There's a new Asian spot in Toronto. Brought to you by industry veteran Sang Kim, Yakitori Bar in Baldwin Village has a lot to offer, along with it's take-out side, Seoul Food. Can I tell you, I've been waiting for someone to open a Korean spot called Seoul Food since the mid-90's!

In a seemingly crazy move, Sang opened both concept restaurants in 30 days, chronicling the process on How To Open A Restaurant In 30 Days. Though he's happy with the final results of his fifth restaurant - a beautifully laid out, cozy space - Sang says he wouldn't do that again.

Seoul Food offers four signature sandwiches, while Yakitori Bar has an extensive list of skewers and sides in addition to the sandwiches. The beverage list is an intriguing mix of sake and soju cocktails, as well as cold sakes, beer, wine and non-alcoholic options. Sang has plans to offer a selection of noodle dishes and wings in the future as well as formulate a program to benefit a local charity.

On the night we visited for a media preview, we got to sample from the menu as well as a few of the special creations from eight local chefs of varying backgrounds, giving an international flavour to the menu. Not only can you sample the skewers from these "yakitori top chefs", but if you like them, you can purchase their sauce to take home. Just ask your server.

  • Paula Costa's Dragon's Piri Piri
    • Spicy and savoury Portuguese chicken skewers marinated in a unique blend of chilies, spices, herbs and citrus and drizzled with a lemon and orange infused olive oil.
  • Peter Minaki's Butan Kalamaki
    • Butan is pork in Japanese and Kalamaki is a stick in Greek. Cubes of pork butt are marinated in oil, onions, seasoning and dried Greek oregano over night. It is drizzledwith olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, sea salt, and paired with Peter's famous Tzatziki.
  • Rossy Earle's Diabla's Alligator Kiss
    • Alligator meat is brushed with Rossy's marinade consisting of habaneros, smoked pineapple, candied ginger, garlic, cilangro, parsley, honey, coconut, soy, rum and mirin.
  • Francisco Alejandri's Almond Pork Mole
    • Pork draped in Francisco's signature mole - it's a secret! A delicious, delicious secret.
  • Nettie Cronish's Almond Nut Butter Tofu-tori
    • Tofu stir-fried in almond nut butter, tamari, mirin, curry and toasted sesame
  • Shinji Yamaguchi's Godzilla Skewer
    • A homemade recipe he learned from his mother, the balls are made of ground chicken, onion, soy sauce and coriander, drizzled with his trademark Gushi Teriyaki Sauce.
  • Vanessa Yeung's Aphrodite's Salty and Sweet Beef Satays
    • This recipe, given to Vanessa by her mother uses flank steak, marinated for 24 hours in salty soy sauce, hoisin sauce and sugar.
  • Matt Basile's Alabama Yakitori
    • Bacon and pepper brushed with maple syrup and stuffed with a slice of beef tenerloin carpaccio, jalapeño, shallot, and aged cheddar, served with cilantro chili aioli, lime and corn.

My favourite skewer of the night was Vanessa's, followed closely by Rossy's. The banchan of the day, featuring spinach, enoki mushrooms and the house-made kimchi was outstanding. I also really enjoyed the lemon and grapefruit infused soju which was delightfully refreshing with a bittersweet edge.

I'm planning on taking some out-of-town guests to Yakitori Bar for dinner and am really looking forward to exploring more of the menu.



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