Saturday, November 29, 2008

HoSu Bistro

Seated immediately in the half-full HoSu was a good step in the right direction- too bad after we were seated things went left. I knew HoSu might not have been the best choice when I looked over at the table of women across from our table. One of them was slicing her sushi with a knife before picking it up awkwardly with chopsticks. This told me two things; the sushi was very big for just one mouthful and also that the restaurant attracts a clientele who are curious about ‘ exotic’ but still don’t know sushi beyond foodcourt fare. With my two friends as additional critics, I began to read the menu that offers 517 dishes of both Korean and Japanese food. Ten minutes later I still had not made a decision and was feeling increasingly overwhelmed. The nice waitress brought us fresh, hot delicious tea just in time. I like a little selection, but the options were overwhelming! My friend and I decided to overcome our indecision by choosing a bento box ($16.95). Service was friendly and efficient, and soon after we ordered we were brought a little selection of Korean side dishes (kimchi and tasty fresh peanuts) we were then brought miso and iceberg lettuce salad (nothing special).
When the bento boxes arrived, the sashimi was completely inedible. The white tuna was too soft, it was wet and it was so salty that my first thought was that there was definitely something fishy about the ‘tuna’. The chicken for the chicken teriyaki had been cooked plain and was then drenched with bottled teriyaki sauce. The breast was big and cooked well, but very bland. The tempura batter hadn't been mixed properly and when I bit into my broccoli tempura the stem was surrounded by uncooked clumps of flour. The sushi was made so far in advance that the centre of avocado, fake crab and cucumber was a flavourless and indistinguishable mush in my mouth. The bento box looked beautiful and big, but it did not deliver. One friend also got the same bento and felt the same way - and he’s not a fussy eater! The other friend had noticed that the cooks were Korean and had decided wisely that he would stick to the Korean side of the menu and ordered #58 Spicy Bulgogi ($9.95). His meal came on a hot iron plate – a sizzling pile of spicy sirloin steak with onions and thinly sliced carrots. It was spicy and delicious but after a few bites quite monotonous.
The brown rice was cooked well, the service was good and the tea was hot and fresh and refilled often, but I will never go back to HoSu for the Japanese food. Toronto life has said HoSu provides, "Korean comfort food at its best", so maybe next time, I will give the Korean side of the menu a try.

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