WHEN CANDLE BARON and sushi enthusiast sans pareil William Cheng followed his original Japanese showpiece in North Toronto with the even more luxe Sushi Masaki Saito, it left some Shoushin regulars in a quandary. You know that sinking feeling you get when you drive your new Ferrari Roma home from the dealer only to find that while you were out, your pushy neighbour picked up a Bugatti Chiron? Exactly. Overnight, Saito had greater cachet (fewer seats, and Michelin stardust to boot) and — almost unbelievably — exclusive new bragging rights on ticket price, too. But there are still plenty of great reasons to choose Shoushin. For starters, itamae Jackie Lin — born in Guangzhou and reared in Scarborough — is a virtuoso with a sushi knife and a hangiri, and his hot kitchen is just as accomplished. The almost exclusively Japanese-sourced product he serves up is acutely seasonal and of flawless quality, just as it should be. In springtime, your epicurean journey at the tasting bar might begin with delicate bamboo shoots in dashi broth seasoned with sansho leaf. Next, perhaps hay-smoked Japanese kingfish with threads of green onion, perfectly textured poached monkfish liver plated with firefly squid from Toyama Bay, poached uni, steamed icefish and some grilled beltfish from Tokyo Bay. Then, on to the exquisite sushi — striped perch, needlefish, various grades of toro. Come dessert, do not pass on the heavenly Japanese muskmelon. Shoushin closed for a facelift in April and reopens in early June.
Jackie Lin


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