Eat Me is a regular feature about the nooks and crannies of Toronto’s restaurant scene, about the amazing restaurants that are––for some reason––criminally underpatronized.
It’s pretty easy to find sushi places in this city. From the Bloor Street strip to North York, sushi places range from suspiciously cheap to ridiculously expensive, from having incredibly creative culinary creations to the same old rolls.
Quietly tucked on the east edge of Little Italy is Jun Jun Sushi (374 College Street), a small, intimate joint that looks like it was transplanted here from our somewhat samurai-movie-influenced idea of Japan. Fans, paper cranes, and bamboo litter the environment, and the sushi bar is prominently displayed in the centre, where you can usually find one or two chefs hard at work, chopping and rolling.
Their fish is high-quality and always flavourful, though obviously not at the level of some of the $25-for-California-Rolls Yorkville joints. You’ll find the regular array of rolls here, as well as some more creative offerings with Toronto-inspired names. Torontoist recommends the Casa Loma roll (eel, tobiko, cream cheese and avocado). The eel combined with avocado and cream cheese gives it a surprisingly interesting and delightful crunchy-creamy dynamic.
What really sets Jun Jun apart are two things: service and price. The first time you eat there, you may find it to have a typical sushi-place atmosphere: straightforward, blunt, and prompt service that’s lacking in personality. Come back a few times and make a bit of an effort to talk to your servers or the sushi chefs, and you may start to get a smile on your way in, a couple of extra rolls on your plate, or a bonus bowl of edamame.
The prices are, quite simply, a steal. A plate of excellent specialty rolls runs from $6 to $8. Their basic bento box rings in at under $10, even after replacing basic salmon rolls with specialty rolls. Order it for take-out, and you typically get enough food for two meals.
There are a lot of mediocre or terrible sushi places in Toronto, and a few good ones. It’s worth giving Jun Jun Sushi a try––you might even get addicted.
Photo by Gizzle from Flickr.
For anyone who missed this year’s Massey Lecture last Friday at U of T, don’t fret. The City of Words, by celebrated writer, essayist, novelist, and anthologist Alberto Manguel, will be broadcast on CBC Radio One’s IDEAS each night at 9:00 p.m. beginning Monday, November 5 running to Friday, the 9th.
As a new feature this year, each of the five lectures (unedited and complete with audience discussion) will be available for download starting November 5. However, only one new lecture podcast will be available every Monday for five weeks. And for those who are still hungry for more, past lectures are available for download, known as the “Special Delivery” podcast. Some nifty podcasts include historic lectures by economist John Kenneth Galbraith, civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr., and urban theorist Jane Jacobs.
Photo by MarS.