Location: 459 Church Street, Toronto, ON M4Y 4C5
Price Range: $$
Kintaro has been opening for a while now but apparently it recently went under a new management, and it seems the quality of food have made a huge improvement since then. D and I didn’t want to go too far that day so after some Yelping around, we decided to visit Kintaro at Church Street.
The inside was spacious and not crazy loud in here. I can actually hold a proper conversation and don’t have to walk out with a major headache stare at Guu. The atmosphere was relaxing and the staff was super friendly, except they forgot our water until the end of the meal. There were bright lights on top of each table so you can actually take good quality pics, because who doesn’t hate dimly lighted restaurants….. I must mention how I was sitting near the grilling station, and I walked out with 0 smell! So kudos to their ventilation system :p.
Other than Whisky Sour, plum wine is one of my favorite alcoholic drink.. I love it so much that I have decided to try every brand of plum wine that is currently being sold LOL.
The Takara plum wine had a sweet, fruity flavor without a strong alcoholic taste. Sadly I believe this was imported and not being sold in LCBO right now. If you want to try plum wine, there are two brands that are currently available in LCBO, the Gekkeikan and Choya. The Choya is incredibly rare as there are actual plums inside the bottle!! Only selected LCBO would sell it so check the location online prior to buying. I found the plum flavor in Gekkeikan to be a bit more mild and less sweet, whereas the Choya is really sweet and have a stronger alcoholic taste.
You can never go wrong with the chicken karaage! The deep fried chicken was not oily, still juicy and remained succulent when cold. However it would have been better if there was a bit more batter as I found the chicken’s exterior wasn’t crispy enough. I really enjoyed the wasabi in the dipping sauce as it added just a kick to the chicken karaage, a delicious combination! The picked ginger and cabbage was a nice addition to tone down the heat as well.
I’m not sure if there was a typo on the menu as I thought this dish’s name was supposed to be tako wasabi, not taco.. but that’s not a big deal. The octopus was chewy, but hard, slimy (in a good way) and full of wasabi heat without leaving a burning aftertaste in my mouth. The addition of seaweed was quite nice to cut the heat, but as always, more please as there were only 5 pieces!! :p
We decided to order the set A yakitori because we couldn’t decide.. lol. I noticed that the skewers were being grilled on charcoal, but I didn’t really taste the distinctive charcoal flavor. Anyhow, set A had the following (from left to right):
- Sanmainiku (pork belly): A bit too salty for me but D said it was ok for him. The pork was juicy and not too fatty, just perfect!
- Cheese Mune (chicken breast with cheese): The chicken was dry and bland. The cheese didn’t really help either.
- Eringi (king mushroom): King mushroom don’t have much flavor so it needs a lot of “help.” Again this was bland..
- Karubi (beef strip loin): juicy and just melt in your mouth.
- Scallop: cooked just right and had good seasoning.
It was a bit odd to see that the rice cake was dduk (Korean rice cake) instead of mochi. Nonetheless it was probably one of the better skewer of the night. The bacon was slightly crispy and went well with the rice cake without making it too salty.
We didn’t like this at all. I thought the beef pieces were a bit too thick and tough to chew on. Also, isn’t this supposed to be served with a citrus-soy dipping sauce? The beef was quite bland so it really needed some kind of sauce to flavor it up!
Overall I thought everything, except for the yakitori was pretty good! At the same time I’m quite disappointed because this restaurant is supposedly known for their skewers, yet they were average so some work need to be done to improve on the quality of the yakitori. Also, do keep in mind that when you order skewers here, it will add up on your bill so this is definitely not a place to stuff your face with skewers. I recommend ordering one of their rice or noodles dishes to fill you up if you are really hungry.