Wednesday, April 17, 2013

- Food Review: Sabai Sabai -

Either I wasn't very observant or tapas places have been popping up recently. Small dishes meant for sharing and keeping the focus on table talk.

This particular tapas place served Thai dishes.

Unlike other tapas places, their menu was incredibly short - fitting on one page. Two pages if you count the vegan menu. I always joke to my friends that I'd like to walk into a restaurant one day, and order one of everything. At Sabai Sabai, I could legitimately order one of everything for a group of four.

We ordered the khao soi (noodle with coconut curry), crispy fish with tamarind reduction, grilled pork skewers and grilled angus beef salad. To our surprise, the beef was raw - similar to beef tataki in Japanese cuisine. The rawness didn't detract from the taste though, if anything it underscored Sabai Sabai as a place with unique flavours. The crispy fish was crunchy on the outside and buttery on the inside. I suspect they used black cod as the base.

We were still hungry after the four dishes so we ordered a basket of crispy shrimp chips. Easily the best shrimp chips I've had, though my comparison is the oily ones you can buy from Chinese super markets.

Food: 4.5/5
Service: 3/5
Value: 3/5
TL;DR: unique varied tastes and expensive for the portion

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

- Food Review: Solo Sushi Ya -

I decided awhile back that distance shouldn't be a consideration when trying out new eateries. There are so unique restaurants around Toronto, so why limit myself to Scarborough?

With that in mind, we made our trek all the way to Newmarket to try out Solo Sushi Ya. I suspect most people have heard of Newmarket ("404 to Newmarket") but few people have actually been. I found that most of Solo Sushi Ya's clientele are either doctors in the area or out-of-towners like myself. Makes sense considering their main draw is their omakase.

Omakase is fairly common at mid to high end sushi restaurants. Essentially, there isn't a set menu and you're leaving it up to the chef to create the courses, so what you eat depends on the chef's whims and ingredients on hand. A unique experience (compared to other cuisines), and also quite expensive. The omakase here cost about $60 per person - already on the lower end of pricing.

The restaurant itself was very quaint - literally a mom and pop shop. There was the head chef making the food and his wife was the server. Everything about the shop felt personal: knickknacks along the sill, different chopstick holders for everyone, menus with a plea to pay with cash or debit, wasabi that was true wasabi - liquid and slightly sweet. The chef would drop by and ask us how we liked our food and talk about how business was slow because of the construction work outside.

The food was fresh and delicious. There was the standard sushi and sashimi, but also steamed egg with clams.

Interesting appetizers and desserts. Two types of white tuna - a sweet and spicy one. The spicy white tuna was our unanimous favourite.

No doubt other people's experiences will vary; they happened to have a lot of white tuna on hand.

Food: 4.5/5
Service: 5/5
Value: 3/5
TL;DR: Super pricy, but worth going to for a special occasion

Monday, April 15, 2013

- Food Review: Nazareth Restaurant -

I've been wanting to try out Ethiopian cuisine for the longest time, so I scanned through Yelp and picked out one of the (presumably) best Ethiopian restaurants in the city.

Nazareth was conveniently located near Ossington Station and a short walk from a Green P Parking. Then again, most downtown locations are a short walk from a Green P Parking so that's not really say much.

So, what was I talking about?

Right, food!

The food itself was incredibly slow to arrive. Thankfully we got here early, because if we had gotten here past seven o'clock, we would have easily waited three hours before we could eat - no joke. It's a long wait to get in because the seating at Nazareth is smaller than my bedroom, and it's a long wait for the food because they make everything fresh.

Once we finally got our food, we were surprised to see our three dishes served on a single big plate:

And of course, there was no utensils. Instead, there is injera - a spongy, sour bread that you rip into pieces, and scoop up the meats with. Similar to naan for Indian cuisine.

The meats were soft and flavourful - they fell right off the bone. I wasn't a fan of injera though - I might not have scooped up enough sauce, because the sour taste stayed long after the dinner was done.

The bill came up to about $10/person which is fairly cheap, considering it's a highly trafficked downtown restaurant. However, call me squeamish, but I really miss using utensils so for me this will purely be a one-off experience.

Food: 4/5
Service: 2/5
Value: 4/5
TL;DR: Try it if you're interested in Ethiopian cuisine. Would not go again myself.