Sakura Japanese Cuisine

Sakura Japanese Cuisine is a Japanese restaurant located in the Annex; they offer both AYCE and a la carte options. This short review will be on my first visit to Sakura Japanese Cuisine where we opted for their a la carte menu for lunch. We were short on time as we had a meeting to attend, so we only had less than an hour that Saturday for lunch. However, we enjoyed our visit, and return soon after for their AYCE. That is going to be a separate review on its own.

I opted for the beef short ribs bento box ($10.99). Please note that the following bento box that I ordered was not part of their lunch specials and part of the dinner. They had a beef short ribs lunch special for a mere $6.99 but it didn't come with any sashimi or sushi. Normally, most places would give you tempura but in lieu of that, Sakura Japanese Cuisine gives you three pieces of salmon sashimi. It's a welcome alternative for those who like sashimi much more than tempura. Granted this was still an AYCE, so the sushi and sashimi aren't on par with high end places, but the quality was still pretty good. I'd say that Sakura Japanese Cuisine had a constant flow of customers during their lunch hour, so there was definitely a steady movement of fish. I also can appreciate the fact that there were more than 7 pieces of meaty ribs; the norm is usually four at other places.

J ended up getting the tempura udon ($8.95) which arrived out pretty quickly. He liked the fact that the tempura wasn't in the soup and on its own.

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Kenzo Ramen

Kenzo Ramen is another ramen chain that has several locations across the city. I went to the one located in the Annex a couple of days ago. I ordered their The King of Kings Ramen ($12.95) - spicy Netsu ramen with five toppings of roasted pork, sliced egg, fish cake, fresh seaweed and dried seaweed. Season topping: marianted bamboo shoot, which was topped with a generous amount of sliced roasted  pork and bean sprouts. It was priced well and the portion was more than generous. However, I couldn't help but noticed how much more sodium (salt) there were in the pork broth here than any other places that I have been to. It was kind of hard to drink the entire bowl cause I was pretty much consuming a handful of sodium with each gulp.

Unfortunately, my review on this particular bowl of ramen is a little mixed. While I enjoyed the tasty and tender pork; I thought that the noodles tasted slightly like instant ramen to me. However, they do offer vegetarian options at Kenzo Ramen so that's always a plus for those who can't eat meat.

 Address: 372 Bloor St W Toronto, ON M5S1X6 

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Kenzo Japanese Noodle House on Urbanspoon

All Star Wings and Ribs

All Star Wings and Ribs is a casual chain restaurant offering more than 100 flavors of chicken wings. In addition to the wings, they also serve a variety of other food items such as burgers, fries, sandwiches, salads, steaks, ribs, etc ... This was my third visit to this particular location up in Vaughan. I was here about less than a month ago for an old high school's friend's birthday dinner. We were a small group of seven people so reservation wasn't really needed since it was a weeknight.

We were seated at one of the larger tables, and were given menus to browse through. As mentioned earlier, they have a lot of different wing flavor, and some were pretty creative. We decided to order two different rounds of wings along with a pitcher of beer, and some pop drinks. To start off the night, we got two batches of their beer battered fries. I absolutely loved the fries here, as it's so crispy and delicious. Definitely up there along with the fries from St. Louis as my favorite. 

 As for the chicken, customers have a choice between non-breaded or breaded wings for each order.  All of their wings are served with celery and dip, and anything additional costs $1 each.

The prices are as followed:

Single ($10.95) - no splitting
Double ($20.95) - 1 flavor
30 wings ($29.95) - 1 flavor
50 wings ($48.95) - 3 flavors
100 wings ($89.95) - 4 flavors

The wings were rather delicious and the pieces weren't small at all. I would say that the sizes were relatively comparable to other wings joints that I have been to. The flavors were definitely there, and I did enjoy most of the ones that we selected. I liked that the wings weren't dripping in excess oil, so that's always a plus in my books. Overall, it's a good place to relax and enjoy some wings with friends, family etc ...

Address: 3130 Rutherford Rd Vaughan, ON, L4K 0B1

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Sukho Thai

Sukhothai recently opened up their third location on Dundas St. W, replacing the brunch spot, The Guild. They now have three locations to their name throughout the downtown area. A couple of months back, a friend and I decided to eat at the Wellington location around 6 pm. We chose a good time as we were immediately seated when we arrived, but they did get busier as the night went on. 

Walking on Wellington Street E, you will see a plethora of restaurants in the area. However, it's not that hard to miss the giant dark green sign with an elephant logo on the storefront. This location is much larger than their original location and can accommodate more diners.

The decor was a mix of rustic and modern with its exposed brick and comfortable seating. It differs from Khao San Road's communal styled seating. As for the menu, it was a simple two pager showcasing main dishes between $10-$15 and the appetizers are roughly $5-$10 per dish. The prices may be slightly higher than the average Thai establishments downtown but the quality of the food is definitely there. 

I ordered the shrimp sukhoThai pad thai ($15) - included peanuts, long leaf and lime, and it came out nicely presented and was good sized portion. The flavor profile was definitely there as I thought that that the Pad Thai had a good balance between tangy and spicy. Additionally, they use tamarind in the paste which is so much better than ketchup which a lot of places use as an alternative.

 In regards to the service, our server was brisk but he was friendly. We didn't wait long for our orders to be taken, and the food arrived in a timely manner.

My friend, Ray, got the curry ($13) - includes rice and choice of chicken, beef, tofu, fish or shrimp. However, it's an extra $1 if you opt for the fish or shrimp options.

Address: 52 Wellington Street E, Toronto, ON, M5E 1C9

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