By Lory Diaz
In October of this year, British Columbia’s Miku Japanese restaurant opened the doors to its latest location: Miku Restaurant in Toronto. Situated on the ground level of RBC’s WaterPark Place on Bay Street, Miku Restaurant brings its signature Aburi-style sushi to Toronto’s waterfront. Miku has a distinctly clean aesthetic, with some key artistic features that add personality to its stark white surroundings. The main mural in the dining room was hand-painted by Japanese artist Hideki Kimura, and is believed to bring good luck to the venue.
Aburi refers to sushi where the fish itself is partially grilled, leaving some portions raw. Miku’s chefs used charcoal and a blowtorch to sear the various sashimi and sushi dishes, and it was quite a delight to witness the preparation first-hand.
I tried the Aburi Beef Carpaccio to start, and have to say I was immediately impressed by the delicate flavours (something I wouldn’t normally associate with beef). It features Sterling Silver AAA short rib, surrounding baby greens, Asian pear, Daikon-carrot slaw, jalapeno ponzu (a citrus based sauce combined with soy), wasabi aioli, house made pickles, and delicate edible flowers.
I was then treated to the Aburi Salmon Oshi: pressed BC wild sockeye salmon, Miku signature sauce, topped with a slice of jalapeno. Possibly my favourite dish of the night! The seared salmon retained its flavour, and the jalapeno added a nice burst of heat without overpowering. If you’re not a fan of salmon, I would recommend their Ebi Oshi, which uses prawn and Ume sauce instead.
Cocktails at Miku Restaurant
After quite a few samples of the Aburi style dishes, I gave Miku’s cocktails a try. As a huge fan of ginger, I went for the Miyazaki #2: Havana Club 7year, ginger liqueur, mango puree, basil and citrus foam, with a spritz of lemongrass aroma. Delicious! This cocktail tends towards the more tropical side, and is absolutely worth trying.
Miku Restaurant Raw Bar
If you’re looking for sashimi, or a completely raw experience, Miku does have a raw bar. It holds true to the Japanese tradition of purity in flavour and presentation, allowing patrons to focus on the vast selection of fish, oysters, and crustaceans.
Miku Restaurant Sake Fridge
For anyone seeking a more authentic Japanese drink, Miku boasts an extensive sake list. They even have sake on tap, which they informed me is a first in Toronto. I should mention that their sake fridge is hard to miss; upon entering Miku’s expansive venue, it is one of the prominent features to greet you.
Despite being located south of the Gardiner, I’ll be making a point to visit Miku again, and would recommend it to anyone looking for a night of excellent Japanese fine dining.