We hear fish talking but don’t hear what fish said.
Why do we make something so easy so complicated?
Searching for what’s right in front of our face
But we can’t see it.
It’s taken me twenty some odd years but I see it. I finally see it.
I never thought the day would come where I would begin to eschew the wet and saucy ways of Vancouver sushi in favour of fish au naturel but there can be miracles. When you believe.
Who knew that sushi in it’s simplest form – void of a myriad of indistiguishable sauces, deep fried bits, and distracting greenery – could be so lovely?
Not I. But it’s a lesson worth learning and if I have to eat my way through one million pieces of nigiri to learn it, let it be.
Arriving at tiny Toshi’s, protocol is simple enough. Open from Tuesday – Saturday, without fail, you can expect to be waiting in line for a table.
They don’t bother with hostesses so do yourself a favour and run, don’t walk, straight to the list taped to the pole at the end of the entrance hallway and jot your name down.
My lucky day, I only had to wait about five minutes before being seated up at the bar with front row seats into the genius that is Toshi and company.
You got it – Miso Soup to start. With a mild miso flavouring and filled with plenty of tofu bites, this miso was actually not my favourite. The excessive scallions and fried tofu skin floating around were slightly distracting and off-putting.
Oyster Motoyaki at $4.95 was a pleasant surprise based solely on its size. Instead of getting the dinky overpriced oyster I was expecting, out comes a sizeable ceramic ramekin filled with oysters baked to a golden brown.
An oyster motoyaki built for two and with enoki mushrooms sprinkled throughout, it’s a bizarre experience to realize authentic motoyaki actually carries a strong egg taste and is probably not supposed to taste like the creamy gobs of mayo laced with cyanide that we’ve become so accustomed to at AYCE.
Our House Combo with a House Roll, Tuna Roll and Chef’s Selection of Sashimi was a real winner tonight. With creamy avocado, delicate flavours, and fish so fresh it bites back, if I wasn’t sold on the merits of quality over quantity before, I sure am now.
The main event, it’s only natural that the Box Roll, Uni Nigiri, Amaebi Nigiri, and Hamachi Nigiri are the last to arrive.
With shrimp, salmon, scallop and a lemon slice topping, there’s a lot happening with the Box Roll. A little bit sweet, a little bit spicy, it’s a fun roll to eat until you get to the lemon rind on top. The lemon tang is refreshing but I did not appreciate that rind, and I wish not to meet it again.
Amaebi, while on the small side, was delicately sweet while the Hamachi Yellowtail with it’s firm consistency was a fishy delight for my mouth.
My first brush with Uni, this sea urchin had me all like whoa. Boasting a rich golden hue and a consistency like a dream, if enjoying gonads are wrong, I don’t want to be right.
Feeling fishy, would I return?
At around $45 for our meal, I leave a new person. A renewed sense of what it is to enjoy sushi, I’m not even sure I can go back to eating that sauce laden garbage they’re still calling sushi around here.
Fresh and firm there is no doubt when it comes to Toshi, but it is also cramped and you will almost certainly always find yourself waiting in line to get your sushi fix.
This is quality sushi so I’m not saying no, but when it comes to the fish, my heart belongs to Shiro.