Ki Modern Japanese restaurant opened 11 years ago in Toronto’s downtown banking core and remains as charming as ever.
The sprawling, high-ceilinged space, outfitted in contemporary minimalism — slate tile floors, cherrywood accents, soft lighting, bare-wood tables, padded booths — is as stylish as the day the restaurant opened.
Anchored by ultra-fresh ingredients and prepared with rock-solid technique, the food is as inventive as ever.
Among apps, grilled vegetable skewers shine. Balsamic reduction adds sweet-tart notes to zucchini-wrapped king oyster mushrooms, while karashi miso elevates silken chunks of eggplant and mild shishito pepper.
Nigiri sushi brings sparklingly fresh otoro, sea scallop, yellowtail and bigeye tuna. Makimono roll sees ruby red slices of bigeye tuna topped with slices of kiwi jazzed with sweet/tart mango puree.
The Ki Signature Plates section yields treasures like melt-in-the-mouth seared salmon with sesame white miso, and pristine slices of toro layered with fragrant shiso leaf and complemented by garlic ponzu and crispy shallots.
The kitchen also excels at cooked items: perfectly cooked sea scallops topped with pickled fig and accessorized with apple-parsnip puree; springy tiger shrimp with sake beurre blanc; and exquisite black cod in orange reduction.
Desserts are equally creative. There’s creamy yuzu coconut panna cotta with cranberry jam; uncommonly rich crème caramel; chiffon roll cake given a delightful Japanese twist with yuzu cream filling and tiny matcha-flavoured straws; and agreeably chewy rice-flour cake adorned with chunks of peaches and vanilla ice cream.
Ki will consider buyouts (on Sundays only) for the 250-seat restaurant. Private dining spaces include the Orchid Room (which accommodates 32 people, seated and 35, standing) and the Modern Room (which accommodates 26, seated and up to 50, standing, if the area immediately outside the room is used for the function).
— Don Douloff has been a restaurant critic for over 25 years and, during that time, has critiqued more than 1,300 eateries. In 1988, he studied the fundamentals of French cuisine at Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne in Paris, France. During his time in France, he furthered his gastronomic education by visiting the country’s bistros, brasseries and Michelin-starred temples of haute cuisine. He relishes exploring the edible universe in his native Toronto and on his travels throughout Canada and abroad.