Yukashi

Yukashi

The quieter the restaurant, the more serious the sushi chef. By that standard, Daisuke Izutsu is a pro: no one sitting at the bar, watching him at work, makes more than a peep. At first, I wondered if Yukashi was a theme restaurant with a vow of silence, but then I, too, grew mesmerized by Izutsu’s bubble of concentration and the surgical precision of his knife work. Izutsu has been quietly influencing our appreciation of Japanese food for years: he opened Kaiseki Sakura and Don Don Izakaya, a harbinger of the late-night karaage and Sapporo craze; served as private chef for the city’s consul general of Japan; and, for the past three years, has been chef de cuisine at Yorkville’s Kasa Moto.

Yukashi
Chef Daisuke Izutsu has been a quiet presence in the Toronto sushi scene for years

Yukashi is small, with only 20 seats, which is the right size for the demands of its nightly oma­kase menu, each dish mind-bogglingly complex, beautiful and tasked with making a statement on the current season. Toward the end of last fall, he paired a cloud-like chawanmushi with chestnut and grated lotus roots; stacked slices of barely torched, buttery Wagyu with lobes of foie gras and uni for a trio of fatty luxuriousness; and created a show-stopping, fully edible woodland scene—if your local forest floor happened to be strewn with potato chips cut into maple leaves; radishes carved into flowers; “moss” of crumbled green-tea cookies; “rocks” of squid ink, bread crumb and purple potato; and cracker “twigs.” After all that, a potato cheesecake in red bean sauce—sweet perfection in its own way—is a bit of a comedown.

Yukashi, 643A Mt. Pleasant Rd., 416-489-6993, yukashitoronto.com

Yukashi
Chawanmushi, a cloud-like egg custard dish, includes chestnut and grated lotus roots
Yukashi
Slices of tuna belly, hay-smoked amberjack and tilefish are served with freshly grated wasabi from Izutsu’s hometown
Yukashi
Shizuoka crown muskmelons are a rarity in North America. They can sell for up to $150 a piece
Yukashi
The seasonally changing Harvest Platter is an edible woodland scene
Yukashi
Yukashi’s tiny dining room seats 20
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