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Posted June 13, 2011 by samuek in Food Joints

ZEN Japanese Restaurant

 I wish I had more pictures for you as Zen sushi is top notch for sushi.  Zen is located in seedy strip mall in Scarborough down the street from a notorious strip club and a newsworthy raided massage parlor.  However, the chef and owner Seiichi Kashiwabara, servicing sushi lovers for 28 years, still serves one of the highest quality, freshest, best selection and mouth watering dishes in Toronto.  I would be there weekly if it were not so far from where I live.
                   ZEN JAPANESE RESTAURANT
Return Factor – As much as I can stand the drive to Scarborough
Location – 2803 Eglinton Avenue East Scarborough, Ontario M1J 2E1
Atmosphere – Casual
Price – $80 a person

The chef and his staff are glad to share their knowledge of sushi and their offerings.  One conversation I remembered centered around sushi lovers favorite, butterfish.  We were discussing his Bluefin o-toro, the prize cut from the prized fish and why many people do not ask for it and butterfish came up.  I knew that many consumers, restaurants and even the fishmongers do not know what butterfish actually is.  It is enjoyed by many due to the high fat content making it buttery and flavorful.  The sous chef advised they do not like to carry it as it is not a fish that is ideal for human consumption.  The fat content that makes it so attractive can cause health issues as it is a type of fat humans cannot digest.  Butterfish is really the Escolar but is also known as Hawaiin Walu or an Alaskan fish amongst other things and is not intended for eating.  Too bad as I remember it to be one of my favorites. 

This dish is Toro-Toromo.  Looks like a typo right?  I assure you it is not.  It is tuna and Japanese mountain potato.  It is served similar to natto with the Toromo having a gelatinous texture and a subtle taste worthy to be a vessel for any star ingredient.  In this case it is tuna.  If your Japanese restaurant does not have natto or toromo, then maybe you should eat somewhere else.

Where is the salmon?  Ha, great question and you should comment on its absence.  Perfect sashimi platter of what fresh fish was available on that day, for that season, regardless of popularity.  

So many of you may have eaten or even ordered what is called Saba or Mackerel.  Not Spanish mackerel (aji) but Mackerel.  Mackerel in raw form has to be cured before served due to its unique attraction to unfriendly human things.  Since it is not fresh or raw it is actually mass produced and most restaurants buy a them in frozen packages.  Gross.  What does Zen do?  They proudly purchase Mackerel fresh, cure it themselves with vinegar amongst other things and serve it as a delightful nigiri plate.  So, so, so, good!

Zen has a unique offering for sushi and some decent mix drinks.  I order only Asahi Black where I can find it but I drank their last bottle and was forced to drink the generic version.  Feel pity for me and comment on your Asahi Black opinions and of course what you think of Zen Sushi.

Zen Japanese on Urbanspoon

Zen Japanese Restaurant on Restaurantica




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