Chou Izakaya

I went to Chou Izakaya back in December with a few friends. My one friend had bought the $20 for $40 Groupon so I guess I was somewhat forced to go when they have great deals like this! =D Chou Izakaya is located at the corner of Church & Wellesley in the Gay Village of Toronto. Opened during the summer of last year, Chou is a traditional Japanese bar offering up to 40 – 50 tapa style dishes on their regular menu daily.

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The restaurant itself is narrow and some what more spacious than Guu Izakaya. It’s a quiet and affordable eatery.

Tuna Tataki ($6.60)

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Shime Saba ($8.00)

  • Shime Saba is vinegar-pickled mackerel, a classic dish from Japan. Mackerel does not preserve well if its not consumed a few hours after being caught.
  • This was my first time indulging mackerel, and man it was uber good. Our waitress had used a blowtorch to give the saba that final touch before serving it to us
  • In terms of taste, it had a great smokey flavour that didn’t take away from the mackerel’s natural flavours. It was a very delicate piece of mackerel
  • I sensed a bit of “fishiness” for the after taste

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Fresh Grapefruit Sour ($5.00)

  • This cocktail was a first for me. Served with a grapefruit on the side where you have to squeeze the juice out of the grapefruit and pour it into the cocktail and stir – it was super refreshing! 

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Spicy Salmon Roll ($6.00)

  • I always opt for Spicy Salmon Rolls but unfortunately this was a let down. Too much rice and mayo, very little salmon and no kick of spiciness at all

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Sashimi 3 kinds ($9.60)

  • Tuna, Salmon, Butterfish 
  • They have a great assortment of sashimi – I loved the salmon and butterfish!

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Pork Belly Skewers ($2.50/each)

  • This was probably something I could have eaten all night! As soon as I saw this on the menu I knew I had to order it. You have the option of having them with sea salt or terriyaki 
  • We smelt it coming our way and wish we ordered more. These skewers were perfectly cooked – very juicy and moist

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Kimchi Pork Cheese ($6.90)

  • Stir fried pork belly and kimchi with cheese on top 
  • This looked very appetizing but was quite on the heavy side and a little bit salty so I ended up eating my way around the cheese so it wouldn’t be as filling.
  • The pork belly and kimchi was quite tasty

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Ika Yaki ($7.00)

  • grilled squid with butter soy 
  • I think I prefer my squid deep fried. Anyways, this ika yaki was sort of bland and I was just chewing away….

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Takoyaki ($5.60)

  • Crispy fried octopus ball served with Japanese BBQ sauce 
  • These takoyaki looked really good but had minimal filling. I personally still think Fin Izakaya has the best Takoyaki thus far

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Oba Chicken ($7.00)

  • Deep fried chicken breast with japanese mint leaves served with sweet chili mayo 
  • The Chicken was deep fried to a perfect colour, however with the addition of the mint leaves… I thought it tasted a bit odd =S The mint leaves were too overpowering. I guess this is a love it or hate it kind of dish

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Amaebi Karaage($7.00)

  • Crispy Fried Sweet Shrimp 
  • Wow! were these shrimps ever large…. The batter wasn’t too thick and it wasnt that greasy! This is something I could snack on for a while

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Curry Korokke ($5.60)

  • Deep fried potato with grounded beef in curry flavour 
  • I thought this curry korokke was quite bland – I didn’t really taste the beef – in fact the texture of it was just mushy potatoes

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So with the purchase of our groupon, we had $40 deducted from our final bill! =D

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Luckily Chou Izakaya does accept reservations and is a lot quieter than what you’d expect of an izakaya (if thats the mood you’re going for). The servers here are very polite. Overall, I personally thought there were some dishes that were hits and misses but I say its not bad if you’re looking for an affordable eatery.

Chou Izakaya on Urbanspoon

Leave a comment

  1. February 8, 2013 / 12:35 pm

    Everything just looks so fresh and deliscious! Made me drool actually…lol…

  2. Daniel
    February 8, 2013 / 1:40 pm

    The pork belly skewers look sooo good. The note that the server made is also a really nice touch. Fantastic post ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Grace
      Author
      February 8, 2013 / 2:19 pm

      why thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. February 9, 2013 / 12:40 am

    – “don’t recall eating this” — I know that codeword. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    – I’m surprised this was your first time with mackerel! and yes, it’s always fishy ..
    – love Fin’s takoyaki. om nyom.
    – shiso leaves are a very acquired taste, definitely need something as strong to counter it, like preserved plums.

  4. valerie
    February 11, 2013 / 9:04 am

    At first I thought you were talking about Guu Izakaya, one of the best restaurant in Toronto (my personal opinion). Iยดve never been to this one, but the food looks delicious, especially that tuna tataki. I might give it a try soon ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Grace
    Author
    February 13, 2013 / 8:17 am

    yup! definitely give them a try and order the shrimp!!! =D

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