Friday, December 17, 2010

Fin Izakaya

Went to Fin Izakaya in mid-town last Sunday for a friend's B'day dinner.An izakaya (居酒屋) is a type of Japanese drinking establishment which also serves food to accompany the drinks (tapas style), food which is usually more substantial than that offered in bars and snack bar in Japan. I pass by Fin many times always wondering if this place was any good. It was GREAT and they do take reservation  unlike the other popular Izakaya place (aka Guu)  ^O^ We were welcome with cheering and greeting in Japanese by all the staff upon entering the place. OK, the ambiance is not as great as Guu since it's smaller and not as "noisy" (熱) since it's a much bigger space and guess maybe people wasn't as drunk =P Anyway, if we go as a group, it'll be 熱.  typical Izakaya (居酒屋) food.
Since we are at an Izakaya (居酒屋), we have to order alcohol (酒).
The 8 of us basically order 4 carafe of Onikoroshi (山) and one big bottle of Hakkaisan () Their Sake are very resonable priced, not like most Japanese Restaurant that jaked up the price for really bad quality sake ($10 for a huge bottle at LCBO, warm up and put it in a small sake carafe and sell it for $30). I really wish they sell these Sake at LCBO but they don't, guess more excuse for me to go back more often

Classic Style Chunky Braised Pork Kakuni 
~ Slow-braised pork belly that literally melts in the mouth.
Originally Ben ask me to order only 1 portion since not everyone would like to eat "fat pork".... but as soon as this arrive everyone wants a piece and we end up ordering an extra one =P
If you don't eat "fat pork", please skip this dish since it'll just be a waste. And guess what there was a guy among us who just threw the fat away and ate the meat part... that's a total waste and he should have skip this dish altogether and leave it for the rest of us who loved it (which is all 7 of us)

Blow-Torched Mackerel
~ Vinegar-Pickled mackerel which was blow-torched at the table in front of us.
This was one of my favorite dish of the nite, normally the vinegar taste of the mackerel in most restaurant are way too strong.. but at Fin, it done just right and the torched skin just make it taste even better like an additional smoky flavour.

Tokoyaki Octopus Balls
~ this is the best I've tasted in T.O

Ika Sugata Yaki

Ika Ichiyaboshi ~ Grilled squid

Agebitashi ~ tofu, eggplant & mushroom 
(I didn't actually try this dish since if wasn't enough to share)
I really didn't remember what that's called since it's not on their website's menu but found this name that doesn't belong to any other dish, so I think this is it.

Amaebi Karaage ~ Fried sweet Shrimp.
Please eat it hot, super crispy... most places only fried the head when you order the sushi/sashimi and there was no hard part sticking in your gum whatsoever (I bet you know what I mean).
LOVE !!!

There's a choice of sea salt and teriyaki sauce for all their skewers (kushi).I always thought for years that skewers like these are what they mainly served at Izakaya(居酒屋). I almost wish it was serve on one of those Japanese table top charcoal grill .

Angus Beef Kushiyaki w/ sea salt
 This was OK, nothing great

Chicken Kushi w/ teriyaki sauce
 ~ good but nothing special

 Pork Belly Kushi w/ sea salt
~ Yummmm, you'll be surprise how the sea salt brings out the pork & grilled flavour

Tuna Negima Skewer ~  Deep Fried Tuna & Japanese Leek
(for this one there's no choice, only terriyaki sauce)
 This was one of my favorite skewer among the 4, it's one of my to-eat again dish which is a surprise since I don't usually like cook fish and would much prefer other meat... but this one was so good, full of flavour and a very smooth texture

 Ground Wagyu Beef Steak ~ Juicy & flavorful ground wagyu beef w/ terriyaki sauce & cheese
 How could this not be good, beef w/ cheese served on a sizzling plate
Ok, you could not really taste if it's regular beef or wagyu beef but for only $7 I'm not questioning given the meat was moist and the cheese go surprisingly well with the terriyaki sauce.

Asari Soy Butter ~clams cook in soy sauce & butter
This looks really plain and we start regretting ordering this was soon as we saw this... but it was really good, although I still prefer Sake Clams since you could taste the clam flavour better
Scallop Butter ~ nothing special
Rib Eye Beef Sukiyaki ~ Hot Pot Tapas 
Thinly slices beef & vegetable cooked in house made sukiyaki sauce (they provide an egg to add at the end before serving). 
The soup was super comforting for this cold winter night.

Angus Beef Stonegrill ~ tends to overcooking the meat (hate my beef being too cook)

Seafood Stonegrill

Daifuku ~ Ice cream, whip cream, Mochi (the snowman) w/ strawberry

 Sesame Ice Cream ~ not that great
(miss Yuzu/Japango's sesame ice cream)

We got a private room that seats 10 but I would much prefer to seat outside surrounded by the Sake 

Verdict :

After trying this place, you'll realize how overrated Guu is with all the line up. I wouldn't say it's better but just as good but I do find they have different style. 

Fin Izakaya will definitely be on my to go place for Izakaya cravings from now on, especially winter cause reservation is available, seats are more comfortable in the larger space, closer and plenty of free street parking. Given that they also serve more meat dishes like skewers that are most typical Izakaya (居酒屋) food ^_^

Fin Izakaya on Urbanspoon


  1. So happy that you wrote about Fin :) Have always wanted to try but it's so weird because I have two groups of people telling me either 1) its comparable to Guu and 2)and its way worse than Guu. Point 2 being so extreme, I haven't had the "urge" to go as much as I did, but now that I read your post, I'm sure I would want to go SOON :)

    I'm glad that there are places comparable to Guu because like you said, Guu is just too overrated and I don't think it is worth all the hype especially after my 2nd and 3rd time. It's so hard to talk to friends in there!

  2. yes go try, I really like this place =)
    but it'll be best if you could find more ppl to go together to try more dishes =P