Ikura Sushi

Ikura Sushi Restaurant 3280 Midland Ave, Toronto ON
Approx $20 per person
Local Food? some local ingredients
Local Wine/Beer? very small selection
Lunch, Dinner
Mon to Sun: 11am to 11pm

With the summer season starting to wind down, All You Can Eat sushi restaurants are starting to ramp up for the winter seasons and showing signs of letting up. AYCE sushi appears to be all the rage propping up on almost every corner of Markham.

Enter Ikura Sushi. Tucked into a corner at the Scarborough Village Mall (green canopy plaza) a pinch North of Finch and Midland beholds one of the newer sushi AYCE’s in the Markham area. Eggshell colored walls framed with ash-black trim lend a Zen-inspired modern feel and is accented with Japanese novelties lending a subtle reminder to where you are dining. Certainly roomy enough and SUMO-sized, I don’t think you would be crashing into anyone when the restaurant is full.

I was promptly handed a menu that is just shy of 200 items. It was quite a lot to take in, but nevertheless the menu is complete and offers a solid selection at lunch and boasts over 200 items at dinner. The usual drinks are included. The Sashimi roster is solid with no less than 7 players, salmon, red snapper, butterfish etc. If shellfish is your thing they also have torigai as well as hokkigai. Rolls and hand rolls are clearly listed and again no stone seems to be left unturned as the menu has the familiar Spider roll to the complacent California roll and futo maki. I was slightly disappointed to not see a list of special items that would be ONLY host to this restaurant such as house special rolls, or creative sushi (no Ikura sushi!?!? [large fish eggs] ), but overall the bases are loaded when it comes to those staple favourites that are more popular.

My orders came quickly with hot dishes being first to appear and sushi quickly there after. For the hot dishes as a whole, yakitori skewers of chicken and beef were well done with the meat tender and cooked thru. Tempura, which seems to be unusually difficult for some restaurants, were crisp, light and had a clean taste. Beef onion rolls were well seasoned and overall all the cooked dishes aren’t overly popular with me in general (I am there to enjoy sushi) but everything that I had ordered was well done.

 I was immediately taken by the size of each nigiri sushi. As you can see by the pictures, each piece is crafted perfectly in form and size. Not huge slabs like some other places that kill you with rice. It is no surprise that the taste is equally as good as its presentation and its done right with the rice seasoned being a bit sweet and a bit sour – hints sugar and a tablespoon of vinegar.

The rolls were also a reflection of seasoned experience. As you can see by the pictures, generous ingredients used, soft-shell crab is fresh and not overly salty without too much mayonnaise, tempura shrimp, avocado and unagi eel are all perfectly matched to create fine rolls that my friends had agreed were some of the best they had enjoyed.

Sashimi — perfectly cut slices and freshness that melts in your mouth. No ice, no limp, soggy slices. Excellent color and choice cut of fish.

Hand rolls were no disappointment biting crisply and cleanly and had their choice ingredient running thru to the end of the cone. Again, size matters, and the hand rolls were appropriately matched, not being overly large and monstrous-like challenges at some places.

Dessert presents ice-cream and a much less common ‘fried’ variation where the ice-cream ‘ball’ is first rolled in Japanese breadcrumbs. Again, can’t get much wrong with ice-cream, and its brought out promptly. Banana tempura on the other hand is far more complicated and I have all too often had SOGGY banana tempura. This was thankfully not the case @ Ikura where each slice was crisp to the bite all the way through. Jello has also managed to find itself on the dessert menu with lychee as my flavour of choice.

Service has been turned up a notch to the point of perfection-like execution. With the restaurant not too busy, none of our dishes were missed, nor were there any mix-ups. Nothing was forgotten and nothing more was added. We were encouraged to take our time and even had our plates refreshed to new ones midway through our feast. Our tea cups were kept full and the wait-staff attentiveness was a sure contrast to other places that seem to be nothing but narrow-visioned robots. They have been trained, not tossed out into the ocean without a life-jacket.

The menu kicks out solid dishes with nothing too unusual and overall is on-par with the better sushi ayce’s in Markham. No ridiculous gimmicky rolls, no hybrid salad sushi or other unforeseen sushi-inspired experiments, just items that are done and consistently done well without any exceptions. The art of sushi is Zen in an edible form and Ikura raises that to perfection in AYCE style.

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