Sushi D


Sushi D is one of many AYCE restaurants located on College Street in Toronto, ON. The place offers the standard Japanese all-you can-eat fare at a reasonable price. The restaurant is a long room with tables aligned to both sides, and there's even a patio at the front. 


The prices of the AYCE dinner are $19.99 (Mon-Thurs) and $21.99 (Fri-Sun/Holiday); which is on par with the other AYCE establishments. I have read a lot of rave reviews about Sushi D; which is one of the reasons why I decided to have dinner here one night. My entire dining experience was not too appalling as the food was good but the service itself was less than desirable.


Instead of providing a list of items (where you check off the stuff you want); the waiter actually took our orders and wrote it down himself. The food arrived within minutes of us ordering, so that was a pleasant surprise. I slowly started to take pictures of the food that arrived to the table for the blog (using NO flash from the camera whatsoever). I noticed a lady walking back and forth looking at me with a stern look on her face. I believe that she was the owner of the restaurant.


As I took a picture of the chicken teriyaki; she tapped on my shoulder and started "interrogating me as to what I was doing? And what was wrong with the food?" I was incredibly put off by this abrasive approach, as she was pretty much in my face. I have never been questioned or approached in that manner by any owners before. So after spending many unnecessary minutes trying to explain that I was taking pics for the purpose of blogging, she finally gave me the "OKed" to take pictures.


Another thing that I also noticed about the service was that the staff were kind of efficient at clearing the empty dishes away. However, there was absolutely no acknowledgement or response (no eye contact whatsoever as well) from the staff. I think we were served by 4 different waiters/waitresses and only one waitress actually said something towards the end of the meal which was "do you want ice cream?", and also the first waiter who took our orders. The staff were strangely silent.


The menu at Sushi D was relatively standard. I thought that the menu offered a good selection of maki, sushi, and appetizers. Although their dessert choices was only limited to ice cream.

Disappointingly, there was no beef teriyaki on the menu so I got the BBQ beef ribs instead. The ribs were actually pretty good and it had a nice sweet flavor to it.

Miso soup and salad were standard but good.


In my opinion, Sushi D's chicken teriyaki was one of the best that I have had out of all the AYCE places that I have eaten. The chicken pieces were tender and sauteed in a really tasting teriyaki sauce.

I didn't like the sushi pizza as the fried patty tasted pretty stale. Additionally, the salmon on top was not as fresh and was really mushy in texture. 


The deep fried scallop was delicious as it was lightly fried in batter, and was crunchy.

The beef udon was decent but I thought that the soup base used was kind of bland. I had to add more hot sauce to the soup.


The menu boasts a variety of different maki, sushi and there was a few selections of sashimi and hand rolls. The sushi that was offered at Sushi D was fresh and well cut/prepared by the two chefs.

To the right are the three slices of salmon sashimi, eel maki, spicy white tuna maki, salmon maki and unagi maki.


I thought that the food quality was pretty good for an AYCE, and I enjoyed their cooked food. However, the poor quality service did turn me off, and deterring me from returning.


RATINGS:

Quality of Food: 3.8/5
Service: 2/5
Dining Experience: 3/5
Price: $$

Address: 671 College St, Toronto, ON, M6G 1B9

Sushi D on Urbanspoon

Vieux-Port Steakhouse


After a tiring day of exploring Old Montreal in Montreal, QC, I was absolutely famished by 7:00 pm. My friends, boyfriend, and I walked past by Vieux-Port Steakhouse, and it was pretty packed inside so we all decided to give it a try.


Vieux-Port Steakhouse is a well-established steakhouse that opened in 1983. Upon entering the establishment, there was a tank full of live lobsters to the left of the entrance, which was cool. The hostess quickly greeted us at the door, and brought us to a nicely set table near to the side of the restaurant. The decor of Vieux-Port Steakhouse exemplifies an old-school grandeur to me. The only complaint that I have about the atmosphere was that the tables were quite close to each other, so there was a lack of privacy.


