Shoto 11th Visit — Toronto (10/2016)


This was the first time I came back to dine within a month.  I wasn’t sure how much things would change, although they had assured me that they probably would change some things just from the seasonal change in ingredient availability. 

I had tried the nice French wine before, so I decided to go with the unusual German white Pinot Noir.  It was interesting since it tasted of Pinot but with a much lighter feel. I wondered what might happen if it aged a little.

We started off a little differently this time, as there was no warm roll or oyster presented first.  Instead, I was served a warm shellfish chawanmushi with pickled ramps.

The second bite that quickly followed was the oyster, served with green chili, which gave it a significant spicy kick at the end.

The next presentation was new and was offered to me as a test (they were going to serve it later at a private dinner event but it wasn’t yet on the menu).  It was a roll made with dry-aged beef and filled with sushi rice, pickled turnips and mustard green. It was brushed with a light soy sauce and rendered fat.  The mild spiciness provided a nice flavor to ensure it wasn’t too rich.

The next dish was also new and was a very warm smoked mackerel fritter with parsley and nori.  This was also very tasty.

The next small bite presented was an anchovy and parsley bun.

For the full write-up, click here.

Alo 5th Visit — Toronto (9/2016)


I did not get the chance to dine here when in Toronto a month prior because they decided to take a vacation.  So, I was very much looking forward to returning to see what kind of fall menu experience I would have.  I was again at the chef’s counter, dining a little later than usual because it was my flight arrival day.  They were already booked up for the next evening, so I had to pick this evening for my visit.

For wine, I had already tried the Niagara Chardonnay, which I liked.  So to be different, they offered a wine that was not on the list.  It was a Piemonte blend of Chardonnay and Arneis 2008 which went well with the food. It was from the pairings and was matched with the mushroom course.

The first bite looked the same as before.  There was a radish drizzled with emulsified brown butter, a gougère filled with Fontina cheese and topped with fermented chili, and caramelized onion and foie gras torchon with coconut and passion fruit meringue.

The next course was firm raw Hokkaido scallops in a sauce made with uni, caviar and crème fraiche.  Surprisingly, this came across with a mild flavor.

The next presentation featured Matsutake mushrooms with a foie gras terrine and toro (the fatty part of the tuna).  The sauce was made from grilled Matsutake mushroom.  This was a creamy and mellow dish.

The next dish featured Japanese A5 wagyu beef tartare with crunchy flatbread (made with a little wagyu fat) and mustard seeds for some nice texture.  On the left was a quail egg yolk served on emulsified fat and mayonnaise.

For the full write-up, click here.