Situated in a small plaza along the Scarborough-Markham border, just across from Pacific Mall, is Aka-Oni Izakaya. Its Kanji roughly translates to "Red Demon". For whatever reason a restaurant would opt for such a name is beyond my reasoning. It's not like spicy ramen is their renowned dish either.
A total of four menus were placed in front of us, along with a steaming pot of genmaicha - a noteworthy contrast to the standard Jasmine green tea at sushi restaurants. The Taste of Asia deals were also presented after I inquired about the poster near the entrance.
Being first-timers, we knew not the original prices of the tapas, and instead ordered four items individually in fear that we wouldn't be able to finish the sets. Little did we know that this was, by far, one of the worst mistakes ever committed in ordering tapas.
At this point, I should note that Chazuke is normally served with the teapot on the side, allowing customers to pour in their preferred amount of liquid. Understandably, I was subject to utter shock when the waitress set down the dish and began to pour the tea herself without consulting our opinions beforehand. Clearly annoyed, I requested for her to stop immediately, to which she responded with an innocent, puzzled expression, and only proceeded to set the teapot down after filling the bowl to her liking.
Upon tasting, it proved to be a decent dish texture-wise, exhibiting the coarse surface of steak with the soft interior of seared tuna. The accompanying ponzu-ginger dipping sauce, while successful in enhancing the natural flavours of the beef, wasn't entirely satisfactory; grated ginger was found to be in excess, rendering the sauce spicier than need be. At $11.99, it was an acceptable dish. overall.
On top of each purple rice maki roll was a small piece of grilled unagi and a scallop-sized piece of torched pork belly, making for an extremely satiating version of the typical sushi roll. Candidly speaking, it was an interesting combination of locally-available ingredients, every element subject to some additional type of crafting and/or styling to produce a more refined product. The end result carried a substantial price tag of $15.99, meaning that each roll averaged out to $2.67.
(Side: My photos of the cheesecake shop are scattered throughout this space. It is with much exasperation that I proclaim: a proper entry shall make an appearance in due time. The cakes are demolished at a rate so rapid that I fail to capture them in their original state each and every time.)