2:1

Ru and I were out again on a hunt for yummies around downtown Toronto.  After an hour of battling traffic, we finally made it downtown to our first destination: Ematei.  With 88% rating on Urbanspoon, I had high hopes for this place.  Around 8pm, the restaurant was packed.  We waited for a bit and was finally seated.

Short of dying of hunger, we quickly ordered.  Up first was the Tacowasa.  This is raw squid with a touch of salt and wasabi.  Tasted like how it was suppose to taste.

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Ru had ordered the ramen and unfortunately I didn’t get to take a photo before she started eating. The broth was very rich and had this veggie taste in it.  I also tasted a hint of butter, I’m not sure if there was actual butter in the broth or it was something else.  The noodle was a bit more al dente than we liked.  You could taste that the noodle was from a package and in fact we it tasted a bit like plastic.  The pork was over cooked and not fatty enough to make it soft and juice.  Overall verdict, not worth it.

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Then we ordered a grilled black cod.  The fish tasted very sweet and it was very smooth.  Normally I would say fish does have that sweet fresh taste to it, but this sweetness is way too sweet.  It almost felt like it was marinated in a sugary sauce.  It tasted yummy, but I question if it was from the sugar.

We were still hungry, but decided that it was really time to go as food was not that great.

Where: Ematei
Location: Toronto, Ontario

What: Tacosawa, Ramen, Black Cod
Verdict: Overrated.  Will not be back.

Ematei Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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Unsatisfied, we decided that we should hit up a restaurant with higher rating.  Richmond Station was on our list for a while and since neither of us have been we decided to head over.  At around 10pm, the dining room was packed.  We tried to get a table for sit down but was told that it would be a 20 min wait.  We decided to hang out at the standing bar and have a drink.  One look at the wine list and it was unimpressive.  The selection was so small, that I probably had a bigger selection of wine at home.

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Upon the waitress’ recommendation we went with the 2011 Roussanne.  The wine was too dry without food.  It had average balance with hints of lemon, honeysuckle and floral.  Not really my glass of wine.

After being sick of waiting, we decided to order an appetizer to see how the food is here and if it was worth continuing to wait.  We debated between the smoked trout rillettes and the corn and scallop pakoras.  I love scallops but I find that it is rarely done right, so I always stay away from it.  But since Richmond Station received a lot of raves and praises on Urbanspoon, I decided to give it a shot.

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And here it is.  The sauce is spiced yogurt.  One bite into it and I could taste zucchini, a bit of chilli, coriander, chutney and corn.  But where’s the scallop?  I don’t think I need to go on to say how disappointed I was with the pankoras.  The scallop was in small tiny pieces, over cooked, and all the other ingredients over powered the taste.  Fail.  We were so disappointed, we got the bill and left.

Where: Richmond Station
Location: Toronto, Ontario

What: Corn and Scallop Pakoras
Verdict: Overrated.  Will not be back.
Richmond Station on Urbanspoon

At this point, Ru and I were thinking what is going on?  What a horrible night and such epic fail.  We thought that we should hit up one more place to round the night out.  No more disappointments.  We waved down a taxi and headed to Darwin.  We were missing the wine there and was craving the avocado shrimp.  Ru and I were here a few weeks ago for the first time and was really impressed.  We know they recently launched a bar menu on pilot and thought we’d give that a go.

When we arrived the place was still lively.  We took up our favourite table by the french windows.  Perfect for a beautiful night.

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We ordered the avocado shrimp, and was as impressed as the first time we had it.  Very delicious.  We also wanted to give the shrimp taco a try.  The taste we very fresh and unique.  I’m not sure if shrimp taco is always with deep fried shrimp, it tasted good but it might taste better if it was grilled instead.  Healthier, in my opinion.

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At the compliment of the owner, we got a nice treat.  Yucca fries.  It was my first time having yucca fries and it has this starchy, crispy texture.  It went well with the sauce which was a bit spicy and creamy.  I think this would go very well with beer.

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Then we had ratoutille wrapped in phyllo pastry, which was also a compliment of the owner.  At this point we were super full already, but thought we’d give it a taste too.  It tasted like a samosa. The concept is very unique.

After being disappointing by 2 restaurants we were finally happy with our food and hung around Darwin for a while.

Where: Darwin
Location: Toronto, Ontario

What: Avocado Shrimp, Shrimp Taco, Samosa, Yucca Fries
Verdict: Great food and wine.

Darwin Bistro & Bar on Urbanspoon

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Resturant Hopping

I was invited to a networking event downtown.  I usually dread going to these things because they are so awfully boring.  I went anyways.  Hung out for two hours and that was about as much as I can take.  I gave Ru let’s get out of here signal and we both ran away.

So there we were, Saturday night in downtown Toronto.  Haven’t had any food yet.  We decided to do a night of restaurant hopping.  First stop was Raijin Ramen (雷神ラメン).  I’ve heard my friends rave about this place, but it’s about time I tried it out for myself.

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The atmosphere is pretty casual.  It’s a big restaurant with a lot of room at the back for large parties.  We chose to sit in front of the chef so we can watch them make food as we ate.  Knowing that we were going to be hitting up another restaurant later on, we decided to order one ramen to share.  The decision was easy, as we were both feeling spicy.

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Tonkatsu Karamiso Ramen (トンカツ辛味噌ラメン)had a spicy miso soup base.  It had pork shoulder, ground pork, green onions, bean sprouts, cabbage, corn and a bit of chilly oil.  The soup base was very yummy!  It wasn’t too rich and the spiciness was on the light side -which was fine.  The noodles were pretty good, not the best I’ve ever had.  I thought that it could be a bit more QQ (chewy).  Ru thought it was very good.  Overall, Raijin is one of the better ramen I’ve had in Toronto.

Where: Raijin Ramen 雷神ラメン
Location: Downtown Toronto
What: Tonkatsu Karamiso Ramen (トンカツ辛味噌ラメン)
Verdict: I’ll be back for my ramen fixes.

Ramen Raijin on Urbanspoon

When it comes to ramen, I’m a bit of a snob as I’ve been spoiled by all the ramen I’ve had in Japan.  So if you are reading this blog, and I’m reviewing ramen, you probably will not see the words “Best ramen ever”… unless I’m back in Japan.  That being said, we were completely happy with our ramen and ready to move onto the next restaurant.  I will review the next restaurant in a separate post for various reasons. -keep reading to find out why!

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