Etsu Japanese Restaurant


What? Etsu for dinner
Where? 45 Baldwin Street (Queen’s Park station, Toronto)
Price? $4-$20
The skinny: This place is about integrity and variety. A combination of Korean and Japanese dishes are offered in this restaurant. Needless to say, there are a huge number of sushi/Japanese restaurants in downtown Toronto, and this is one of them. Let’s see if this one stands out?

I came here with a couple of my food buddies. Baldwin street’s got about a dozen little restaurants all packed right next to one another so unless you’re not decided, you’ll have a fun time trying to choose where to dine. 

You go inside and you instantly feel relaxed. The place is decorated so nicely! You’ve got beautiful glass tables with cool see-through chairs. Wow I’m horrible at describing things…but you get the point. ;) 

For example this cello-shaped wine rack. Pretty classy! 

I was sold on the attention to detail in the décor of the space. So naturally, I was really looking forward to the food. I mean you don’t spend that much money on the aesthetics and not serve great food right? They’ve got these cute chopstick holders too! 

Salad. Nothing crazy. Conventional but at least I got my preferred part of the lettuce that’s packing all the crunch. :)

Next up, our server (wearing a kimono..with an obi too! She was pretty quiet…and it was sketchy when she couldn’t answer the question as to what is in their Sashimi Set eek) came with all the accompaniments for our respective meals. Me, I got this…scissors and two bottles (horseradish-mustard sort of sauce and vinegar?) for my noodles. 

Mul Naeng-myun ($9.95)
And here it is. The description seemed so interesting that I went for this instead of my usual unagi on rice. So what it is, is “arrowroot buckwheat noodles served in a cold beef broth, topped with carrot, cucumbers, boiled egg, pear and slices of beef.” I honestly didn’t know what to expect so I was cautious…

It was refreshing to have cold noodles with the spicy horseradish sauce. The ice in the broth; sure it kept it cold but it diluted it after awhile. I was looking forward to seeing how all the different elements would come together and it didn’t. I guess I was looking forward to my taste buds being wowed so I was disappointed when that didn’t happen. 

Sashimi Take ($14.95)
One of my friends ordered this. He said the fish was nice, very fresh but nothing spectacular. It did quell his sashimi cravings though! 

Zanu Soba ($7.95)
Straight up cold soba noodles with simple accompaniments. You’ve got coarse sea salt, sliced scallions, wasabi, seaweed. Then for the sauce that you dip the noodles in; it’s reminiscent of soya sauce with ice and steamed firm tofu. I tried a little bit, meh. It was alright. Once again, nothing special but it was still pleasant and light.

I wish I got a photo of the vase of water…at Etsu, they serve water with a twist. The ice water is infused with fresh fruits such as strawberries, kiwis, lemon and orange. Cool eh?! Here’s another cute chopstick holder: a crane! :D

We got little cap-offs at the end of our dinner. They’re literally tiny cups of a sort of berry nectar. 

A month ago, when the three of us met up in Paris (that makes us sound super rich, we’re not. Far from it. Long story short, they both graduated so this was their grad trip. As for me, I was studying French in Tours for a month.) we had amazing crêpes at Breizh Café. Phoenix bought some caramel candies from there and green tea candies from a tea store down the street from the café. She saved a few for me to try! Awesome. 

Verdict?  We came here to catch up after all our adventures in Paris together last month. Of course we hadn’t had sushi while in Paris so it was about time. The dishes were presented nicely, the ambiance was chill, the service was über attentive (there was only a few other people there). However, it was disappointing that the food that didn’t measure up...Too bad.

2.5 out of 5 NOMs
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