I know what you’re thinking. ‘This girl only eats brunch and sushi.’ And I would have to agree with you, it does appear that way. However, this is a [very] late post, from just over a month ago, on my birthday. And it’s become a tradition to have sushi on my birthday (a tradition about which I am overjoyed). So there are all the excuses I have, take ’em or leave ’em!
A few years back, my first sushi experience in Vancouver was at Miku Waterfront and I absolutely loved it. The following year, I tried out their sister restaurant, Minami. We sat at the sushi bar, which I love to do because you get to see the sushi chefs in action, plus you get to interact with them. When we told our chef we were from Toronto, he told us we’d be seeing him soon as they were opening up a Miku in Toronto! Imagine my excitement!
Fast forward about eight months and here we are. Typically we would treat ourselves to the omakase menu as we did at Miku Waterfront and Minami, but they don’t offer an omakase menu at the Toronto location. Instead, they offer a kaiseki menu, inspired by traditional Japanese Kaiseki. Their chefs created three special menus (Shokai Kaiseki, Miku Kaiseki and Aburi Kaiseki) featuring their signature Aburi-style cuisine (a style of sushi which Miku is known for popularizing), served on beautiful Arita plateware from Kyushu, Japan. Since we wanted to be able to try an array of different items, we asked the restaurant if we could order two different menus (Miku Kaiseki and Aburi Kaiseki), which they graciously allowed as both menus have the same number of courses. The Miku menu costs $95 and the Aburi menu is priced at $130. Best believe your [birthday] girl had the Aburi!
Enough backstory, time to get down to business. The main (and only) difference between the Aburi menu and the Miku menu is that the Aburi menu started with an amuse bouche. It’s amazing how they can make such simple ingredients radiate with flavour. Looking at our drinks, you’d think I ordered the mango one, but this was just one of those times (oh yes, it happens every now and then) when Andrew ended up with the girly alcoholic concoction. Our server AJ (who was awesome, by the way) suggested the oni no chi as I told him I love ginger. He warned me it would be spicy, but I went for it anyway, because if I couldn’t handle the heat I know Andrew would trade with me (he’s an undercover sweetheart like that). The drink was delicious and the slice of lime studded with cloves was the perfect garnish!
Moments later, a beautiful pink present was set in front of me, a death star landed in front of Andrew and both were dissassembled to reveal our first course (kaiseki zensai). The presentation alone made the entire meal worth it! I was impressed with everything, (I truly felt spoiled when I saw that my oyster was topped with sea urchin) except for maybe the foie gras as it had gone cold, but that was completely my fault as I had reassembled everything to take pictures. See the types of sacrifices I make for you guys?! You’re welcome! I was excited to see something new I hadn’t tried before, temari sushi, which is basically regular sushi’s smaller, cuter friend. Before our server left us to drool over our first course, he noted that if we were careful to keep our sweet shrimp heads in tact, the chef would deep fry them and include them in our next course. Loving that attention to detail!
The shrimp heads were returned to us, deep fried as promised. I’ve eaten these at other restaurants and never truly enjoyed it (or finished it for that matter), but I know the chefs at Miku would never do me wrong. I ate that thing down to the very last antenna and it was actually flavourful, unlike the other times I’ve eaten it. Andrew’s bouillabaisse arrived and he seemed cool with it…until he saw my fish and lobster tail. Not that he expressed this fact, but he must have been jealous. I would have been! Both my fish and lobster were cooked to perfection, and I thought the miso on the fish and the chimichurri on the lobster were excellent pairings.
After that second (sea) course, I was more than certain that I should have been born a mermaid. But once the third (land) course comes out, all of a sudden, I wanna be where the people are, I wanna see, wanna see them dancing (bonus points if you got that reference). Both are cooked to tender perfection, but it’s hard to ignore the fact that Andrew has a lot more to chew than I do. Which worries me because we have one more very important course to go. It’s amazing that he didn’t fall asleep after his last bite.
The moment I had been waiting for had arrived. Head chef Kazuya Matsuoka even came to our table to see how we were enjoying our meal thus far and if we had room for what was about to hit our tables. Andrew and I pause [to take pictures and] to try to figure out how we are even capable of eating all of this food, because had we been eating anywhere else, we would have been out the door with doggy bags in tow. I think because this meal is such a treat for all of our senses, we focus more on enjoying the journey rather than attempting to conquer the mission. Aburi sweet shrimp, aburi tuna, salmon, tuna belly and wagyu beef are some of the pieces of sushi we had, unforunately the exact list escapes me as this was over a month ago but what I cannot forget is how special Miku makes its sushi with its dressings: yuzu and jalapeno, gold leaf, caviar, edible flowers and truffle shavings are just some of the ways that Miku makes its sushi so memorable. Another thing I can’t forget is the sushi rice, I loved the subtle sweetness it had.
Miku is [obviously] too classy for birthday songs, so I was surprised that my dessert came out with a birthday greeting and candle. They also had a birthday card at our table when we were seated, I love when restaurants are thoughtful like that. I’ll admit, I wasn’t really blown away with my dessert, it’s not something I would have chosen for myself, but I did appreciate the jasmine ice cream made in house, I didn’t think jasmine tea would taste good in ice cream form, but it absolutely did. Andrew isn’t a green tea fan, so I don’t think he liked his dessert as much as I did. I finished his up after I was done with mine. I especially loved the matcha butter cream on his cake.
This type of indulgence isn’t something we can afford on a regular basis, so I’ll be counting the days until our next special occasion! I’m dying now after writing this review. Need. Sushi. Now.