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.
The restaurant itself is narrow and some what more spacious than Guu Izakaya. It’s a quiet and affordable eatery.
Tuna Tataki ($6.60)
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
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!
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
Sashimi 3 kinds ($9.60)
- Tuna, Salmon, Butterfish
- They have a great assortment of sashimi – I loved the salmon and butterfish!
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
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
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….
- 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
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
- 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
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
So with the purchase of our groupon, we had $40 deducted from our final bill! =D
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.