February 13, 2013

First Impression: Kingyo Izakaya

The other day I was invited out to Kingyo Izakaya by a friend whose a fan of their Vancouver property and was absolutely thrilled by their recent move to Toronto. He also new about my foodie crush on Guu Izakaya, so naturally I'd be the best choice to hit up a place like this ;-) . Now when I say "the other day" I totally mean weeks ago, because as much as I would like to be, I'm not one of those bloggers who rushes home and writes a blog post at the end of the night. So please forgive me if these descriptions aren't 100% accurate.

Much like Guu (the other famous Izakaya house originating from Vancouver) the entire restaurant greets you the second you walk in and our server immediately introduced herself once we sat down. The service here was super friendly throughout dinner service and not once did we feel rushed at all even after we already paid our bill and were just sitting around chatting.

One of the first dishes we ordered was this Seared Garlic Albacore Tuna Tataki with Ponzu Jelly ($8.20). Right away, you can tell Kingyo has a little playful side to them and they do a great job of showing it through their sassy menu descriptions and their plating style. I loved the thick cut tuna and the light sear on the outside, leaving the middle completely raw. I didn't think the ponzu jelly added much flavour to the dish but was visually very unique. 
Next came the Famous "O-Sho Restaurant" Karaange with Magic Powder ($8.60 - first picture above) and The Legendary Chicken Wings by "Kinchan"($8.20) The menu describes this dish as "Kinchan famous chicken wings, OK maybe a little EXAGGERATED but it's that good. No word of a lie

Both dishes were really hardy and would make great drinking snacks. The Karaange chicken is pictured above and even though I wasn't a fan of the "magic powder" I still enjoyed the crunchy and moist bites of chicken! 

The Chicken Wings were my favourite out of the two so if you can't get both then get these. They were sticky and spicy and if I were a beer drinker - gimme a six pack and a bucket of these and call it a day! 
We also ordered the DIY Stone grilled Beef Tongue ($10.20). Actual beef was about $30 a serving so my thin wallet could only afford the tongue! To be honest, I quite enjoyed it as well. The meat wasn't as chewy as you may think and because it's been sliced so thin and quickly seared on the hot stone, it was almost melt in your mouth - almost! I mean it is still tongue after all. The accompanying sauces I could do without though. The hot stone was a barrel of fun to play with as well! 
The last few dishes we ordered was the Kimuchu Udon - kimuchi &  spicy mentaiko cod roe flavoured udon noodle ($8.20), Hamachi Carpaccio - yellowtail carpaccio served with house dressing ($11.80) and the bowl of udon noodles (pictured at the bottom) which I'm sorry I can't seem to remember the name of. 

The Kimuchu udon (which is the Japanese version of Kimchi) looked very plain and simple at first glance but what it lacks in looks, it makes up in flavour! So simple and so yummy this little guy! I definitely could picture myself curling up on the couch with a bowl of this any day of the night. 

The Hamachi, was probably the most eccentric looking dish we ordered. There were a lot of flavours going on with this dish; the roe bits, fried garlic slices and somewhere underneath the lotus root shavings were actual thin slices of yellowtail. I can appreciate this part of the menu but I think I'm more of a Chicken Karaange kinda girl! 
At the end of the meal, your bill comes with these adorable frozen grapes for everyone at the table. I thought this was very refreshing and such a sweet gesture. 

Kingyo is a little on the pricey side and everyone knows I hate paying for expensive Asian food, but with a larger group I would definitely return so I could try a lot more of the menu and so the bill could be divided multiple times! LOL. The decor and the service is absolutely darling here and I will definitely be adding this place to my next girls night out - especially to sample some things off their unique drink menu. Oh and attention all vegans - they've got a few dishes for you guys as well! 

Kingyo Izakaya
51B Windchester St
Toronto, On
Kingyo Izakaya on Urbanspoon

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