You know you have a wish that didn’t get fulfilled for Christmas – you feel like you had all the right things in place and bam the day passed by! Having had an initial visit to the new Yakitori Bar and Seoul Food Co. – at the corner of Baldwin and McCaul, at a private opening function where I tasted a slew of wonderful bites from the amazing menu – I had been left with a want of MORE! I need to get myself back down there and sample the amazing menu item – Kimchi Poutine – the Canuck in me has to conquer another style of Poutine!
Yakitori Bar – The new restaurant that owner-operator, Sang Kim (Blowfish/Ki) opened in just over 30 days and blogged about it is open for all your tasting pleasure! http://howtoopenarestaurantin30days.com/
Yakitori Bar is home in the Baldwin facing part of the location and is was designed with the rough finish of barn wood, dark walls and black subway tiles. Two large flat screen TVs play the most hip and trendy Korean music videos for background ambiance and colour.
Back in the kitchen is a chef master, Shin Aoyama, whose focus is yakitori skewers, generally sold by the pair, with options like Seasonal Vegetables ($3.95) amazing Pork Belly ($4.95), beef ribs ($5.95) and Hokkaido scallop ($6.25). Sides consist of great items like Kimchi Flights (1 day,2 weeks,3 months old ($3.95), Kimchi 3 ways (dumpling,pancake & tofu($4.95) and Baby Bibimbap ($5.25) For some amazing drinks, there are sake and soju cocktails, including the tasty Soju Infusion($6.19) made from a variety of muddled fruits and vegetables and of course a Gangnam Style cocktail ($7.07). There’s also the Yakitori Top Chef menu, which features their own interpretations to this classic Japanese specialty dish filled with recipes from Toronto Chefs such as Rossy Earle (SupiCucu @PanCanCooks) and Matthew Basile (Fidel Gastro @FidelGastro).
Rossy Earle and Sang Kim
Shinji Yamaguchi and Blessie Anne
Matthew Basile/Fidel Gastro
Alabama Yakitori by Matt Basile /Fidel Gastro
Pork Belly Yakitori
Godzilla Skewer by Shinji Yamaguchi
Bombay Sake Jubilee
Salty and Sweet Beef Satays by Vanessa Young/Aphrodite Cooks
Diabla’s Alligator Kiss by Rosse Earle
Sang’s Amazing Kickass Kimchi
In the back of the space facing McCaul, is Seoul Food Co., which offers Korean style takeout with a small stand-up bar for a quick meal. You get to utilize a Bibimbap bar, where customers can choose from delicious types of rice, meat and glorious vegetables.
And there is another stand for Korean-inspired sandwiches made with Beef Bulgogi and more. Sauces and goods from local chefs, including favourites like Rossy Earle’s SupiCucu’s Hot Sauce, Paula Costa’s (@Dragonskitchen) Dragon’s Piri Piri and of course , Sang’s own Kickass Kimchi (which is still being saved in my refrigerator til the new year).
My Stash of Sang’s Amazing Kickass Kimchi
Yakitori Bar is a great place for so many reasons but most of all for the warmth of Sang himself and the amazing belly warming food served with its Asian twists. Definitely one to visit more often than not and a great place to introduce visitors too as its mere steps away from Toronto’s Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). Not only am I anxious to visit again and finally have that Kimchi Poutine but hosting an event or two in 2013 is definitely on the menu!
About Sang Kim
2012 Book Projects:
DRIFTWOOD, a novel about a group of boys coming of age and coming apart in the notorious Jane-Finch projects of Toronto. A model minority story gone to hell.
Some of His Other Projects for 2012:
REEL EATS, monthly gastronomic, film, and storytelling events held at the top restaurant venues in the city, all centered around a famous food film.
COOK/BOOK, monthly filmed interviews with Canada’s most prominent authors about their work as it relates to food.