Originating from Vancouver, Miku is a very popular Japanese-themed restaurant known for their aburi-style sushi. They are able to draw long lines at their Vancouver location, but will they be able to meet the high expectations that Torontonians have after hearing about all the hype? Read on and find out!
Located by the Harbourfront at Bay and Queens Quay, Miku Toronto houses a seating area that allows diners to look into the city. The bar area is nestled inside near a glass wall with tapestry that has similar designs to that of the Vancouver location. It is also here where the sushi chefs are on full display to the diners as they prepare both the sashimi and sushi for our consumption.
We started off the night with a Miku original cocktail. The Miyazaki #2 is comprised of Havana club 7yr, ginger liqueur, mango puree, basil and citrus foam, and lemongrass aroma. The drink was light in flavour, with mango richness along with citrusy foam that gave it a slick finish. All in all, a very well executed cocktail that was easy to savor (4/5).
For starters, we began with the Aburi Beef Carpaccio. The ingredients consisted of seared AAA short rib, with mixed greens and vegetables on top and served with ponzu and wasabi aioli. In all honesty, while the ingredients list may look extensive, the flavour was anything but extravagant. The taste was rather average and forgetful but the elaborate presentation served as a good starter to introduce us to the concept of aburi (3/5).
The Ebi Fritters were essentially white tiger prawns that had been beer battered and deep fried. They were topped with sweet chili aioli, chili powder and soy-balsamic reduction, which gave it a nice kick. The presentation of the dish was impressive and the shrimps were carefully deep fried – the batter was thin and crispy, and the flavor of the shrimp was salty and slightly spicy. Again, this dish felt very elevated in appearance but the flavors were nothing special (3/5).
Bluntly speaking, the sashimi platter was definitely well done and impressive in scale but the quality of the fish was slightly lacking. Will you get melt-in-your-mouth moist and juicy sashimi similar to that of Japan quality? No – the sashimi lacked the moistness and juiciness that true sashimi connoisseurs may come to expect, but the sashimi at Miku can definitely be ranked as very good (3.5/5). The platter comes at a steep price though at $96. You can truly appreciate the craftsmanship and skill involved as you witness the chef preparing the platter in front of everyone.
Popularized in Vancouver by Miku, aburi-style sushi refers to nigiri sushi where the fish is seared on top, and left raw on the bottom where it sits the sushi rice. In Miku’s case, they seared the fish with a blowtorch alongside a piece of binchotan charcoal. This eliminated the artificial blowtorch smell and taste, and instead provided the aburi sushi a natural tinge along with a nice smokiness to the flavour.
We sampled the Aburi Salmon Oshi and Aburi Ebi Oshi. The Aburi Salmon Oshi was very creamy in both texture and flavor – the BC wild sockeye salmon was sweet to the mouth and the jalapenos gave it a nice spicy aftertaste (4/5). Similarly, the Aburi Ebi Oshi was also very creamy and the lime zest provided a wonderful sour flavor to contrast the sweetness (4/5). The only gripes we had with the aburi sushi was that the fish was sliced and pressed extremely thin; it looked miniscule compared to the sushi rice it was sitting on.
For dessert, we were served the Green Tea Opera – bite-sized ice cream cakes which consisted of green tea genoise, matcha butter cream, dark chocolate ganache, adzuki bean cream, hazelnut water & matcha ice cream. The flavors were well balanced with a tart sweetness, and the bite-sized physicality of the dessert made us want to eat more as the night went on (4/5)!
If you were to compare Miku in Toronto with the original Vancouver location, you may realize that the Toronto location has quite large shoes to fill. Does Miku Toronto end up living up to the hype? No it doesn’t, but it gets pretty darn close. Definitely give this place a try as you won’t regret coming, however be prepared to spend. The great restaurant ambiance and decoration, coupled with fantastic service and attention to ingredients makes for a great dining experience. Just make sure you order the aburi-style sushi!