Finally an isakaya in Toronto!

In my search for different culinary adventures - I have been anxious to try FIN - first, because it's the new kid on the block in my neighborhood and it was calling itself a Japanese Isakaya. An izakaya is a Japanese bar or "place for sake", and references casual pubs serving high-end snacks or what we would consider Japanese tapas. Considering I have been on the hunt for a true experience as there are NO authentic izakayas in Toronto- Fin was on my list of must tries!

The menu at Fin has depicted all their offerings in a colourful laminated way showing off their presentations from salads, to appetizers, yakatoris, and hotpots.
I was definitely impressed with the innovation and happy that it wasn't a restaurant that served what is classically found in Japanese restaurants - which are your sushi and sashimi dishes. They were there on the menu but they definitely presented a lot of other offerings. We decided to try all the items that had chef special next to it and also to do a sake flight $7each which consisted of 3 shot glasses filled with different types of sakis including ones called demon slayer and my favourite - nigori saki which is undistilled and cloudy sake that I find light and creamy.
We ordered their Kakuni Pork which was fatty pork belly and an half of a hard boiled egg cooked in a hot pot- Derrick and I loved the flavour of this- reminded me of a type of stew my dad makes at home. The belly was flavourful and the sauce was salty but delecate in a hearty way. It was very good. We also tried the "Asian Tofu Fight" which was a selection of 3 soft tofus in tiny bowls all served in different styles - Japanese: with scallions and soy sauce; Korean: with kimchi on top of the tofu and Chinese style with friend garlic on top. It was a very light dish and very small and in future- I would pass on ordering this as it wasn't substantial enough.
We ordered the clams cooked in a hot pot with Sake and dashi broth- the clams were very small but fresh and they keep the pot warm by placing it over a little candlie lit burner. Unfortunately we don't really taste the sake as it's too mild. We had the unagi (eel) don- which was unagi served over rice in a hot pot- it was sweet and the rice was sticky but I didn't think the unagi was fresh as it had a fishy aftertaste.
Our favourite dishes of the evening were the blowtorched saba - for me - it was the presentation as the waitress brought it out and blow torched the fish in front of our table. The texture of the fish was a bit rubbery though and I found it a bit fishy. Derrick said it was his favourite dish of the night and loved it - especially when paired with the pickled cucumber salad that it was served with. I loved the makeral done 2 ways - as a tartar with ginger which is a good kick when you eat a good mouthful and then the sashimi was done perfectly. The thing was I was still hungry after this wide array of dishes. I debated on whether we should try some more and I'm glad that Derrick restrained me as I got fuller the more we chatted and let the food digest. Anyway as with all new restaurants- it's just going through it's growing pains and working out it's kinks. I will be back for sure to try other unique Japanese tapas and support my neighborhood.
*** stars
Fin 55 Eglinton East - Yonge and Eglinton Bookmark and Share

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