With two locations in Markham and Richmond Hill, extensive research revealed that the Japanese eatery was a popular takeout joint for residents of both communities. That said, it is not uncommon for one to presume one of two things (or both): the establishment was either too small for dining comfortably (ahem Mickey's), or the interior wasn't furnished in an appealing enough manner that visitors were inclined to snap photos.
Being located at the corner of a small plaza at Elgin Mills and Leslie automatically meant ample spaces in a private lot. Ceilings were high and furnishings were practical yet modern. Bar seating could be found near the entrance, while three communal tables with backless high stools were situated further within; one more communal table was found at ground level, adopting the form of an abstract wooden cross section. All tables sported lacquered finishes, probably for ease of de-cluttering.
Majority of the restaurant's orders fell within the takeout realm, so it was odd to be told that credit was not an acceptable form of payment. In short, bring cash.
I suppose I was also slightly surprised that a password-secured network was available for guest use. For an establishment that does not anticipate extended periods of stay, the network was confirmed exceptionally stable.
Amongst the constituents of the raw donburi(s) were: amaebi, ikura, tako, hokkigai (surf clam), sake, tuna, seasoned ika strips, cucumber slices, and two variants of fish that I was unable to name.
Tako and hokkigai are generally my least favourite species, and there are few establishments that manage to render them tender enough for my liking. Sadly, Ai Sushi does not fall within this category. The salmon slices did not possess uniformity in terms of fat content, even within the same bowl, though they were undeniably fresh. The same cannot be said in regards to the tuna nor the two styles of white fish.
Pickled Korean yellow radish (danmuji) also seems to be a popular garnish as of late. The flavours are enjoyable, but it is an admittedly odd addition to sushi and sashimi when feasting within non-fusion framework.
Towards the evening hours, we were prompted to commence a jam-crafting sequence. Fresh strawberries and blackberries were chopped, then pulverized in the machine of choice.