I had secured the booking via telephone a few days prior, and had been informed that the well-illuminated pocket of the eatery had been converted to a permanent "Grab & Go" area. Patrons would be seated in the dining room (or along the bar) instead, with two metres allocated between each table. Given the size of the eatery, this would restrict capacity to 50% - equating to roughly fifteen guests at most. Having observed the seating areas of several other establishments, the interior was admittedly more spacious than pictured.
Four members of staff were spotted during our stay: one member adopting hostess and waitress responsibilities, two sushi chefs, and one member of the kitchen. This head count appeared reasonable, for few tables were occupied at the time - there was a grand total of six diners, inclusive of ourselves.
Possibly the most budget-friendly variant of omakase in the city, Shunoko's ten-piece series rang in at only forty-five dollars - a stark contrast to the seventy-five-and-above fixtures I had noticed elsewhere throughout the GTA.
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It is normally recommended to consume the assortment in the arranged sequence, commencing with the leanest/lightest in flavour and concluding with the fattiest/richest. Such detail had not been provided, though it was noted that each specimen had already been brushed with soy sauce, nixing the need for additional dipping.
The other members of the squad were also delicious, yet none so dominating that a vivid impression remained.
Negi-toro maki is no newcomer to this space, and Shunoko's rendition did not disappoint. Crisp nori and lightly hydrating chopped scallion adorned the roll, along with a fine floral strand devoid of discernible taste. The Marinated Mackerel was as supple as it appeared, promptly disappearing with its delivery. Bearing a multitude of pink, fatty folds, the uniform marbling of the O-Toro spoke for itself. It was, admittedly, more satiating that desired, yet well deserving of its esteemed title.
Supposedly freshly grated wasabi surfaced as a noticeable difference when it came to consumption of the house maki. The Japanese horseradish was of a yellow-green hue, similar to that of oxidized matcha. Deceptively dull colour aside, its grittiness and mild zing were instantly deemed noteworthy. Along with boasting the best chirashi I've tasted to date, this visit also confirmed the exceptional quality of their condiments.
Balzac's Powerhouse was approximately sixteen minutes away by foot, nestled on a quiet side street off Lansdowne.
The Classic is truly a timeless concoction, for while it doesn't harness the crisp edges of PC The Decadent, it was more than satisfactory in filling the voids for chocolate, crunch, and cookie dough.