When you’re in Vancouver and looking for good fantastic sushi and are willing to pay for it head straight to Tojo and grab a seat at the sushi bar. We had been to Tojo once before together and I was there again last summer on a certain bachelor weekend that got pretty hazy after the third round of sake… Anyhow I digress. I’ll tell you in advance that this is not an inexpensive meal, if you go to Tojo and sit at a table you can choose the Chefs choice or Omakase menu and just set your price from $75 on up and they’ll make you a great dinner. However if you’re going to go for it, I suggest you go big and sit at the sushi bar where Chef Tojo will ask you about any dislikes and then start making you course after course of amazing food all of which features a local/regional slant which gives you a different sushi experience than you’ll find in most places.
A couple things that separate Tojo from other sushi places you may have been to:
- They use real Wasabi rather than the neon green artificial stuff you see most places.
- You will be advised when it’s appropriate to use soy sauce, if Tojo doesn’t’ say “use little soy with this” than don’t use the soy sauce.
We started out with a variation on one of the house specialties, Tojo Tuna and it’s sweet, spicy, fruity perfection with a fantastic sauce just highlighting the flavor of the tuna.
Next up was a BC Spot Prawn salad, these are only in season for about 8 weeks a year so we were happy to have them here prepared with some cod roe and a miso vinegar type sauce
The third course was a Dungeness crab salad with mango, apple and cucumber
The next course was KMJ’s worst nightmare…mushrooms. Note that when Tojo asked about any dislikes she decided to throw caution to the wind and say “none” but now I saw the look of fear on her face as Tojo set down a plate full of perfectly cooked morel mushrooms stuffed with scallop in front of each of us. The mushrooms had been broiled or perhaps pan fried so the texture was on the crispy side without affecting the earthiness of the mushroom and sweetness of the scallop.
To make up for the mushroom the next course that arrived was a beautifully prepared selection of thinly sliced pacific octopus with a soya and yam sauce. Usually octopus in sushi places is fishy tasting and tough, this was neither and it was just great.
The hits just keep on coming, up next was a mysterious parchment wrapped dish that turned out to be a smoked sablefish with some mushrooms, mango and green onion. The whole thing had been wrapped in a paper thin piece of cedar and then slow cooked in the over. Juicy, flavorful and fun, this was a great dish and one of my favorites of the night.
On to the rolls! First up was a king crab, shrimp and avocado roll that was pretty perfect but we were both starting to get full at this point.
The next roll was a salmon and shrimp roll with some cod roe that came wrapped in an egg wrapper
Next up was some Toro, very different than other Toro I’ve had as this was so much richer and fattier—delicious.
Finally we wrapped things up with a huge roll that included asparagus, mango and some tempura fried cod all wrapped up in cucumber, it was hard to eat due to the size but oh so good.
Not really hungry at this point we still found room for dessert, a green tea cream brulee that was a great way to cap thing off.
When you go to Tojo for Omakase be open minded, honest with the chef about your likes and dislikes and be prepared for a large bill but don’t let that stop you from experiencing one of the best dinner experiences you’ll find in Vancouver.