Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Inatei Japanese Cuisine (9021 Leslie Street, Richmond Hill, Ontario)

Salad that comes with my meal
I'm somewhat glad they didn't use the regular iceberg lettuce. The dressing tastes a bit like soya sauce paste.

Tempura ramen. It comes with a maki roll.
All of the maki roll options were in Japanese phonetics, so I randomly picked one and the waiter knew I was guessing. He verified with me that I wanted tuna, and I thought that was pretty considerate. I really enjoyed the tempura batter. It was very flaky, crispy, and still light in colour. The ramen noodles had a good bounce to them. The vegetables in the ramen were kind of whatever. I was surprised at how much food this meal was.

Green tea dessert that comes with my meal.
It's jiggly like gelatin, and there are some cold red beans at the bottom. It's not that sweet. I think it was a good way to end the meal.

Would I return? Yeah, the servers are pretty attentive and nice enough, and the lunch specials are pretty reasonably priced. Atmosphere is comfortable and the place is nicely decorated.

Total damage: $13.

See Professor Crunchy's trips to Inatei.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Star King

Star King Viet Thai Cuisine (7050 Warden Avenue, Markham, Ontario)

It's a bit confusing walking into Star King. The location used to be a Kelsey's, and all the decorations, tables, booths, and the bar has remained; however, they serve pho, and there are teacups and chopsticks on the tables.

Beef brisket curry with rice.
I thought the meat was quite soft. The brisket tore apart easily in strands. Mel, who ordered the same thing as me, enjoyed the meat. She actually got hers with bread instead of rice, which she also enjoyed. The actual curry was a bit on the bland side to me.

Mel's black sesame ice cream.
The picture in menu was very enticing to many people at our table. The intense black colour made it look like it'd have intense black sesame flavour. Mel said that it was very good.

Would I return? Sure, it's affordable enough, and it seems a bit cleaner than most pho joints. 

Total damage for my curry and rice: $9.

Monday, June 28, 2010


I can't always eat bling food. When I'm on the go and need a lot of calories, I go for McDonald's.

I'm a sucker for breakfast combo #2: Sausage egg McMuffin combo with apple juice.

Filet-o-fish combo.

Why is it now a half slice of processed cheese?

That hash brown was deep fried for too long.

This is the colour that hash browns should be.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Akasaka Japanese Restaurant

Akasaka Japanese Restaurant (280 West Beaver Creek Road, Richmond Hill, Ontario)

Food first, nom nom nom.

Miso soup and salad. Tea was served while we were sifting through the menu.
Jo mentioned that the tea tasted leafy like green tea ice cream. I didn't get the 'like green tea ice cream' bit, but I noticed that it didn't smell as strong as other teas that I'm used to being served in Japanese restaurants. That being said, it didn't lack in taste nor do I feel that it was watered down. Miso was standard with tofu chunks and seaweed bits. The dressing on the salad was subtle and light in colour. There was a small chunk of orange at the bottom which was nice after a mini conversation about lettuce tasting like shit in general. 

Sake almontini
The flower was pretty. A small sip was enough to note the very strong almond taste. The drink was sweet and it reminded me of the Chinese almond soup dessert, but less thick. The alcohol taste was very minor. It was a great drink, but I don't think it went very well with my choice of food.

Akasaka boat.
A 36-piece combination of the chef's choice of sushi and sashimi. Deliciousness! Sashimi was great. I was particularly impressed with the tuna that just melted in my mouth. I liked the rainbow roll, which had mango, avocado, and salmon inside. The sizes of the nigri were perfect one-bite pieces with a good amount of rice. I liked that there were some special pieces on the boat, including the uni, the tobiko, and the saba roe. The octopus slices were good and not too chewy. The hardest part about splitting the boat was deciding on who would get which of the 'special' pieces as they didn't come in pairs.

Me: Why are you eating all the special pieces first?
Jo: So you don't eat them. 

The shell with dry ice at the front of the boat was super cool. The vapours were flowing out of it for a while, and it created some steamy fog around our food. Very neat presentation.

The flying fish roe was so crunchy. It was pretty awesome.

Being pleased with the quality of the food, we ordered an additional Acme roll. It came out looking like a mini dragon with its head cut off.
It's a giant, cooked prawn shrimp wrapped in a thin sheet of beef with truffle paste and gold flakes on top. The truffle paste was very strong tasting, and it reminded me of a mushroom-flavoured, olive tapenade. The shrimp was very plump and nicely cooked. 

