Hanmoto is a super cozy izakaya just off Dundas West on Lakeview Avenue in Toronto. You could walk past it’s slight red glow if you weren’t specifically looking for it. The place is small and seats about 30. I was lucky enough to walk in and get a table for a friend and I. As I waited for my friend, I sipped a North Town Nashi, a fruity drink with mizo shochu, lemon, asian pear and shingo pear bitters.
This is a sharing restaurant so we ordered a bunch of dishes.
Hot Hot Tofu: Cold silken tofu, chili oil, pickled cucumber, onions, nori. I enjoyed the melt in mouth texture of the tofu very much. They added just the right amount of chili oil and it wasn’t too spicy or salty.
Hamachi Tartare: Sweet chili ponzu, shiso, cilantro, avocado. The yellowtail was very fresh and paired well with the avocado and the texture of the other toppings.
Uni-Bomb: sea urchin roe, chicken skin chips, sushi rice. I rarely ever have sea urchin (because finding it fresh is hard in the city) but I really enjoyed this bomb! The chicken skins were super crispy and looked so enticing that my Jewish friend (who doesn’t eat chicken) took a bite out of one. Oops.
Enoki with Miso Butter arrived on a hot plate looking like a steak. The mushrooms were cooked together as one piece and flaked like meat. You can never go wrong with cooking anything in butter.
My second drink of the night was an Arisaka Sour with green tea, cucumber infused gin, uzu, soda, lime bitter. I was surprised to actually taste the cucumber.
For some reason even though I usually hate okra (when my mom cooks it), I decided to see if I would like it when it was done properly. This was cooked with parmesan and topped with bonito flakes. The flakes kind of felt like eating paper so I wasn’t relaly a fan. I also think I just hate okra in general and can’t get over the slithery texture (to no fault of Hanmoto).
Lastly, we ordered the Salmon Aburi with torched salmon and sushi rice. It resembled a deconstructed version of the blowtorched sushi we loved at JaBistro.
Who leaves without trying the Miso icecream? I haven’t eaten much savoury ice cream but this one was super refreshing and topped with nori powder and toasted rice balls. Picture miso soup except frozen and in block form. The miso soup of the future.
A visit to Hanmoto is definitely a must! But good luck getting a seat if you are more than two people.