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No. 33

Aburi Hana

FOUR YEARS AFTER OPENING — mere weeks before Covid-19 — Aburi Hana has become one of Toronto’s leading destinations for stratospheric-level sushi. The city has Ryusuke Nakagawa to thank, who uprooted from Japan to offer serious, close-to-meditative Kyōkaiseki tasting menus that are Japanese in ethos but unmistakably Canadian in execution. Nakagawa’s signature touches are subtle and sublime. His calling card — a maguro rose served with slivers of dry ice — invites guests to uncurl each akami and chūtoro tuna petal and dip. In keeping with kaiseki tradition, dishes are seasonally attuned. Quebec duck breast is stuffed with foie gras, charcoal-grilled and, to symbolize spring’s awakening, served on a twig. During Japanese bluefin season, otoro is covered in caviar and served on a rice cracker tartelette. Elsewhere, the menu grapples with the environmental toll of globally sourced seafood. One course puts Canadian seafood on a pedestal through a partnership with Toronto’s Affinity Fish, fishmongers who work with Indigenous fishermen and practise the Japanese tradition of ikejime. Service ware is from the town of Arita, in western Japan, renowned for fine porcelain. Sake director Amy Lee covers classical Japanese sake alongside whimsical offerings like Alain Ducasse’s sparkling sake and Alsatian orange wines.

Service, ambience, food — all stellar and on point. Jason Dagenais
Menus change every two months — Ontario produce is showcased in spring, shellfish in winter.

Photography by Carmen Cheung

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