- The Entree
- The Side
- The Atmosphere
So it was a Tuesday night, and my girlfriend and I were wondering whether we should cook at home or grab something to eat, and for the longest time she had been mentioning this place called Shiso Tree. At first I was wondering what could they possible sell at this place called Shiso Tree, and as a carnivore I definitely was hoping it wasn’t some vegan place where I’d be eating like the rabbits that frolic in my backyard. No offense to the vegans out there but I definitely wanted something with some meat in it. We hopped onto google maps and found this place which is actually right by JTown and some other Japanese restaurants I’ve eaten at before. With my interest intrigued, we headed down on a cold January night.
3160 Steeles Ave. East – Unit 1
The decor inside the restaurant had a very IKEA feel with some booths on the side that had a Japanese flavour to them, with the Japanese inspired curtains and seat cushions, accompanying these booths were normal tables and seats. And as I began to look on the walls I could begin to see some of the daily specials that looked to be Japanese/Italian fusion type of food. Excellent, I’m not one to always believe that fusions always work well, in fact most of the time they don’t, but this was the first time I seen a Japanese/Italian fusion so I was definitely excited to try.
As we dove into the menu to find out what we wanted to devour, we found 3 things that caught our eye. My girlfriend was going to get the Sukiyaki, which was Japanese Soy Sauce based noodles with thinly sliced ribeye, enoki, king oyster and shimeji with nori and shiso. I opted for something a little more run of the mill, Bolognese with bacon and sausage. And as an appetizer we started with Nori Fries.
After talking and waiting for around 15 minutes and our appetizer still had not come yet, the waitress came up to us and apologized as she had handed off our appetizer to another table, saddened but undeterred we waited another 5 minutes before our Nori Fries finally came.
So what the Nori fries were, was basically fries that were fried and dressed in Wafu dressing(Japanese vinaigrette) and sprinkled with Nori(seaweed). OMG. These were so amazing, the moment I ate one, I was salivating to eat another. The taste of these fries were just so distinct with that Nori flavour that I couldn’t stop myself from eating it. Now the fry itself was a little soggy and somewhat oily, but this might have been the consistency they were going for. I normally do not like soggy fries, but for these, it works. For any Nori lover or fry lover in general, if you’re not going to get anything else in the menu, you must get this.
Soon came the entrees and by this time I was incredibly hungry and my taste palettes were beginning to feel alive again after the Nori fries, the bolognese with bacon and sausage was exactly what you would expect. The tomatoey, cheesy flavour from the bolognese and saltyness from the bacon and sausage. I commend the chef as well for making the noodles nice and firm, because even in this day and age people still find a way to screw up texture of noodles.
My girlfriends Sukiyaki tasted amazing as well and I was more than a little liberal with the amount of bites I stole from her dish. The beef was thinly sliced but extremely nice and tender and the sauce was slightly sweet with the earthy flavour from the mushrooms. The mushrooms themselves at first were a little hard to discern from one another as some of them such as the king oyster was sliced incredibly thinly so that it matched the same thickness as the enoki mushrooms.
Shiso Tree was an awesome find, a great small quaint restaurant with food that’ll satisfy your cravings for Japanese/Italian fusion. Hands down if you’re going here I highly recommend the Nori Fries.
The Damage: $40 after tax and tip