I had the honour of being invited by my friend, whom I’ve haven’t talk to in a while, to a Winterlicious at EDO on the 28 of January. Usually, I would do research on the restaurant that I am going to eat at, but sometimes, it’s exciting to go into it completely blind. And that is what I did today.
EDO is located at 484 Eglinton Ave. West, Toronto, ON, M5N 1A5
Judging by the name EDO, I know it’ll be a Japanese restaurant. I had that thought in the back of my head as I walked in the restaurant, so I was quite surprised to see how much it differs from a typical Japanese restaurant. It gives off this “Hi, I’m a fine dining” vibe with a sushi bar added (Yes, I just personified a restaurant). At that point, I was quite confused about what the restaurant is, and that usually spell bad things to come, but I’ll get back to that later.
We had a reservation at 7:30pm, and my friend was there at 7:20 to secure the reservation. I walked in right on time to find my friends still loitering at the entrance waiting to be seated. Now, I know it’s hard to predict how long it’ll take for people to eat and therefore, it’s hard for them to always have a table ready for every single reservation. But when you walk into a restaurant that you had reservation for, and there are empty tables, you can’t help but question the credibility of the restaurant. We finally got seated at 7:50, which is a whopping 20 minutes wait. I think they’re missing the point of why people make reservations.
Getting back to the topic before, I finally realised the reason for the decor and atmosphere after taking a look at the menu for the first time. I’d like to say its a Japanese and European fusion, but I think the more correct term is Japanese with European flavours added. I had fusion foods before, but the experience was rarely pleasant. Still, new restaurant means new possibilities. :) Despite thinking that, the first thing about their winterlicous menu was that… it’s very crumpled up. I know it’s a temporary menu, and many people probably have used it before me… it’s still quite degrading for a restaurant with such high class atmosphere. I never got a look at their regular menu, but their Winterlicious menu is a 5 course instead of the usual 3. This is when, if you excuse my cliché line, I see the light at the end of the tunnel.
The first course, the pre-appetizer or properly known as amuse bouche (but really, who uses proper terminology), was a spring roll stick with shrimp and shiso leaves. The name of the dish was called Cigar Shrimp. Fitting name. I’m not a fan of shiso… Well, not a fan is an understatement, but that’s a story for another day. The presentation of the dish was simple and easy; it’s what an amuse bouche should be. I was very sceptical about the taste because of the shiso, but to my surprise, they covered up the distinctive flavour of shiso very well.
The appetizer I got was the Tuna Sashimi Crunch Salad. Slight name error there as the tuna was more tataki than sashimi, but I’m not complaining here; this dish was beyond my expectation. Tatakis are usually accommodated with a japanese vinegar dressing, and the dressing usually packs a strong punch. I like my appetizer salad to be mild in flavour as it should not steal the spotlight from the main course, which is why I think the vinaigrette was a perfect substitute. The vinaigrette is not only perfect for the tuna tataki, but also perfect for the daikon (soaking up all the vinaigrette) accommodated with the cashews and some kind of crunchy chips. MMM So good. The tuna was so fresh that it just melts in my mouth. I thought it was very smart of them to use daikon as the bulk part of the salad seeing how they were mainly used as plating decor in sushi/sashimi dishes (but tasteless). A very nice touch indeed.
Though I was quite happy with how the food came out, by the time I finished the two courses, it was already around 9pm. Yes, I know, you’re there for the experience and all that, and frankly, I wouldn’t mind the long wait between courses if one of my friends didn’t need to leave by 10. We hinted the problem to the servers and they acknowledged it even though it’s partially, if not, entirely our fault. The rest of the courses were served at a very timely manner, faster than what you could expect at a fine dining.
Moving on to the Sushi Moriawase, or literally the sushi platter. One of the server explained what each of the sushi was, but she was speaking quite fast (maybe because we rushed them, or maybe not), so I could not hear everything she said clearly. I’ll do the best to explain what each of them are.
- The first piece was some kind of fish with red onion and diced ginger. I was quite unsure about this nigiri because both raw red onion and ginger have a very strong and distinctive taste. I’m also not a fan of eating ginger at all, but just like the shiso, they counteract the ginger very well. I could still taste the ginger, but it was faint enough that I could still taste the flavour of the fish and the red onion (which also adds the flavour of the fish and not overpower it).
- The piece in the middle was a ball of rice covered with eel (and I think avocado) with tobiko sprinkled on top of it. I know my description doesn’t do it justice, but trust me, it was good. Though it might be my biased opinion with eels.
- The next nigiri was a salmon nigiri drenched with tartar sauce. The salmon, like all the other sashimi I had that day, was fresh. Very fresh. Tartar sauce wasn’t too overpowering, a nice replacement for soy sauce. I guess I should give it an originality sticker since it’s my first time eating something like this. I did enjoy this, but at the same time… it’s just salmon nigiri with tartar sauce.
- Then we have the roll… It has avocado, toro, cucumber, imitation crab and spicy mayo. Ingredients might be simple, but there was the right amount of everything. A perfect balance of flavours. This was my favourite out of whole platter.
Then it was onto the true main course, which was a great disappointment after all that I’ve tasted. I had the Tori Katsu, which is basically fried chicken cutlets. After I took a closer look, the veggies on top fo the cutlet is what you would normally find in a coleslaw. It was bland and tasteless. As the result of the chicken being cut too thick, it was over cooked, making it too dried and too chewy. Even the sauce (composed of mayo and worcestershire sauce) doesn’t help ease the dryness of the chicken. Truly a let down after the build up.
Dessert was next, and man, was I excited for desserts. I bake a lot of desserts at home, so I have a higher expectation when it comes to desserts though I will still generally enjoy almost all form of desserts (even if they don’t meet my standard) as long as they aren’t inedible. Anyways, what I got was the Matcha Mont Blanc. I liked the plating: The fruits were fresh looking, it was colourful, and I liked the folded red napkin. The dessert, however, was subpar. The chestnut mont blanc was good; the matcha mousse was good, but it was just meh when put together. I still enjoyed it, but it was nothing special.
Alongside the dessert, we also got a complimentary chocolate fondue dessert. It’s to make up for having us wait 20 minutes before being seated, and also for serving the food too slow (even though, again, it was our fault). Though it’s nothing special, the fact that they did this was amazing. I could tell that the server didn’t like my group very much probably because they thought we don’t understand the concept of fine dining. So for them to give us a complimentary dessert even after all that was quite something. Definitely bonus points in my books.
Overall, the experience at EDO was pleasant. I give this restaurant a 7/10 + 1 bonus point for putting up with us. I would recommend this restaurant to others for sushi, not so much cooked dishes.
I’m sorry this review turned into an essay, but I feel like I need to convey exactly what transpired, so it’ll feel like you are experiencing it for yourself!
Thanks for reading, and until next time!