Kore­atown goes loco for poké

Plus wild ice cream at Yonge and Eg and a baked Alaska his­tory les­son

North Toronto Post - - Food -


Anh Tran is soft-spo­ken and a bit shy, but the 26-year-old has made a state­ment with his re­cently opened fast-ca­sual restau­rant, Big Tuna Poké Bar in Kore­atown.

Big Tuna slings four types of sig­na­ture poké bowls and of­fers cus­tom­iz­a­ble ver­sions of the Hawai­ian spe­cial, which com­bines raw fish and fresh in­gre­di­ents atop white or brown rice. The flavours at Big Tuna aren’t clas­sic Hawai­ian. “For some peo­ple, authen­tic­ity is so im­por­tant,” Tran says. “For me, as long as you re­spect the her­itage of where it’s from, you can do what­ever you want — as long as the food tastes good.” A reg­u­lar-sized bowl runs $10.95, and it’s $12.95 for a large.

The Big Katuna most closely re­sem­bles a clas­sic poké, with ahi tuna from City Fish, cuke, onions, macadamia nuts and a clas­sic ponzu sauce served with a few house-fried taro chips. The Ninja is a creamy blend of sal­mon, edamame and wasabi peas mixed with a spicy mayo and topped with to­biko, tog­a­rashi and roasted sea­weed.

With fre­quent sell­outs of in­gre­di­ents be­fore the 10 p.m. quit­ting time, Tran is over­whelmed with the sup­port he’s seen. (Big Tuna Poké Bar, 599 Bloor St. W., 647-352-0599). — Ja­son Fine­stone


The Yonge and Eg ’hood is of­fi­cially hit­ting a sweet spot. Mid­town­ers now have a holy trin­ity of Sweet Je­sus, La Car­nita and Good For­tune Bar — the new­est con­cept from the La Car­nita team — ar­riv­ing soon.

The for­mer Philthy McNasty’s space is (thank­fully) un­rec­og­niz­able af­ter a hefty reno. The ex­te­rior is now their trade­mark black and Tif­fany blue, with a hum­ming neon sign sig­nalling that you’ve ar­rived. This is the fourth lo­ca­tion of Sweet Je­sus, which of­ten has a queue down the street, no mat­ter the weather or lo­ca­tion.

Cones come in straight up soft serve (bo-ring) or coated with crumbly ac­cou­trements like gra­ham crack­ers and bro­ken cake bits. All cones and cups will set you back $6.50 each. Ve­g­ans will cel­e­brate the Life’s a Peach flavour, with fresh peach and caramel twist soft serve coated in charred peach sauce and rolled in flaky al­mond crumbs.

They also have a list of cof­fee cre­ations. Hot and cold bev­er­age menus

of­fer com­bos al­most as un­con­ven­tional as their soft serve menu, with cold drinks like the Miss Saigon (es­presso, mulled brown sugar syrup, milk and con­densed milk) or the hot burnt marsh­mal­low latte, which sounds pretty much like a camp­fire in a cup.

One no­table in­clu­sion is the built-in con­fes­sional. The per­va­sive na­ture of over­shar­ing has only been en­hanced here with a Snapchat en­abled iPad — no priest in sight. Yonge and Eg-ers fi­nally get to see the light (Sweet Je­sus, 130 Eglin­ton Ave. E.). — Libby Roach


The Mid­town ’hood around Bel­size and Mount Pleas­ant has a new lo­cal. When the Long­est Yard closed this spring, John Oakes, the owner of the Har­bord House, took over the lease and put a new spin on the place.

“We’re just try­ing to be a great lo­cal spot in the neigh­bour­hood,” Oakes says. “We’re a gas­tropub fo­cus­ing on lo­cal craft beers and home­made com­fort food.”

Har­bord House reg­u­lars will rec­og­nize many of the meal-sized sal­ads that have been brought over with mi­nor tweaks. They also grind beef in house for their burg­ers.

The beer menu has se­ri­ous craft cre­den­tial, stretch­ing from rec­og­niz­able taps like Beau’s Lug tread and Muskoka De­tour IPA to more ad­vanced op­tions like Great Lakes Brew­ery’s My Bit­ter Wife IPA and Royal City’s Hibis­cus Sai­son. (The Bel­size Pub­lic House, 535 Mt. Pleas­ant Rd., 416-487-6468). — David Ort


Grant van Gameren has set his sights on south Park­dale, tak­ing over Harry’s, a long-stand­ing diner. Ac­cord­ing to a job ad on Facebook, Nate Young will lead the kitchen team. Young has worked in the kitchen at van Gameren’s Bar Is­abel since its early days in 2013.

The Big Katuna at Big Tuna Poké Bar

Sweet Je­sus’ Cook­ies Cook­ies Cook­ies and Cream

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