A new sushi king on Bloor, carb-loading in Markham and Parkdale’s chicest snack spot
456 Bloor St. W., 416-538-8618
Ken Zhang has been a sushi star going on a decade now, thanks to his time at Japango across from city hall, where he served some of the hardest-to-find fish in town. Now on his own, his cut fish and rolls at Couture are still excellent. His couture roll—rice and avocado wrapped in nori, topped with salmon and a scallop slice and flash-toasted with a blowtorch—is given a boost with scallion and roe. (But don’t order the o‑toro, a.k.a. bluefin tuna—it’s severely threatened, the marine equivalent of eating baby panda.) Zhang’s hot dishes, however, sometimes miss the mark. The $70 omakase option here is just $10 less than Sushi Kaji’s basic omakase and doesn’t begin to approach the master’s orbit. A soup of buttery shell clams, for instance, should be beautiful given its ingredients of sake, butter, yuzu zest and soy, but there’s far too much soy, so it’s too salty for more than a few sips. Roast duck salad brings cold, chewy slices as pallid as Lloyd Robertson’s wattle over mesclun mix that has started to brown. The tempura aji is exceptional, chopped and mixed with scallions, folded into a shiso leaf and quickly fried: the taste is creamy and full, balanced out with the sharp onions, the soapy leaf and crunchy shell. Unlicensed. Mains $19–$26.
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