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Reviewed March 27, 2004   »   32avenue.com   |   justin-cheung.com     

Blowfish

668 King Street West - King/Bathurst, Toronto, Canada
A roll of some sort | Sorry, I don't know what it was called, because the waiter recommended a sushi sampler to us. It was a hand-roll, only not with ordinary seaweed but a light-green 'paper' made of soy, and it was filled with tempura bits, a really large shrimp and some very tender baby greens. It was really good - the shrimp was fresh and the soy wrapper wasn't salty at all, making it a very palate-cleansing appetizer. The waiter said he didn't recommend soya sauce for this, and he was right. (Adrian)

Electric eel maki | with avocado, sweet tomago and Shoyu-Mirin dipping sauce. You could really taste the eel in this roll, unlike some of the more generic Japanese places where you taste hoisin sauce more than anything. Definitely melt-in-your mouth, but other than that, it wasn't so unique. (Adrian)

Soft shell crab maki | Chesapeake bay soft shell crab, avocado, chives, boston lettuce, yuzu-flavoured. The fried soft shell crab was truly aromatic and delicious - stayed crisp even in the roll, and the whole thing just melted in your mouth. The sauce was also very good - a kind of garlicky mayonnaise. (Adrian)

Seared Bay Scallops | baked in Atlantic salmon wrap with wasabi-snow crab mayonnaise. Despite how fancy this sounds, I was disappointed - the scallop wasn't that big, and it was simply wrapped in a thin piece of salmon that was slightly overcooked, in my opinion. It was drenched in a very flavourful sauce which I thought took away from the taste of the seafood itself. (Adrian)

Panko-encrusted roast chicken breast | with three-kind mustard sauce and asian vegetables. I was also disappointed with this dish, because the panko-crust didn't stay on the chicken and really just tasted like Shake n' Bake! It also got soggy since it was paired with sauteed garlic baby bok choy, which my grandma makes every other day ;) I couldn't taste any kind of mustard in this dish. (Adrian)

Cajun seared tuna sashimi | $16. No soy necessary, fragrantly spiced seared rare tuna. Nice texture, taste and presentation...only thing was that it consisted of only 5 pieces of very thinly sliced sashimi. A little too pricey of an appetizer for the quantity of fish you get. (Renee)

Battered tuna maguro, avocado, cucumber, negi, shiso, deep-fried in tempura batter with a sweet Korean chilli paste drizzle | Makimono, $13. Not as well worth it as the reviews have written up this roll to be. It reminded me a little of the seaweed rolls you can get at dim sum, with some watered down chilli paste drizzled on the top. Maybe the battering and chilli taste took away from the taste of the roll's cool tasting fillings. (Renee)

Orange & black salmon, mango, avocado, orange & black flying fish roe infused with citrus juice | Makimono, $13. An excellent and tasty roll. A great combination of colours and flavour highly recommended. (Renee)

Rolling radish big eye tuna, squid, salmon, avocado, shiso, in a daikon radish wrap and topped with a variety of roe | Makimono, $13. Everything INSIDE the layer of radish was delicious, kind of like a glamorized inside-out rainbow roll. The radish, bland and spicy, was too large a layer of white vegetable that fell apart from the roll when you picked it up. (Renee)

Blue snow tuna, tal, salmon, kani, avocado, mango, gobo, cucumber with blue curacao & kewple drizzle | Makimono, $13. Delicious sweet blue curacao and kewple painted on the plate. The roll (sans gobo I asked for this gobo is so nasty) was very much like a regular California roll/Rainbow roll. The most inventive aspect was the alcohol mix smeared on the plate. (Renee)

Conclusion: The decor was very minimalist, white-everything, punched up with some glitzy chandeliers and a sheer curtain that separated the sake bar from the dining area. I enjoyed the sushi rolls, but other than that, I think this is one of those for-white-people Japanese restaurants. For most discerning CBCs who eat rainbow rolls, dragon rolls, etc. every other week, Blowfish won't be anything special. Then again, they did have an extensive sake list, which I didn't try, but could be interesting. (Adrian)

Service a little slow with the orders, our friendly waitress was quick to offer suggestions and check on our order. However, beside this, we were pretty much left alone the rest of the evening. Perhaps it was because it was a Friday night and the restaurant/bar was extremely loud and busy. The decor was minimalist, white and modern. I liked the little grove in the middle of the table and how the soy sauce was housed in a pretty unique stainless steel vessel. Didn't have the opportunity to try one of the many types of sakitinis that Blowfish is known for, nor did I get the chance to try any of the unique Japanese inspired desserts (as you can tell, I focused more on the raw entrees, after seeing Toronto.com and Toronto Life reviews comment on the weakness of the cooked items). Overall, a restaurant to try for ambiance, presentation of food items and an interesting mingling of flavours, both old and new. However, for good value on any-day sushi, just head to Sushi Inn. (Renee)

2.4

Adrian's out of 5.0

3.4

Renee's out of 5.0

noteworthy
ambience


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