After a gruelling midterm in which my pen disintegrated all over my desk, it was time to rectify the situation with some nice Japanese fusion sushi. Remembering a positive previous visit, I decided to go to Tatsu Japanese Bistro once more to experience some of their mouthwatering baked mozzarella dishes. Even though it was raining at the time, I walked all the way to the restaurant from Commercial-Broadway Station to lift my mind from the exam. A little rain doesn't stop me when there's sushi ahead.
Tatsu Japanese Bistro features a modern, trendy atmosphere with a bit of an artsy touch to it. They put effort into making everything look nice; the menus, the walls, and the food are all appealingly designed. The restaurant is Korean-operated and serves a lot of fusion dishes, but that being said, if you are looking for Aburi Salmon Oshi, it is nowhere to be found. I died a little at this realization. However, while flipping through the menu, I saw a whole assortment of enticing photographs of food that reminded me of all the good things this restaurant had to offer.
Tai Sashimi - B+
Sockeye Salmon Sashimi - A-
Tuna Sashimi - B+
Things started out nicely with the beautifully plated Appetizer Sashimi. The Tai Sashimi was soft and smooth, and the ikura added a bit of a fruity flavour to the tai. Next, the Sockeye Salmon Sashimi was fresh with a sufficiently sweet flavour. The Tuna Sashimi had the slightest hint of fishiness in one of the pieces, but apart from that, it had a delightful melty texture and was neatly cut.
Eggplant Seafood Yaki - A+
The Eggplant Seafood Yaki, consisting of deep-fried eggplant, torched assorted BBQ seafood, and mozzarella, was one of the most epic appetizers I have come across in a long time. I could feel my soul being enlightened. The abundance of baked, juicy salmon and the plump salad shrimp created a very heartwarming effect. The eggplant was sweet and juicy, and the seared mozzarella cheese provided this dish with an irresistible Aburi-like flavour. Despite the multitude of ingredients, I did not find the seafood yaki heavy. This is one of those things that remind me that money is worth saving and life is worth living.
The final part of my lunch was the Tatsu Omakase Sushi, which typically comes with the Crunch Roll. However, the waitress was kind enough to let me substitute the Sunset Roll at no extra charge. For omakase sushi, I would have liked to see something other than the most mundane types of nigiri, but at least I was getting about $37 worth of sushi for only $26.95. I even got a fried amaebi head!
Sockeye Salmon Nigiri - B
Tuna Nigiri - B+
Hamachi Nigiri - A-
The Sockeye Salmon Nigiri was just as fresh as the Sockeye Salmon Sashimi above, and the Tuna Nigiri was soft and melty. The Hamachi Nigiri (yellowtail) was especially appetizing and came with fatty, juicy, and fresh hamachi. Unfortunately, I wasn't a fan of the sushi rice because it was packed too tightly in most of the pieces and interfered with my enjoyment of the softer textures of the fish. (Yes, sushi rice in nigiri is not meant to be tightly packed so that you can easily grip it with your chopsticks. In fact, nigiri is not even supposed to be eaten with chopsticks, but we all do it because everyone else does it.)
Ebi Nigiri - B-
Toro Nigiri - B+
Tai Nigiri - B
Amaebi Nigiri - B
Next up, the Ebi Nigiri (shrimp) came with way too much wasabi, which I'm pretty sure made me lose a few of my nose cells. The ebi was also on the dry side. The Toro Nigiri (tuna belly), however, came with a very good piece of fresh, melty toro. The Tai Nigiri (red snapper) was sweet and soft, while I found the Amaebi Nigiri (sweet shrimp) a touch too sticky and gluey.
Hokkigai Nigiri - C+
Unagi Nigiri - B+
Tamago Nigiri - B
The Hokkigai Nigiri also contained way too much wasabi and was overly chewy. It sure sucked to be my nose. The Unagi Nigiri was soft and melty and dressed with rich unagi sauce. Finally, the Tamago Nigiri was sweet and fluffy, though it would fare better with a slightly more grilled flavour.
Sunset Roll - A
After munching on the fried amaebi head, I had the Sunset Roll, which consisted of a California roll topped with torched mozzarella, assorted chopped BBQ seafood, and three seemingly misplaced blueberries. It was colourful and elegantly presented with a good interplay of flavours. Flavour-wise, it shared many similarities with the Eggplant Seafood Yaki, but it was nonetheless another highlight of the meal.
The service was friendly and attentive and remained so even at times the restaurant became busy. I must say, this was one colossal lunch, and there were times I had to take a break, go on Instagram, and look at pictures of food to make me a little more hungry again. Although nigiri isn't one of Tatsu's strengths, things like the Eggplant Seafood Yaki and the Sunset Roll tempt me to return and try more of their creative offerings.