We were handed the menus, and a basket of bread & butter by the waiter. The bread was fresh, and the insides were absolutely soft. To start off the meal; a dozen oysters were ordered ($40.00) for the table as appetizers. I haven't acquired the taste of oysters yet, so I didn't eat any of it.


I ordered the tenderloin medallions with grilled shrimp ($35.00) which was part of their surf & turf menu. The two tenderloin medallions were cooked at a perfect medium, and were really juicy. I also enjoyed the four pieces of black tiger shrimps, which were delectably grilled.The meal also came with a side order which I chose french fries. The fries were okay as I found them to be a little bit too soggy and not crispy enough.


As for dessert, I ordered the crème brûlée ($6.00) which was really cheap so I couldn't resist (one of my favorite desserts). The crème brûlée from Vieux-Port Steakhouse was actually served in a larger oval flat bowl which was different from the usual small round bowl found at other places. The disc of caramel was well caramelized and the custard underneath was both rich and delicious.


I thought that the hospitality provided at Vieux-Port Steakhouse was fantastic. Our waiter was very welcoming and attentive. He came by the table often to check upon us, took away empty plates, and refilled our water frequently. So if you're ever in Montreal, then I'd definitely recommend checking out Vieux-Port Steakhouse.


RATINGS:

Quality of Food: 4.4/5
Service: 4/5
Dining Experience: 4/5
Price: $$$

Address: 39 Rue Saint Paul East, Montreal, QC, H2Y 1G2


Griffintown Café

Griffintown Café is one of many breakfast and brunch places in downtown Montreal. While researching restaurants to go to in MTL, I found this little restaurant and wanted to try it out due to the favorable reviews found online.

The restaurant was very small, and basically in one space. They even have an open kitchen in the back of the room (where you are able to see the cooks working and cleaning away)

The atmosphere was very casual and I found it quite interesting that the water was served in an old-style bourbon bottle. The menu was basically one page so the choices of food items were a little limited.


I ordered the brioche french toast ($12.50) which was basically two slices of french toasts (bourbon, vanilla bean, sweet cream and maple syrup) topped with fresh berries. Was it good? It was pretty good as the french toast was delightfully soaked in vanilla batter and was really sweet. 
 

Was it worth the price? I did like the french toast, but it was definitely not worth the price as I was still hungry afterwards. I also ordered a side sausage ($4.00) and it was not what I expected. The sausage was a flat round patty and tasted way too salty.  

My boyfriend ordered the egg benedict with bacon ($12.50), and he thought that it was mediocre as the biscuits were dry and the potatoes were hard to eat. Another friend ordered the breakfast burger ($13.50) which was a beef, lamb, duck party, fried egg, cheese with a burger bun. He thought that the patty tasted okay, but the bun was flavorless. I was the only one out of the three of us who actually liked their food.

As for the service; we had limited interactions with the wait staff. None of them checked up on us throughout the duration of the 45-50 minutes brunch. Additionally, we had to ask twice for a refill of water (the first person we asked forgot).

RATINGS:

Quality of Food: 3/5
Service: 2.5/5
Dining Experience: 3/5
Price: $$

Address: 1378 Rue Notre Dame Ouest, Montréal, QC, H3C1K8


Joons Restaurant

Joons is a small Korean restaurant situated in the busy area of Yonge & Finch. This place is known for their table-top cooking, so I decided to give it a try. 


The meal started off with the typical appetizers which included kimchi, broccoli with hot sauce, radish, and mashed potatoes. I did not really like the appetizers that were offered here. I found the taste of the kimchi to be quite off; it was extremely sour (more so compared to other Korean places that I have frequented).


