After a long day of work (for me) and an evening of dragging Solmaz around to shop for my dad’s birthday, we were in dire need of dinner and a drink on Friday night. We were planning to hit our usual “being-a-patio-bum” spot, Smoky Joe’s, but instead found a new restaurant at Sheppard and Yonge.
Located amongst other bars and restaurants on the busy strip of Yonge Street near Sheppard, Sushi Moto Sake and Wine Bar is a brand new restaurant that opened in May. It used to be a rather dingy little pub with billiard tables and little TVs. However, the new spot is totally updated. The decor is minimalistic and cozy at the same time with lots of dark wood and little booths as well as bigger tables which can accommodate groups. It kind of has the feel of an upscale sports bar with its flat screen TVs dispersed throughout the restaurant although instead of the usual pub grub you can grab some decent sushi.
Although it purports to be a ‘sake and wine bar’, the sake and wine list was rather short, with more focus on sake and beer. The dinner menu was long and varied with some Korean dishes being offered as well. We both felt that the maki menu was maybe a bit too long and maybe not inventive enough.
Before our appetizers, they served complimentary warm noodles w/ broth in mini bowls which was a nice touch. To start, we had the Beef and Enoki Roll and Spicy Salmon Pizza. The Beef and Enoki Roll was not done the traditional way, instead Sushi Moto served almost like a maki roll – deep fried and cut into pieces. The batter was a bit heavy for what is supposed to be a light dish although I did like the fact that the enoki mushrooms were plentiful and crisp. The Spicy Salmon Pizza was much better. The rice was crunchy and the topping of Spicy Salmon was flavorful and fresh.
Since we were not very hungry we sampled just two of their maki rolls- Spicy Salmon Maki and Go Train Maki.
The Spicy Salmon Roll was pretty standard but quite good. The Go Train Roll was a little uninspiring since they had used a heavy batter once again and the salmon was cooked instead of raw. The maki was explained as having “crunch” on the menu so we were expecting a light tempura batter instead of a soft doughy one.
The service was friendly and professional although our server did forget to bring Solmaz’s miso soup and we had to point out the mistake on the bill. The manager (and probably owner), Joe Choi, came over to see if we liked our wine during the dinner and asked about the dinner after we were done.
The menu is on the pricier side but not outrageously so. Would we return? Definitely yes. The kitchen needs to work on a few things (the batter!) and maybe change up the menu a little but it’s only been open for a month so hopefully the kinks will be worked out. Sushit Moto is a nice upscale alternative to the sports bars and casual restaurants of the area.
Sushi Moto Sake and Wine Bar : 4901 Yonge St, Toronto, ON. (416) 224-0741