Rich Guy made an impromptu return to Vancouver and he was wondering if I could join him for some eats. Of course I was game. It's like asking if Paris Hilton wanted more exposure! Since he had flown in from the Philippines, his sleeping and eating patterns were a bit wacky. Thus, we didn't end up heading out until 8:30pm for food. We threw some ideas around and eventually decided on paying Toshi a visit. After all, we had no kiddies with us, it was the perfect opportunity to do so. You see, Toshi is a very small restaurant with a very long lineup - a recipe for disaster if we had kids with us. Heading over to Toshi, we had pretty high expectations. After all, it is a widely held notion that Toshi is one of the best in town.
I guess other people hold Toshi in high regard since there was a healthy lineup when we arrived, even at 9:00pm. I sometimes wonder about restaurants with long lineups. Is the lineup a product of it's reputation of having a lineup or is the food really that good. After a reasonable wait, we were seated at the sushi bar. We got the Salmon and Tuna Sashimi to start. The wild salmon was fantastic, in appearance and taste. However, despite tasting sweet and fresh, the tuna was curiously mushy. I realize that tuna can be mushy to begin with; but this was a bit too mushy. We really couldn't figure out why since it looked and tasted great. To be a little different, we got the Tofu Hot Pot and it's exactly what it was. Several pieces of tofu, enoki and napa cabbage in essentially hot water served with a vinegary ponzu dip on the side. Nothing really special about this dish other than it was a good deal at $4.00.
We originally had our hearts set on the Gindara; but they didn't have anymore, so we settled on the Spicy Beef. It turns out that it wasn't a bad consolation at all. Resembling a Korean dish, the tender beef was bathed in a sweet and only slightly spicy sauce. We could have kept eating this if there was an unlimited supply. The Chicken Karaage that we ordered was a bit different than we have been used to. With the mid wing and drumette still attached together, these babies were fried until they were very crispy. However, the meat was still quite tender. It was as good as it looked.
Last dish to arrive was the Assorted Nigiri. It consisted of one piece each of tamago, ebi, ika, salmon, tai, tuna, hamachi, saba, amaebi and something that resembled tai, but wasn't. For the life of us, we couldn't figure it out. No matter, all the pieces were fresh and the rice was a perfect consistency. Not being necessarily a bad thing, the tamago was freakishly large. Anyways, we thought this was a good value at $12.95. Despite being a small restaurant, there seemed to be enough staff to take orders, refill tea and settle the bill. The food came out quite efficiently in even intervals. In terms of the food itself, we were pretty happy with our meal. However, we were far from blown away. We're still not sure why people line up for Toshi. Don't get me wrong, there was not much to complain about and the prices are indeed quite reasonable; but is this the best in town? With so many choices in Vancouver, I'm not so sure about that.
- Well prepared food
- Reasonable prices
- Good portions
- It's a really small restaurant
- Eternal lineup
- Only open for dinner