Numerous times before Christmas, my friend Diona has planned for us to visit Sang Kim’s Yakitori Bar. She has been following the progress of the planning and opening of this restaurant through Sang Kim’s blog, How To Open A Restaurant in 30 Days and was excited to see the amalgamation of all that hard work that Sang Kim placed in it. But with all the craziness of the Christmas rush, we did not get the chance to try it until yesterday. Seeing the increasing popularity of the restaurant, Diona and I came earlier than the dinner crowd. When we walked in at 6pm, the restaurant was already almost half full. It was a good decision as an hour later, it would have been difficult to find a table.
The interiors of the restaurant have an contemporary Asian sensibility and the bar onto the right was extended to allow communal dining. Another bar height harvest table was positioned by the window and smaller tables lined the left. We were led to sit on a table with a good vantage point of the bustling kitchen and the motions of the restaurant. The volume of music allowed for good conversation and the crew was very attentive. Not five minutes into sitting, Sang Kim surprised Diona with a hug. I was quick enough to squeeze a picture in. Good handy camera was all ready and able.
Looking through the menu, Diona and I planned to try several of the skewers created by several of Toronto’s popular chefs. Sang Kim has invited several top chefs to create signature skewers to be featured at the Yakitori Bar. Of the 8 featured chefs, we opted to try offerings from Chef Chinji Yamaguchi, Godzilla Skewers, Chef Matt Basile’s Alabama Yakitori and Chef Rossy Earle’s Diabla’s Alligator Kiss. Added to these three dishes, we also asked for Grilled Beef Tongue, Kimchi Poutine and Squash Dok Bok Ki. The servings were tapas size and was good to pacify the curiosity of two foodies.
As we were waiting for our food, Sang Kim personally saw to explaining the banchan that was placed in our table. Three different kimchis were featured, one-day-old, one-week-old and 3-month-old. It was quite a treat as the intensity of the flavor was noticeable as you move from newest to oldest. I found a new appreciation for kimchi. What was also good about it that despite the rush of heat, the spice did not burn the tongue.
What surprised us next was the speed of the kitchen cooking the food we ordered. It was certainly a plus that the wait was short. I must say after sampling three very good featured yakitoris, my choice goes for Chef Chinji’s Godzilla skewers. It was reminiscent of a pork patty we call bola-bola which I enjoyed growing up. Another memorable dish was the Squash Dok Bok Ki. The squash was roasted with thick rice noodles, fish cake with spicy cheesy sauce. The sweetness of the roasted squash was a good balance for the heat of the cheesy sauce. It was luscious and filled satisfactorily this foodie’s tummy.
Congratulations Sang Kim! To build this restaurant in 30 days was a big feat! Diona and I would definitely be back soon! :)