Monthly Archives: October 2014

Ichiban Sushi House

My friends and I had dinner here two weeks ago. I used to walk past this restaurant when I had to take the TTC to school when I lived in the neighborhood. Ichiban Sushi House is located on the ground floor of Empress Walk and has been there for over a decade. The decor is abit rustic while the lighting is dim.

LA Kalbi

LA Kalbi

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Sashimi and Sushi dinner set

 

A friend got the LA Kalbi ($16.95 + tax & tip) which is Korean style grilled beef short ribs. It  comes with miso soup, salad, rice and ice cream for the dinner set. Another friend got the Sashimi & Sushi dinner set ($18.95 + tax & tip). It consists of a variety of sashimi and sushi along with a California roll. It comes with miso soup, green salad and ice cream. Both of my friends weren’t amazed by their dishes; they thought it was normal, nothing spectacular. My friend also thought the sashimi wasn’t that fresh.

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I got the grilled white tuna steak ($20.33 + tip). It’s a white tuna steak marinated in a sweet soy sauce that is garnished with orange wedges and wasabi. It comes with miso soup, salad, rice and ice cream. The orange wedges function similar to lemon wedges when squeezed liberally over the tuna steak and it gives it a nice citrusy flavour. The steak is also fine to be eaten on its own without squeezing orange juice on it or putting wasabi on it. The wasabi I found would overpower the tuna steak’s taste even if it’s just a tiny dab of it on the tuna steak. Overall, the tuna steak was quite good. The ice cream is normally green tea however they ran out so we got mango ice cream instead.

salad and miso soup

salad and miso soup

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For an a la carte Japanese restaurant, it’s on the pricier side while the service isn’t very fast.

 

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Categories: Canada, Cuisine, Food, Japanese, North York, Restaurant Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mengrai Thai

My university friends and I had dinner here last month. It’s located on the east end of downtown Toronto in an old looking building. The decor is regal with their red velvet-looking curtains although the way the restaurant is structured, it divides it into three nearly segregated dining areas. We got a table in the farthest dining area from the entrance, kitchen and washrooms.

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One of my friends had the mixed crispy vegetarian spring rolls with sweet chili dipping sauce ($5.50 + tax). I tried a piece and it was quite good.

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Five of us split the Royal Style Lemongrass Coconut Soup with Lobster ($30 + tax). It consists of a whole lobster, pieces of coconut flesh, tamarind, chili, enoki mushroom, coconut milk, chicken stock, tom yum lemongrass paste, a julienned stalk of fresh lemongrass, sliced white onions,  kaffir lime leaves, cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced button mushrooms, sliced galangal or Thai ginger, Thai basil leaves and thinly sliced scallions. It was scrumptious and it can easily be a meal on its own.

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A few of my friends and I got Sisi’s #54 Red Chicken Curry with Lychee ($18.50). Rice is extra. The red chicken curry with lychee consists of chicken pieces, pieces of the lychee fruit, chunks of pineapple, kaffir lime leaf and coconut milk. It’s served in a pineapple. It was delicious and reminded me of the lemongrass coconut soup.

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Four of my other friends got Pad Thai. It consists of chicken, tofu egg, green onion, dried shrimp, tiger shrimp, tamarind, egg, bean sprouts and rice noodles. It’s garnished with a lime wedge and comes with a side dish of crushed peanuts. They enjoyed it.

I recommend this restaurant if you don’t mind going to the east side of downtown Toronto for Thai food.

 

Categories: Canada, Cuisine, Downtown Toronto, Food, Restaurant Review, Thai | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

A La Kitchen

My friend and I decided to eat at A La Kitchen for Mid-Autumn Festival last month. A La Kitchen is in the plaza behind First Markham Place. The decor is modern and while we had reservations, we had to wait abit. We ordered lamb mutton cake or 羊糕 ($7.50 + tax), steamed crab pork dumplings/xiao long bao or 蟹粉小龍包 ($6.25 + tax), pan fried pork dumpling/wor tip or 鮮肉鍋貼 ($4.95 + tax), braised eggplant with shredded pork or 魚香茄子 ($9.99 + tax), sesame rice ball with soy bean powder or 雷沙湯圓 ($5.50 + tax) and deep fried egg white ball with red bean & banana or 高力豆沙香蕉 ($7.99 + tax).

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The lamb mutton cake was disappointing. I initially thought it would be similar to a beef and onion pancake at Asian Legend or Ding Tai Fung but I was wrong. Instead, it’s a cold dish of fatty lamb meat that’s similar to a pâté with a side of green onions.

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The steamed crab pork xiao long bao were quite delicious although I prefer the quantity of xiao long baos at Asian Legend or Ding Tai Fung more. They give you 6 xiao long baos as opposed to the 4 xiao long baos here at A La Kitchen.

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The pork wor tip was quite good although I prefer the wor tip at Ding Tai Fung more. The skin isn’t as crispy as I would like it to be.

