Friday, February 10, 2012

Koyoi Restaurant & Bar: Forget the line ups at Guu!

Since moving to Toronto, I have pinpointed several favorite places that I visit regularly. On that list, Koyoi probably sits at the top as one of my most visited restaurants here. I was introduced to Koyoi by a  friend and since then, I've been taking new friends there and telling people about it. Well, what better way to spread the word than to do it on the internet? 
Beef Tataki 牛たたき   $5.99 + tax 
Koyoi has a special meaning to me because it is a restaurant that broke a lot of my eating habits. Many foods that I would never touch elsewhere, I would gladly eat or even crave at Koyoi.

If you read my post on Seasons in the Park, you'll remember that I like my meat cooked thoroughly. I always thought I can't eat raw meat, but this beef tataki turned things around. In fact, this is the only raw meat dish that I will eat. For some reason, although raw, the beef tataki at Koyoi doesn't have the bloody taste that I hate. Instead, the ponzu sauce, combined with the radish and green onion, creates a magical concoction in your mouth.



Okonomiyaki お好み焼き $7.99 + tax
On top of raw meat, okonomiyaki is another dish that I hardly ever enjoy. From previous experiences, okonomiyakis have always just tasted like mushy dough covered in heavy sauces to me. Koyoi, however, does it differently. Instead of drowning the pancake in sauces, they keep the amount just right. I enjoyed this much more because I could actually taste the ingredients in the pancake and the sauces didn't overpower everything.


Grilled Beef Tongue 牛タン $7.99 + tax
I know, "eww" might be your first thought after seeing this dish. Well if not, it was definitely mine. I was very against eating tongue on my first visit. (I mean, in a way you are french kissing a cow...?) Nonetheless, I gave it a try and boy did it taste good! It didn't taste weird or anything like what I would imagine tongue to taste like. If I hadn't known, I would have assumed it was just beef slices that were more tender than usual.

Chicken with Tartar Sauce チキンのから揚げ
A simple dish like this always brings a pleasant surprise. The chicken was very juicy and tender and already had its own flavour to it. The tartar sauce was a good bonus, but the chicken tasted good even without it. Also, I really appreciated the salad with Japanse dressing on the side that kind of washed out the heavy tartar sauce taste in the mouth.
Tsukune つくね  $5.99 + tax
The tsukune was another dish that went beyond my expectations. In plain english, it was basically sauced meat balls dipped in a semi raw egg. The meatball itself is very juicy and flavorful and tasted very good. Although the egg dip added a nice touch to the meatballs, I felt that it wasn't absolutely necessary to complete the dish.

I wouldn't say that I'm extremely knowledgeable with izakayas, but to me the food standards of Koyoi is on par with Guu in most aspects. The service here is also great, although not as hyper. If you're looking for a slower night with some good Japanese beer and tapas, Koyoi is no doubt the best choice!


More photos:

Koyoi Salad with Homemade Japanese Dressing  
Tontoro


Taste: ★★★★★
Environment: ★★★★☆
Service: ★★★★★
Price: $

Koyoi Restaurant and Bar
2 Irwin Avenue
Toronto, ON

Koyoi on Urbanspoon

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