Friday, September 2, 2011

Favorite local Japanese restaurant

Despite having a lovely time at the restaurants in Toronto's downtown core (Ematei, Nami, Blowfish, etc), Le Cafe Michi still remains my favorite local Japanese restaurant. It's tucked away in the most random plaza at Pharmacy and Sheppard, but if you love fresh sashimi and authentic Japanese home cooking, then you must come here.

You can meet chef and owner Toshi-san behind the sushi counter, and the little toy cats for sale by the cake counter are made by Toshi's mom!! Too cute.

The Cafe au Lait chirashi is the most expensive set item at $32.50, but most first timers like to initiate themselves with this since it allows you to try the most sashimi. Please believe me, the fish is all so silky and fresh here. Nothing tastes like fridge or resurrected death!

The yellowtail is heavenly and melts on your tongue, and I love the intensity of the sea urchin mixed with the comforting starchiness of the sushi rice. There's a layer of sweet salty BBQ eel tucked underneath all of these jewel toned treasures, as well as a paper thin sheet of egg.

I'm pretty boring (is loyal a better way of spinning that?) and almost always order the San Shoku chirashi - $27.50. This is only a third of it!!!! There's three compartments in total like this. This is just my favorite part because it features those lovely pearls of ikura (salmon eggs). I just love how they look - the picture really doesn't do them justice because they're so vivid and luminescent in real life.

I'm usually stuffed before dessert, but if I happen to have a monstrous appetite that day, I love starting my dinner with an extra appetizer. I'm all about the chicken karage and the cream croquette. The karage is crisp and incredibly juicy, served with an addictive spicy mayo. As for the croquette, it's traditionally and essentially a fried mashed potato ball. Toshi's kani cream croquette, however, is so much more than that. You bite through a hot, salty, crispy outside into a sweet, creamy flood of snow crab deliciousness inside. Amaaaazing.

All the set meals come with dessert like this - courtesy of Toshi's sister. They usually have around 8 cakes to choose from (green tea red bean mousse, chocolate sake, blueberry cheesecake, hazelnut meringue, etc), as well as amazing little English trifles, creme brulee, and creme caramel topped with ripe, seasonal fruit. The coffee is great here, PS!

Le Cafe Michi on Urbanspoon

Le Cafe Michi
1802 Pharmacy Avenue (Pharmacy and Sheppard)
Scarborough, ON M1T 1H6
(416) 490-9688
Closed on Mondays
Toshi is usually not there on Wednesdays, but has the very capable Sam working the counter instead

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