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The braised eggplant with shredded pork, onions and peppers was spicy and delicious.

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My friend had the sesame rice ball with soybean powder. I tried one and it was alright.

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I decided to be adventurous and get the deep fried egg white ball with red bean & banana as opposed to my usual deep fried egg white ball with red bean.  The red bean and banana combination was actually scrumptious.

For the price versus the quality and quantity of the food, I think I would go to Ding Tai Fung or Asian Legend for most everything except for the dessert.

Categories: Canada, Chinese, Cuisine, Food, Markham, Restaurant Review, Shanghainese | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Caffe Demetre

My university friends and I decided to have dessert here since a friend hadn’t been here before. I’ve been here several times and only to the Richmond Hill location on Hwy 7. I normally get crepes because I’m a huge fan of crepes. Caffe Demetre specializes in dessert and specifically crepes, waffles, cakes and ice creams. The menu changed between the last two times I went. The menu was the how I remembered it back in April 2014 and it was completely reconfigured in late August. The crepe selection was different, the ice cream selection looked different and the names changed to more current pop culture references. I find that if you go in the afternoon, barely anyone is there and my friends and I were able to get the whole restaurant to ourselves for afew hours and the other customers chose to sit out on the patio so we continued to enjoy having a restaurant to ourselves. In the evenings (no matter if it’s a weekday or a weekend), it’s much busier and you may have to wait for seats.

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I had the DIY sundae ($11.58 + tip) because I felt too full for crepes. I chose the DIY Sundae with 2 scoops of ice cream and 3 toppings. I got the Xocolātl Roché ice cream, Cocoa Chanel ice cream, caramelized bananas, oven-baked apple crisps and spicy sweet candied peanuts with whipped cream, Morello cherry and a slice of waffle biscuit. The Xocolātl Roché consists of Belgian dark chocolate ice cream combined with pure hazelnut and mixed with Hazelnut Praliné Croquant & Belgian Dark Chocolate Crackle while the Cocoa Chanel ice cream is made of French dark chocolate with a mélange of meringue, Oreo pieces and brownies. I was in chocolate heaven that was accompanied by delectable toppings.

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One friend had apple cider. The drink is called Incider Information ($2.75). Initially my friend was thinking of getting the Cider House Rules ($3.75) but decided to be more healthy. Incider Information is just apple cider with a cinnamon stick while Cider House Rules is apple cider with caramel & cinnamon flavour shots, whipped cream, Caramel Anglaise drizzle and Cinnamon.

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Another friend took my recommendation to get a crepe. She got the Chewbaclava crepe ($12.75 + tax & tip). The Chewbaclava crepe consists of Sweet Baklava ice cream with Baklava bits, Quebec maple syrup, whipped cream and cinnamon streusel. She didn’t like the baklava bits but otherwise she liked the crepe.

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Two other friends got cakes. One got the Cocoa Ono ($10.50 + tax & tip). The Cocoa Ono cake consists of a Chocolate Fudge Cake that’s slightly heated with Honey Madagascar Vanilla ice cream, Belgian dark chocolate sauce and it’s dusted with icing sugar. She enjoyed it.

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The other got the Mousse Almighty ($10.75 + tax & tip). The Mousse Almighty cake consists of a Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake with chocolate ice cream, strawberries, Belgian dark chocolate sauce and it’s dusted with icing sugar. He enjoyed it.

When I’m craving Western dessert, specifically crepes, my go-to place is Cafe Demetre.

Categories: Canada, Cuisine, Dessert, Food, Restaurant Review, Richmond Hill | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Green Tea Lounge

My university friends and I had lunch here at the end of August. The decor is quite rustic making it a casual atmosphere while the mural is a really nice artwork. Since there were 5 of us, we got to sit at a booth table along the windows.

Picture of the mural taken by a friend

Picture of the mural taken by a friend. We sat at a booth on the right hand side

 

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I ordered the soba and curry ($12.2 with tax). It’s a special and very good for indecisive people since you get to try two of their three main entrees. The curry dish is just curry with rice. It doesn’t come with a salad or with any meat. The soba doesn’t come with an inari side either and it’s a hot soba rather than a cold soba. Inari is sushi rice stuffed in a deep fried tofu skin. Both dishes were quite good.

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Two of my friends had the curry with tonkatsu. Tonkatsu is breaded, deep fried pork cutlet. The curry also includes a salad. The curry is a bit spicy however I didn’t think it was spicy much while my friends thought that it was abit spicy.

one of the lunch specials

one of the lunch specials

Another friend had udon with an inari side while a fourth friend had one of the specials. The special includes tonkatsu, miso soup and agedashi tofu.

If you’re looking for a variety of Japanese foods rather than a specific type (ramen, izakaya or Japanese-Italian) in J-town then you should try this restaurant.

 

Categories: Canada, Cuisine, Food, Japanese, Markham, Restaurant Review | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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