eel, from Japan was a nice little treat. I do love unagi but this was completely different. I believe it was steamed eel as the consistency was that of a wet piece of fish. The piece of eel disintegrates as soon as you bite in. Perfect unagi flavor and is way better than other eel sushi you will eat anywhere.
18) Tamago sushi to finish it off. A bit of a disappointing end, but I understand its a common finishing piece. Regardless, this egg custard is a lot more savory than it looks.
Dessert was a small bowl of sesame ice cream. They sprinkle little black sesame seeds on top. Perfectly smooth and creamy. Nice finish.
Yasu is definitely an experience not to be missed in Toronto. For $80/pp, it is right in line and sometimes cheaper than many omakase that you will find around Toronto. Reservations are compulsory as they do not accept walk-ins. There are time slots of 6pm and 8:15pm. Try to make reservations several weeks in advance if you had a specific date in mind. You'll find metered parking along the street (no Green P within vicinity) and make sure you arrive on time as they do tend to start promptly. Try to also come a bit earlier so that you can get seating at the bar. They have two tables which are nice, but the experience isn't nearly as good without the view of the chefs. Enjoy!
Ambience: A+ | Service: A | Price: B | Food: A