One of the most popular dishes at Joons would be their dak galbi ($9.25 x 2 portions). Dak Galbi is a “dish generally made by stir-frying marinated diced chicken in a gochujang (chili pepper paste) based sauce, and sliced cabbage, sweet potato, scallions, onions and tteok (rice cake) together on a hot plate” (credits: wikipedia). Here at Joons, you have to buy at least 2 portions of the dak galbi, and you can add additional items for $1 to $2 each (such as cheese, veggies, rice, rice cakes etc ...) to customize your dish. I was a little hesitant at first to add the mozzarella cheese to the chicken, but it really compliments well with everything. Overall, this was a decent meal and was not expensive at all.

Joons Korean Cuisine on Urbanspoon

I thought that the service at Joons Restaurant was lacking despite the place being half-empty (around 1:30 pm). The only times that I really saw our waitress was when she gave us the menus, and when she was cooking our dak galbi on another table. After giving us the food; she seemingly disappeared out of sight and into the back for the rest of the lunch.

RATINGS:

Quality of Food: 3/5
Service: 2/5
Dining Experience: 2.5/5
Price: $$

Address: 4852 Yonge Street, North York, ON, M2N 5N2

Joons Korean Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Noble Seafood Restaurant

One of my favorite Dim Sum restaurants has got to be Noble Seafood Restaurant, which is located in the heart of downtown Chinatown in Toronto. I have also ate at "Rol San", a neighboring dim sum restaurant, which I will never return to (mainly due to the poor service, and our bill was between $6-$10 extra on two separate occasions).


I know that the sign outside of the restaurant advertises "All Day Dim Sum", but I really don't recommend ordering it past the dim sum hours of 4:00 pm. I ordered some dim sum dishes at around 8:00 pm one night, and they were pretty much re-heated from frozen (and $1 to $2 more).

The prices itself was pretty decent, as it was the standard pricing of any other dim sum places, so no complaints there.
The dim sum prices (11 am to 4 pm) are as followed:

Small - $1.68
Medium - $1.98
Large - $2.68
X-Large - $2.98

The siu mai (L) was decent; as there was a good amount of beef.


One of my favorite dishes was the noodle rice roll with shrimp (L). The rice rolls itself were nicely made, and it didn't fall apart when picking the item up to dip into the soy sauce. The shrimps used was really fresh, and tasted delicious. 


There was also a choice of noodle rice roll with beef (L) for those who preferred beef more so than shrimps. The beef stuffing was plentiful.  


The fried chicken/shrimp rolls wrapped in seaweed (L) came in four rolls (sorry ... one was eaten before I took a pic), and accompanied by mayonnaise.

The rolls were really greasy, but the mixture of chicken/shrimp in the roll was a good combination. 


The fried chicken/shrimp rolls wrapped in seaweed (L) are both fried dishes. So one can expect the dishes to be really greasy and fattening, which they were. Both dishes were freshly fried, and super crispy.
 
The next item is a standard dim sum dish, and also another one of my favorites. The har gow (L) here had the right texture, as it had a fairly thin skin, without the shrimp fillings being skimpy and falling out.

There are some people who just eat the har gow as is. However, if you want a little more flavor to it, then you should try dipping it into the red vinegar that is provided as condiments.

I also ordered the fried beef short Korean ribs (XL), which is one of the newer dishes on the menu. It was pretty good. The ribs were well seasoned. Even though this was a XL dish; disappointingly there were only 4 pieces of ribs on the dish. 


To the right of the menu; there was a list of dishes that are recommended by the chef; prices vary between $4.99 to $12.99. I chose the yeung chow fried rice ($4.99), which is pictured below. It was an extremely good price for a full dish of the rice.

Despite the language barrier (as I can't speak Cantonese); I have always found that the service at Noble Seafood Restaurant to be quick and professional.
 

RATINGS:

Quality of Food: 4/5
Service: 3.5/5
Dining Experience: 3.5/5
Price: $$

Address:  530 Dundas St. W, Toronto, ON, M5T1H3

Noble Seafood Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Old Barber House (Closed)

Old Barber House is a restaurant set in a home built in 1862. The property has a small sized gazebo in the back, and a beautiful garden full of booming flowers and grasses. The view was quite magnificent.


