Extremely dedicated readers may recall the omission of a corresponding post to the full-fledged collection of visuals accompanying my first visit to Miku's Toronto location during its early stages of operation. The reason for this was the bitter aftertaste that remained long after the experience had passed.
Despite the very amiable hostess of the night, who graciously accomodated my request for a photo-taking space that permitted constant bursts of flash, the food quality was generally subpar; service staff also lacked courtesy, observation, and general knowledge about the dishes they were delivering. The environment was dim, but lacked a comfortable ambience. It made for a thoroughly disappointing experience unworthy of the prices being charged, particularly in regards to the claim of serving Aburi sushi alongside a "harbourfront" view.
I opted to give Miku Toronto the benefit of the doubt for committing opening blunders that the original Vancouver location would have never tolerated. With just over a year of experience in their pockets, I initiated a visit to the view-less establishment once again with an open mind.
Upon arrival, it was noticed that the restaurant was far from being busy. I had anticipated being offer bar seats due to our lack of a reservation, but was more than ecstatic when the assistant hostess-like staff member guided us to a sleek, white table directly adjacent to a lofty glass window - natural lighting galore! The serene seating location was a pleasant surprise in itself, easily paving the way for a positive dining experience.
Miso soup was served immediately following our order placement, though I pushed it aside to conserve stomach capacity for the feast that was to follow.
Aburi Albacore Tuna, Ebi Fritter, Beef Tenderloin Skewers, and Miso Marinated Tofu Salad were artistically arranged and garnished in each bowl - the colours paired very well visually.
Miso Marinated Tofu Salad was a classic combination of greens, fresh tomatoes, and crispy noodles tossed in a thin sesame dressing that was as flavourful as it was refreshing. The simplicity of the dish actually offered a welcome contrast to the other components of the platter.
The skewers were advertised with the addition of a spoonful of wasabi gremolata, though I can't say that either of us was able to locate any hints of wasabi whatsoever. Gremolata is, according to Wikipedia, a close cousin of pesto, but void of pine nuts and containing a lower oil to herb ratio. The chunky paste largely resembled this description, though I am uncertain whether it enhanced the skewers significantly.
I did not try either of these dishes and therefore cannot comment too extensively on their flavour profiles.
Kaisen poke, Miku's house special, was softer than the standard marinated cubes. This didn't necessarily indicate heightened texture or character content though. It paled slightly in comparison to the outstanding occupants of the chilled bowl.
The narrow platter featured salmon and saba (mackerel) oshizushi, red snapper and ebi nigiri, the Coal Harbour roll, and Queens Quay roll.
Yuzu daikon was a subtle yet sophisticated addition to red snapper nigiri - the citrusy accessory was a pleasant addition in terms of both taste and appearance.
Named to be location-specific, the rolls indicate the joining of West Coast (Coal Harbour) and the Toronto waterfront (Queens Quay). Despite their well-executed integration of local ingredients, the final products did not deliver enough impact to honour their titles. They lacked uniqueness, so to speak.
A layer of sushi rice lined the base of the garden-like assembly - normally a mere mixture of short-grain rice, sugar, and rice wine vinegar, this carby component seemed somewhat different from the rest. It supported the savoury sauces the coated its toppings without being overwhelmingly vinegar-heavy, and, in ways, it was even slightly addicting.
Sweet tamago, smooth negitoro, pickled vegetables, shiny Albacore tuna, a tiny portion of Kale Gomae, and more poke bits make up the rest of the box.
Kale Gomae was satisfying, and the pickled vegetables added an ideal amount of crunch. The Shiso leaves were a nice touch as well.
Had my stomach not been nearing threshold capacity, I would have easily polished off the dish.
As opposed to the festivities that were advertised on the website, Lunarfest was a small-scale Chinese New Year celebration centred mainly around children's games, painting activities, and red envelope ink stamping.
I made my brief rounds at each game stall, earning a total of four checkmarks once I had completed the games circuit. I was fairly convinced I was the only adult in the vicinity who did not have a child or media pass in tow, though all of the game organizers were more than willing to welcome my participation.
I had stopped by Fugo towards the end of last year shortly after the debut of their cheese tarts. Prices have since surged (a box of 8 are now $15.99 instead of the promotional price of $11.99), though, I must give them credit for upgrading their crafting procedure.
Finally, they are placed into appropriately-sized paper boxes (4 pieces per box), aluminum foil tins and all. They've invested in logo-stamped paper bags since my last visit, though sturdy bags with handles are still in absence.
A quick UNIQLO and Sephora run later, we hit the road, homebound.