Expresso crème brûlée and green tea crème brûlée.
The green tea one was very creamy, and the burnt sugar top to both of them were thin. My expresso dessert had more of a soft ice cream consistency, and it wasn't very bitter. It was enjoyable.

Setting: The restaurant is nicely decorated. I enjoyed the mini zen garden sake display near the entrance, but I wasn't a huge fan of the red chairs. The atmosphere is casual enough, and there were lots of children on a Saturday night. People were present and chatting.

The place is divided by glass windows into two sections: normal seating and teppenyaki tables. I liked how I could see some of the excitement from the teppenyaki tables without actually being seated in that section.

The restaurant is dimly lit, and there are candles on the tables. Jo said it seemed very romantic... then our sashimi and sushi boat came out with two roses in the centre. I had to laugh.

Variety and options: The menu is full of options. The drinks and food are combined into one menu, and I spent a good amount of time just staring at the drinks section. There's a pretty good selection of sake and sake cocktails.

On that particular day, there was a set dinner with several lobster dishes. It looked pretty interesting, but we weren't sure what "lobster illusion" was. Jo joked that it was fake lobster.

Sifting through the menu was a daunting task. There were some really interesting items under the New Wave Maki and New Tidal Wave Maki headings, including Lobster-Licious, Hamachi Supreme, Crown Royal, and Super Rainbow. Others such as Green & Brown just sounded terribly-named. There was also a whole page featuring wagyu beef items. Wagyu beef sashimi is an option, but not for the unemployed. There are plenty of noodle or cooked food options (e.g. teppenyaki, teriyaki, tempura, various rolls) for those who don't eat raw fish.

Service: Service was good overall. All of the staff was pretty pleasant. My one gripe was when we were waiting for an awkwardly long time at the front to be seated. We were standing there, and though many of the staff (and customers) saw us, none made a motion to greet us. It was long enough for Jo to get bored and start going towards the sake display. Things were much better after a friendly gentleman in a chef's uniform brought us to our table.

Would I return? Weird wait to be seated aside, I'd like to go back and try some of the meat and lobster dishes and perhaps the udon, but it will be a difficult choice knowing how good the sashimi is. I'd also like to try the other sake cocktails as I thoroughly enjoyed the one I had. There are so many options that I think I could go back several times without getting bored of the restaurant.

Total damage: $105.54 for two. My wallet feels so empty, but my stomach felt so pleasantly full.

Keep checking Jo's site for her review.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Kim's Ichiban

Kim's Ichiban (550 Highway 7 East, Richmond Hill)

Sushi and Sashimi platter.
Note the pink items in the top right corner of the picture. I don't remember what they were, but the people there said that it was something special that's not served everywhere and had just come from overseas. I wish I could remember what it was. 

The salmon was very orange that day. 

Miso soup

Complimentary hand roll.

Would I return? Yes, if only to remember what the food there tastes like. Also, the people who work there are very, very kind.

Total damage: I honestly can't remember, but I think it was pretty affordable for sushi/sashimi.

See what I had to say about this place the first time around.

Friday, June 25, 2010


Akabane (Uh... couldn't find an address, but it's here, in the plaza across from the Loblaws that's Southwest of Bayview and High Tech Road.)

Replacing Green Thai is Akabane: a sushi and Thai place that also provides the all you can eat option. Me thinks it's run by the same people as the previous restaurant because Japanese sushi and Thai does not seem like a common mix.

As of right now, there's a deal for the all you can eat option which is buy three, get one free. Sadly, we were only three people.

We all had some issues with our disposable chopsticks. Josie's were wonky and mine were stuck to the paper casing. Josie suggested that they might've previously gotten wet somehow.

Deep-fried octopus balls and red dragon roll
The octopus balls weren't bad. There was a lot of something creamy after breaking through the deep fried shell. In the very centre is a cute-sized piece of octopus. The red dragon roll was satisfactory, but the salmon could have been fresher.

Seaweed salad and mango salad
The mango salad was made from crunchy mangoes, red peppers, chopped nuts, and a splash of something vinegar-based - possibly vinegar. Both were fine to me. Josie wasn't expecting just slices of mango, but that's more or less what I've come to expect mango salad to be.

Sashimi plate - three pieces of each.

I was surprised that they actually had scallop sashimi (though the menu stated a limit... that wasn't really adhered to). It was soft, but I can't really say it was the best I've had since the last time I had it was at Le Cafe Michi, where it was huge and delicious. Mel noted that the fake crab was pretty good in that it had divisible strands and wasn't just a clump. I wasn't much a fan of the frozen-tasting white tuna. On the plate, I think I most enjoyed the scallop, mackerel, and egg. I didn't really like that the salmon was a bit dull in colour.

