Kaiseki Yu-Zen Hashimoto is the best Kaiseki restaurant in Toronto and it is also the most expensive restaurant as well.
Kaiseki is a traditional Japanese tasting menu. The menu is created everyday based on the freshest seasonal ingredients. Every meal is different and full of surprises. The meal is divided into 8 courses at Kaiseki Yu-Zen Hashimoto. Each dish is served in small portions prepared masterfully and they are in perfect balance with taste and appearance. You are not only eating with your mouth but with your eyes at Hashimoto. The knife skill, the plates chosen to serve the food on, the garnishes, the color, the design and plating, everything is aim to improve the dining experience.
Here is the menu on Dec 29, 2012:
1. Onjyakuzen: Red bean cooked with sweet rice, Saikyo-miso (white miso) with egg tofu, Sesame Tofu deep fried with sweet rice
2. Mukozuke: Fresh line caught Madai fish from Kyu-shu
3. Wanmono: Grated turnip soup with Kinmedai fish wrapped with thin layer of Kyo-ninjin carrot and Turnip tied off with Daikon. Gobo burdock with canola vegetable and Yuzu citrus
4. Yakimono: Grilled Chikame-kintoki fish, Bamboo topped with sweet miso with the skin of bamboo shoot, Grated Koshin-Daikon with ponzu sauce, lily bulb with sour plum
5. Takiawase: Stewed pork, carved turnip with hot mustard
6. Shiizakana: Grilled A5 tenderloin Wagyu beef from Gunma prefecture, lotus root chip, taro potato, strained yam potato with rice cracker, gooseberry, signature carved daikon crane
7. Tomezen: Rice cooked with Madai fish, gingko nut tofu deep fried with sweet rice with Ankake-sauce, pickled daikon with sesame seeds, turnip and turnip leaf, pickled red turnip
8. Kanmi: Homemade vanilla and green tea ice cream, strawberry jelly made with agar agar topped off with peach jelly
At the end of the meal, we were invited to experience the traditional tea ceremony in the tatami tea room.
Eating at Kaiseki Yu-Zen Hashimoto is all about the perfect dining experience. It is not just a meal that fills your belly. You are dining in a beautifully decorated and cosy environment. Each table has their individual private room but you will still feel comfortable with the surrounding. All the food are coming from the best ingredients with perfect yet subtle seasoning. You can truly taste the food you are eating. The plating presentation is what taken my breath away. Everything is a work of art.
On the night we were dinging at Hashimoto, we were the only customers there. We had the whole restaurant to ourselves. The host and hostess were very attentive and friendly. They explained each dish to us in detail added with interesting back stories. They cared about every single detail. For example, each time they refilled our tea, they did not just top it off. They actually poured out the old tea and replaced it with a new cup of tea to ensure your tea was hot and fresh. I’m a person who cares about attention to detail and gesture like that really shows how much people at Hashimoto cared about their customer’s experience.
On the downside, a Kaiseki Yu-Zen Hashimoto dinner costs $300 per person (excluding drink, tax and tips) and it is the one of the most expensive restaurant in Toronto. Is it worth it? To me, yes, it is totally worth it.
Kaiseki Yu-Zen Hashimoto
Meal: 8 course meal
Price: $300 per person (excluding drinks, tax and gratuity)
Reservation: Required (1 week in advance)
Address: 6 Garamond Court, Toronto ON