Edo is the former name of Tokyo- That one fact alone should tell you how serious this restaurant is about Japanese food: Real Japanese food. On my arrival at EDO Toronto last week, owner Barry Chaim immediately introduced himself and began explaining what made Japanese food extraordinarily special. His passion was like a highly contagious airborne disease and I was overcome with Japanese food excitement. I happily relayed my limited experience with westerner Japanese food (sushi and teppan flat top grill) and he responded with the history of the flat top (created in the 60’s in NYC for entertainment purposes) and how sushi only touched the surface of what Japanese food was all about. I knew the meal would be a good one.
Over the next two hours, we enjoyed delicious Japanese dishes created by executive Chef Ryo Ozawa, an award-winning culinary genius with passion, extreme attention to detail and near-perfect technique. We tasted salmon tartare, Kyu-Maki, Kara-age chicken, sashimi and of course, sushi. Each dish was paired with wine, white for the cold appetizers and red accompanying the meat (a perfectly executed Angus Striploin with Chef’s home made teriyaki sauce). The food was delicious- simple, balanced flavours accented with homemade wasabi and teriyaki ensured that I would be coming back for more.
What excited me the most about EDO was Barry and Chef Ryo’s passion for their cuisine and the ‘bromance’ on which they had built their beloved restaurant. Coined ‘The Dream Team’ by DINE magazine in 2013, these two gentlemen have an unrivaled love for what they do. Chef Ryo is an expert in preparing meat, specializing in French and Japanese cuisine and winning international culinary competitions since 2002: cooking is a labour of love. Every dish was so perfectly presented and composed with artistic creativity.
Between courses, Barry walked us through his years of life in Tokyo, recognizing distinct Japanese cultural cues, the correct way to put soya sauce on your sushi (dip the fish in the sauce, not the rice) and how the Japanese carve their chicken with a precision that my Sunday roasts could only dream of. Every example was attached to an anecdote, his knowledge endless and passion (yes- that word again) omnipotent. He announced every new dish with the enthusiasm and pride of a new parent: Cue Chef Ryo.
When describing each piece, Barry and Chef Ryo spoke in a symphony so fluid, it could’ve been rehearsed. I began to look forward to the narrative between meals.
I’m looking forward to returning to EDO. Yes, for the food, but also to feel the intense passion of restaurateurs and chefs that truly love what they do. I look forward to again tasting the love, the ardor and the essence of Japan.
From January 22-31 2015, EDO will provide your Girls of TO readers a complimentary appetizer (with the order of any two dishes per person) at any of the four EDO locations providing they use the hashtag #EDOapponme.
EDO on Eglinton is also participating in Winterlicious: http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=f34a91cb228c9410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD&key=30314F5929472958852570040078274F
* Promotion is not valid at the EDO on Eglinton location on Jan. 30 and 31.