Thai soup.
I forget what it's actually called, but it's the soup with a spicy coconut flavour. The flavour was actually pretty strong. The chilli oil was visible, and there was a small tingle on my tongue. 

Tobiko sushi.
I like the crunchy bubbles. I wasn't expecting the seaweed part to also be crunchy though.

Hot and sour soup.
Not so much hot as it was sour, but I liked it nonetheless. There were a lot of crunchy vegetables in it.

They were actually a bit warm when they came out, and I was glad that they weren't already dried up and crusty.

Taro tempura.
The tempura part wasn't bad, but the taro could've been cooked more in my opinion. I generally like the taro to be softer so that most of the crunch is coming from the tempura.

Soft shell crab roll.
It was stuffed with a lot of stuff, including cucumber and I think I tasted mayonnaise. 

Yummy banana and yam sushi roll.
The "Yummy" is part of the name of this item on the menu. Josie was disappointed that the filling was in tempura form. I liked the flavours and I think the tempura gave it an interesting texture. I took it as dessert sushi. The rice and tempura batter cut a lot of the mild sweetness from the banana, but the mango sauce added it back.

Deep-fried banana.
This came in a manageable portion. It's actually just banana slices in tempura batter with chocolate sauce. I thought it was fine for what it was.

They were out of sesame ice cream, but they did have coconut ice cream as a consolation.
I was surprised that there were actually strips of coconut in it. Those pieces tasted more like the softer young coconut kind than the older crunchy kind. Without the solids, the ice cream tasted more like vanilla than anything.

Service needs a little work in finesse, but I can see that most of them are trying. I commend them for not messing up or forgetting any of our orders, even when they hadn't written anything down. There were a few stumbles with taking away dishes and serving tea, but they seemed genuinely apologetic (and luckily I own the most invincible phone ever). Also, I didn't need to see the two servers getting into an argument with each other. Tea refills were brought without us asking except for the very last time right before ice cream. I was impressed with the few smiles from our servers as this is often overlooked in Chinese-run restaurants. One server even asked us how we were doing in the middle of the meal. Again, unheard of in many Chinese-run restaurants (at least in this area).

I think a lot of the cooked food is actually better quality. Their raw fish isn't the freshest. Their octopus was actually quite good and not that chewy. The beef was done right, and never overcooked. The portions are good sizes for all you can eat as they allow you to try more items on the menu. My favourites of the night were the enoki wrapped in beef, the grilled octopus, the soups, tobiko sushi, and the coconut ice cream. The banana and yam sushi gets an honourable mention for being unique. I wasn't a fan of the white tuna sashimi, the salmon sashimi, or the surf clam (bias).

Would I return? Maybe to try more of their cooked items.

Total damage: $24.

Look out for Professor Crunchy's take on this place when it gets posted.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu

Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu (5445 Yonge Street, North York)
(647) 430-7458

This is one of Renée's favourite Korean places in Koreatown. I can see why.

The menu is short and succinct. Everything is priced pretty evenly.

Beer is reasonably priced as well.

There are pictures in the menu for reference.

Complimentary appetizers.
I was impressed when the server refilled them on her own.

The dumpling tofu soup comes out bubbling.

These stone bowls are where the rice is scraped from.

Later, they add water to them to make a type of edible congee.

I wanted to try some Korean beer.

It is very "Cool & Fresh!"
It was very fizzy and pretty light in taste.

The can opener image on the label dictates the appropriate coolness. 

Would I return? Yes, of course. The dishes are affordable and filling, not to mention quite tasty. I'm a fan of the silky tofu in the spicy soup.

Past review.
Jo's take.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Craft Burger


Berta had a craving for burgers, so off to Craft Burger we went.

Crazy burger with onion rings
I'm a bit sad because their burgers seem a little more cooked than I'd like nowadays. 
The peppers and Havarti cheese are nice. I'm not a vegetable hater, but I found the chunk of lettuce unnecessary since there's already coleslaw in it. Iceberg lettuce just sucks flavour out of things. Still, I think I like the crazy burger better than the spicy burger.

As always, the onion rings are crispy. The sweetness in the onion comes through a bit, but I still would like a bit of seasoning.

Note to self: don't use fake reference name when paying by credit card to avoid strange look from the cashier. 

Total damage: $11.47.