Sushi was our choice of supper. Not wanting to veer too far from the 401, we agreed upon Gonoe, a small Korean-operated eatery within close proximity to Don Mills at York Mills.
Their Thornhill location had surfaced on my feed some few years back, namely for small platters of live, squirming octopus legs. Unfortunately, this option didn't exist in the smaller, less remarkable North York outpost.
Yet, when we arrived, a party of four were readily seated before us, merely on the basis that they had reserved a table - a day in advance.
Gonoe is not a large restaurant; it merely assumes a narrow corner spot in the plaza in which it is located. The storefront was easy enough to spot even admist the dimming tones of the sky, but the simplicity of dining ended there.
Traversing through the double doors, we landed in the cramped quarters of the casual eatery. A minute passed, then five, then a few more. We hadn't been acknowledged at all.
The two members of waitstaff moved swiftly about the dining area, yet didn't bother casting a single glance in our direction. As I passed by the sashimi bar and slipped into the washroom, distinctively Korean phrases were heard. Even after I re-emerged from the stall, the ladies hadn't bothered with us.
One even had the audacity to seat the party behind us, claiming that they had reserved "in advance". The same ponytail-sporting waitress then dared to gesture towards a tiny two-person table, noting that it was "the only available table". Her take-it-or-leave-it tone was inadmissible. I proudly declined her offer, and responded that we would much rather wait for the next appropriately-sized table.
Ten minutes passed before we were finally seated.
I cannot overlook the fact that it took another fifteen minutes to place our orders (with a different server), and then another twenty or so minutes, before food could be tasted. The table behind us, who appeared frequent customers of the establishment, were seated in a reduced time frame and had their hot plate orders delivered eons earlier than us. One ought to have thought sashimi dishes to be the quicker picks.
The appetizers of miso soup and ponzu-dressed salad were mediocre at best; crummy bits of chopped laver floated within the starter soup instead of the standard inch-long strips.
Our mains fared not much better.
Famished and fatigued, I was primarily focused on the container before my eyes. It wasn't until I was made aware of the restaurant's concerning use of katsu coating on the shrimp tempura that my attention strayed. The batter wasn't airy like your typical tempura, but rather stiff in comparison and reeking heavily of day-old grease.
Few complaints were overheard in regards to the Sashimi Moriwase. Compliments weren't expressed either, though
Gonoe's Thornhill location may be a popular choice amongst locals, but I can wholeheartedly assure you that the North York outpost is worth skipping. I'll remember to take my sashimi cravings - and dignity as a paying customer - elsewhere from now on