The Caesar salad ($9.00) was served with croutons, bacon, parmesan cheese, and dressing. The salad was pretty decent but nothing special.


The jumbo shrimp cocktail ($20.00) consisted of four black tiger shrimps served with a traditional cocktail sauce. The cocktail sauce was very sweet and tangy.


I chose the escargots ($12.00) as an appetizer. The dish was heavily covered with parmesan (cheese) sauce and sautéed mushrooms ... and the escargots were underneath. I liked the garlic tastes of the sauce. However, I thought the portions were a little bit skimpy as there were only a few small pieces of escargots.


For my main course; I ordered the Surf N Turf ($50.00). The meal came with a lightly charred steak with veggies on the side. The beef tenderloin steak was flavorful and grilled nicely.


The meal also came with a broiled rock lobster tail which is pictured to the right. The lobster tail was warm and succulent.

Overall, I thought that the service was impeccable. Our waiter was extremely accommodating, polite, and helpful. He was also very personal throughout the night, and made conversations. 

RATINGS:

Desserts Time!!

Chocolate Fudge Cake
Creme Brulee
Strawberry Cheesecake

Quality of Food: 4/5
Service: 5/5
Dining Experience: 4.3/5
Price: $$$$

Address: 5155 Mississauga Road, Mississauga, ON, L5M 2L9
 


Ichiban Sushi

The day started out with John, Martin and I going to The Harborfront to take engagement photos for our friends, Suzy and Jason (who have been together for nearly 7 years). The photo session took about 2 hours, and so by the end of the shoot ... all five of us were famished. So we decided to go for lunch at the nearest sushi shop which was Ichiban Sushi located on Queens Quay West. 


Ichiban Sushi is a sushi franchise within Canada, and there are several locations in the GTA areas. My first impression upon walking into the restaurant was that the place was relatively spacious, and well decorated. We were seated in a decently lit private booth (with curtains); there was a good amount of spaces between us five. Once seated; we got the menu and green tea/water. I thought that the service was prompt, and our waitress was friendly. 


In my opinion, the prices were a little on the higher end of the spectrum when compared to the mediocre quality of the food. 


As we waited for our food; we received complimentary soup (tiny bowl of noodles and chicken soup base), which is the very first picture posted at the top.


I can't comment on the taste of the seafood udon ($10.95) (as I didn't order it), but from the looks of it; the portion was large enough for one person.


The sushi pizza ($9.95) looked appealing, but it tasted alright. The fried patty was way too thin, and crunchy compared to the extreme mushy textures of the salmon. I didn't really like it.


The beef teriyaki dinner ($15.95) consisted of miso soup, salad, white rice, beef teriyaki and some veggies on the side. I actually liked the miso soup, as it was not too salty, and there was actually pieces of seaweed underneath. The beef teriyaki was a little on the dry side, and I had to constantly rub each piece of beef across my plate so that the extra sweet teriyaki sauce that was on my plate would coat the pieces. Overall, the beef was thinly sliced and tender enough for my liking.

Ichiban Sushi on Urbanspoon


My boyfriend ordered the matsu dinner bento box ($19.95) and chose the salmon teriyaki. This bento box consisted of the following items; salad, miso soup, rice, 3 pieces of sushi, 6 pieces of sashimi, tempura, choice of either salmon or beef and green tea ice-cream. The matsu dinner bento box is extremely overpriced as the portion was quite small. According to him, the slices of the sashimi were decently cut, but the fish itself was not as fresh as it should be (considering the price for it).


Suzy ordered the tempura ($7.95) (pictured to the right) and the spider rolls ($7.95) (pictured below). She thought that the tempera basket was quite skimpy.

Although the food was mediocre; I had good company. So ... I'd like to take the time to thank both Jason and Suzy for lunch =)


RATINGS:

Quality of Food: 2.6/5
Service: 3.5/5
Dining Experience: 3/5
Price: $$$

Address: 262 Queens Quay West, Toronto, ON M5V3A7

Ichiban Sushi on Urbanspoon