Two weekends ago, I was invited to a tasting organized by one of the Instagram foodies at Yutaka Japanese Cuisine, located in downtown at the corner of Dundas West and Chestnut St., and a restaurant that I’ve passed by plenty of times but had no interest in trying out. I have found that Japanese restaurants in the Yonge/Dundas area tend to be on the expensive end and in the mid-to-low end of quality since it’s a tourist area. The exception can be made for Japango on Elizabeth and Dundas, but I’ve heard the service can be spotty now, depending who is serving you.
While I did not get to try everything that was provided because it was a large group and some dishes that came in 3-4 pieces was shared among 8 people. In some case, only one person could try it and after learning that one of the guest does not eat raw food, you forgo a larger share so that others don’t go hungry.
Kaisou Salad – seaweed salad with in-house made goma-dare (sesame sauce). Unlike the fluorescent green seaweed salad people are most familiar with, this is the more natural seaweed salad.
Yutaka Oyster Shooter – uni (sea urchin), oyster, tobiko (flying fish roe) and quail egg.
Futomaki (big roll) – shrimp, eel, burdock root, tamago (Japanese omelette), and pickled radish. All these in the roll are made or marinated in-house.
Tsukune – chicken balls with in-house made mushroom sauce served on a hot plate. This was a bit on the salty side.
Tofu Steak – soft tofu with in-house made mushroom sauce, served on a hot plate. Some got a crispy exterior of the tofu and some got a soggy exterior from the sauce. Also on the salty side due the sauce.
Beef Tataki – seared beef with mustard miso dressing and ponzu sauce.
Chicken Karaage Negi Mabushi – deep fried marinated chicken with in-house made spicy scallion honey fish sauce.
Oyster Isobeyaki – baked Fanny Bay oysters.
Gindara Saikyo Yaki – grilled black cod with caramelized miso. This was so good. Flaky, buttery black cod…
Lobster Isobeyaki – a Japanese baked lobster salad. The meat from half a lobster was extracted from the shell, mixed with miso-based mayonnaise and butter, then placed back on the shell before being baked.
Chef’s selection of sashimi.
Chef’s selection of sushi.
The dish that everyone was in awe is the Godzilla’s Egg, their take on a scotch egg. a soft-boiled egg encased in grounded beef. Everyone was getting their phone cameras ready to record a video of it begin cut open.
Yutaka has a really nice atmosphere (if you can’t get a seat at the closet-size Japango, Yutaka is a good second choice with a significantly larger dining space) and the sushi/sashimi selections were really fresh. I’d definitely return for those. Some of the cooked items were good, but not something I’d come back for.
Yutaka Japanese Cuisine
57 Dundas St. W.