What’s on the menu at Torisho, the first Canadian outpost for the Japanese karaage chicken chain

What’s on the menu at Torisho, the first Canadian outpost for the Japanese karaage chicken chain

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Name: Torisho
Contact: 1940 Queen St. E., torisho.ca, @torisho.ca
Neighbourhood: Beaches
Owner: Torisho Canada Inc.
Chef: Arvin Salva Cruz
Accessibility: Not fully accessible

The food

This is the Japanese karaage chain’s first location in Canada, but with chicken this good, it’s bound to be the first of many. The main draw here is the crisp, impeccably seasoned bird—and while that’s the party line for pretty much every fried chicken joint in existence, Torisho delivers amply. The secret is a two-day marination in a signature 12-ingredient blend. Nothing fancy, but it’s a dialled-in formula that works.

You can get the chicken straight up, in a family-sized combo or in a bento box with a sampler of the restaurant’s sides: potato salad, lightly dressed slaw, edamame, miso soup and rice. Killer chicken wings and a honking katsu sandwich are also on offer.

A bento box includes a choice of fried chicken: momo (boneless thighs), mune (breast) or a mix of the two. A 12-ingredient herb-and-spice blend is deeply infused via 48-hour marination. (The recipe is a closely guarded secret, but we know it contains pineapple, ginger, garlic, onion, soy, rice vinegar and mirin.) Dredged in a thin layer of corn starch before hitting the fryer, the chicken emerges with a delicate, potato chip–like crisp, unlike the dense crunch that comes with your typical battered bird. It’s sided with a creamy potato salad, crisp cabbage slaw, edamame, cherry tomatoes and rice topped with black sesame seeds. $19 for momo and mune, $17.50 for momo only, $20.50 for mune only


Here we have lightly battered tempura green beans and potato croquettes. The croquettes delightfully contrast a crisp golden-brown exterior with a creamy mashed potato interior and come filled with either sweet corn or beef and mushrooms. A side of green beans is $5 for regular and $8 for large; croquettes are $3 apiece or $15 for six


The nanban bowl features bite-size chunks of boneless chicken breast prepared differently than the aforementioned momo and mune. Instead of a light cornstarch dredge, the meat is flattened and coated in egg before being deep-fried for a tender, juicy bite. The chicken is served on a bed of rice topped with cherry tomatoes, shelled edamame, cucumber, cabbage slaw, matchstick carrots and black sesame seeds, and it all comes with two sauces that complement one another beautifully: a sweetish house tartar and a soy-based brown sauce. ($15)
Momo and mune pieces with edamame and cherry tomatoes, ready for their close-up. A squeeze of lemon is all it needs


All bento boxes come with the same assortment of tasty sides. This one features nanban: a soft egg-coated flattened breast topped with house-made tartar sauce. $19.50


These are the chicken wings, marinated in the same 12-ingredient blend as the boneless fried chicken. The marination and seasoning are absolutely impeccable, but there’s also the option of having them tossed in lemon pepper. Dip them in a choice of sweet chili sauce, tonkatsu mayo, perilla soy or hot sauce. $17 for 8 pieces, $32 for 16


A katsu sando for the books. Creamy coleslaw, fresh tomato, pickles and tonkatsu mayo top two generous pieces of crispy chicken katsu on a potato bun. Perfection. $12, add $5 for a side and a drink
The drinks

Once a liquor licence is acquired, there will be a small selection of Japanese beers on offer. Until then, the beverage selection is your standard soft drink lineup: Coke, Coke Zero, Nestea and ginger ale.

The space

It’s a sleek little takeout shop perfectly situated for beach-picnic grub. Backlit vertical cedar slats line the walls, and a handmade latticework piece hangs to the left of the counter. It’s a beautiful example of kumiko, the Japanese art of assembling intricate wooden pieces without the use of nails or glue.

Here’s chef and operations manager Arvin Salva Cruz, in front of that gorgeous cedar kumiko