Introducing: Touhenboku, the ramen shop’s new sushi restaurant in the Distillery District

Introducing: Touhenboku, the ramen shop’s new sushi restaurant in the Distillery District

(Image: Jackie Pal) (Image: Jackie Pal)
 

Name: Touhenboku
Neighbourhood: Distillery District
Contact Info: 42 Gristmill Ln., 416-368-8686
Previously: Café Uno
Owner: Zuimei Okuyama
Chef: Veteran sushi chef Aki Kitao, who previously worked in upscale sushi restaurants like Toshi Sushi and Ki

The Food: Unlike Touhenboku’s casual ramen shops on Queen West and Yonge Street, the chain’s Distillery location focuses primarily on sushi. Chef Kitao’s menu includes over 21 types of fish, which are sliced, rolled and torched in both traditional and novel ways. A tuna-scallop roll is blasted with a blow torch and topped with house-made sour plum paste and a sweet miso-sesame glaze. For $45, the chef will prepare a 14-piece omakase (i.e. tasting menu) with interesting options like uni (sea urchin),  tarabakani (king crab), and aji (Spanish mackerel) wrapped in Japanese mint.

The Drinks: The lengthy tea menu includes hard-to-find leaves like Gyokuro, a pricey green tea from Japan. For non-teetotalers, 17 Japanese sakes are served warm, cool or at room temperature.

The Place: Owner Zumei Okuyana had always wanted to open a restaurant in the Distillery, so he snapped up the Café Uno space when it went on the market. Exposed brick walls and big wooden tables make the high-ceilinged room feel surprisingly cozy.