Where to eat lunch this week: Yuzu

Where to eat lunch this week: Yuzu

At $31, this artful sushi platter is equal parts beautiful, original and affordable

The sushi platter for two at Yuzu (Images: Renée Suen) 

The place: Tucked away in the northeast corner of the entertainment district, this slick Japanese eatery shares both its owners and its flair with the better-known Japango. The kitchen and sushi bar bustle with activity under the pretty display of the restaurant’s premium sakes.

The crowd: Aficionados park themselves at chef Bruce Bu’s sushi bar as buttoned-down business lunches take place at the tables.

The deal: From staple teriyaki plates ($10–$12) to the popular double-decker deluxe bento ($18), Yuzu’s price point is slightly higher than at the fast-food sushi spots on Yonge and Bloor West, but its quality is miles ahead. Our choice is the sushi platter for two, which comes with the chef’s choice of 18 nigiri and six maki rolls (in this case, inside-out California) for a ridiculously reasonable $31.

The meal: Highlights from the artful arrangement include delicate sea bream, served naked or dotted with a speck of Japanese red pepper paste; silky-sweet shrimp (served with its chip-like flash-fried head); salmon topped with caramelized onions; and a creamy butterflied scallop buried under crunchy seaweed. Bu also gets points for originality, blistering the skin of dense whitefish with a torch, and finishing albacore tuna tataki with strands of fried lemon grass and roasted shallot oil. Dessert—green tea crème brûlée ($6)—acts as an excellent sweet foil to the platter.

The time: 43 minutes.

The cost: $60 for two, including tax, tip, complimentary cups of green tea, and the predictable miso soup and carrot-soy-dressed greens.

Yuzu, 236 Adelaide St. W. (at Duncan St.), 416-205-9808, yuzutoronto.com.