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Posted June 26, 2011 by samuek in Food Joints

Nigiri-Ya Sushi

Return Factor – Definitely Return
Location – 897 Millwood Rd
Atmosphere -Take-out unlicensed
Price – $25 a person


Yet another great sushi chef takes up shop in an interesting location a la Zen, a la Kaji.  You can find the restaurant of the chef/owner Yasu Ouchi in the Leaside area near Bayview and Eglington serving something I am not a fan of…take-out sushi.   You can just make Japanese take-out meals at home. The Just Bento Cookbook: Everyday Lunches To Go or 501 Bento Lunches: 501 Unique Recipes for Brilliant Bento then put them in these Zojirushi SL-JAE14 Mr. Bento Stainless Steel Lunch Jar

To me Nigiri-Ya is confusing.  High quality take-out sushi, with high end prices and creative maki.  Usually the thought of raw take-out food or the words “Sushi Buffet” make me cringe, however this is a take out sushi place worth visiting.  Why should you visit?  Well because the chef was trained at the Melbourne location of my personal hero Nobu.  If you do not know who Nobu is, then I offer my condolences. 

The space is truly a take-out place reminiscent of a cleaner local pizza shop with one or two tables.  When you walk in you get a faint smokey whiff of the last piece of sashimi that was blow torched by the chef.  This is a good sign.  The first thing I saw was a few orders of creative maki which to me was not a good sign.

I try to leave creative maki or maki in general to the hundreds of generic sushi places dotting the city.  This was supported by the menu which gives off the sense that it is something that you might find on a Top 10 cheapest sushi list.  Despite this it seems that the devil was in the details and I was not disappointed.    

I was getting worried when I ordered the nigiri option and there was a picture of salmon and maguro.  You’ll find salmon and maguro on every sushi platter at every sushi place while the great restaurants rarely serve the “classic” combo as I call it.

I had already enjoyed dim sum with the family and was quite full so I order a simple 8 piece nigiri to sample if it was worth returning.  There was salmon, maguro (tuna), butter fish (escolar) and scallop from Hokkaido.         

Scallop is one of my favorites and this one was sweet with a perfect texture sitting on really good sushi rice.  The rice was warm, vinegared subtly and had a good level of sweetness.  The rice was formed perfectly with every grain being separate and not packed too tight, which is a sign of delicate hands.  I do prefer my rice a bit sweeter like at Solo Sushi-Ya in Newmarket but that is a preference.

The salmon was salmon and the maguro was maguro, nothing flavour wise to discuss.  The butterfish was butterfish, so tasty with a sesame soy dressing.  I will remind everyone though that butterfish otherwise known as Escolar is not made for human digestion as we cannot break down the oils from the fish.  So enjoy, but enjoy in extreme moderation.  This 8 piece selection looks like it could be from anywhere.  However, if you look closely you will see lines cut into butterfish and maguro.  This is done by hand with a knife and takes some major skill.  This is a reason to come back in itself because it indicates love and care for the ingredients and the customer. 

I saw they had monkfish liver on the menu which is one of my favorite ingredients but it is not in season.  Don’t know what monkfish liver is?  Well then, it is only the foie gras of the sea.  Enough said…try it.  The prices may be perceived as high, especially for the take-out format but I guarantee you won’t get anything this good, with the quality of ingredients at any lower prices in the city. 

Let me know what your thoughts are on butterfish, monkfish liver or Nigiri-ya.

Nigiri-Ya on Urbanspoon

Nigiri-Ya on Restaurantica




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