Ever tasted REAL wasabi? Even if you think you have, you probably haven’t. Why? Almost all Japanese restaurants make wasabi paste from powder. EDO Restaurants use the real thing. What’s the difference? Sweet heat. In Japan, I always asked for sushi, “wasabi nugi-de” (without wasabi). This is how they serve children. Tonight, at EDO-ko, was the first time in my life I asked for more.
Each EDO restaurant in Toronto (there are now four) offers unique specialties. At EDO-ko in the quiet relaxed neighbourhood of Forest Hill Village it’s their oysters. Oyster Nigiri with cured salmon sashimi; Oyster Tempura with nanami salt and lemon; and Oyster Florentine with a soymilk béchamel sauce and miso glaze with spinach.
We begin with the Tofu Hot Pot. My companion asserts, “This is the best soup in the city.” Presented in cast iron with a wooden lid, clear broth with a bonito essence is bejeweled with tofu, assorted mushrooms and vegetables, and accompanied by ponzu and yuzu dips. Goma Hamachi is a maple-tamari glazed yellowtail from Japan’s southern island, Kyushu. Each slender slice is a generous fold of flavour and texture enlivened by EDO’s hon-wasabi. From the aburi menu (torched sushi) we choose meaty scallops kissed with citric lemon and yuzu, and lightly charred to elicit a delicate crispness and a hint of charcoal.
Coveting the sushi rolls of neighbouring tables we indulge in a colourful Rainbow Dragon of salmon, tuna, butterfish, and shrimp tempura. Meaty, crunchy and delectable, it’s devoured before our waiter has a chance to ask if we’re enjoying it. Teriyaki striploin is a generous portion of tender succulent beef cooked to the perfect a point. Truffled multigrain rice with mushrooms and grilled vegetables adds a colourful palate of robust flavours.
Unpretentious and unpressured, EDO-ko’s authentic ingredients are presented with delicate sophistication. Another reason to return? From 3pm to 6pm, Mondays to Saturdays, a $5 menu includes sweet potato tempura fries, nori-wrapped shrimp tempura dumplings, and Japanese fried chicken, paired with $5 sake, beer or wine. EDO refers to an ancient era in Japanese history. It also means “estuary”. With an educated palate, Barry Chaim’s EDO restaurants have, for more than twenty-five years, reflected traditional Japan with a confluence of modern influences that continues to challenge us to redefine what we know about Japanese cuisine through a refined aesthetic that is both authentic and innovative.
~ For more info go to EDO Restaurants, 425 Spadina Road, 414-482-8973 ~