At Kaiseki Yu-zen Hashimoto, the family team aims to cater an outstanding meal as well as offer diners an authentic kaiseki experience.
Steamed and stewed course
This dish is a mashed satoimo-manjyu (taro root potato), rolled around either duck or wagyu beef, then covered in naturally coloured, lightly fried rice crackers. (featured picture)
Hungry for more? Let’s dig in!
Kaiseki can be defined as a set, fixed-price seasonal dinner of many light courses, traditionally served in teahouses in Japan. At Hashimoto, dishes reflect both the seasons in Japan—from where 90% of the ingredients are imported— and local seasons too. Ingredients are often repeated as a theme throughout the meal, with each dish being exquisitely and meticulously put together by the chef.
Notwithstanding the outstanding reviews and praise bestowed upon Kaiseki Yu-zen Hashimoto, the Hashimoto family is insistent that they are nowhere near the end of their quest, which is to bring authentic kaiseki to Toronto. During my visit, I am in awe of the enormous commitment and dedication this family team has for bringing this true art to our city. Kaiseki Yu-zen Hashimoto is set on nailing it all—with only three tables at the restaurant, there is ample opportunity for the chef and his family team to communicate in an exchange with all of their patrons. As Kei, Mr. Hashimoto’s youngest son, puts it, “What we want is the human to human interaction.” Wakei no kokoro is a phrase in Japanese that embraces this two-way exchange between diner and chef that makes the kaiseki experience truly unique.
All of this about kaiseki with yet no mention of the actual menu! At Kaiseki Yu-zen Hashimoto, diners choose from an eight-course set menu at dinnertime or a six-course luncheon a air. While the menu changes seasonally, the courses follow a set order: first, the equivalent of an amuse-bouche; second, a sashimi course; third, the soup course (only offered at dinner); fourth, the grilled course; fifth, the steamed and stewed course; sixth, the signature daikon crane dish (only o ered at dinner); seventh, the main course, often a rice dish; and eighth, dessert. If you are visiting the restaurant for dinner, you will also be treated to a traditional tea ceremony come the end of the meal.
Kaiseki Yu-zen Hashimoto’s spring menu is now on offer as of early March. Its dishes feature soft, delicate textures, owers such as cherry and plum blossoms, and highlights of pinks, whites and reds.
Prepare for a night of culinary excellence with a meditative atmosphere to relax your body and mind. The Hashimoto family is committed to letting you experience kaiseki cuisine as it is meant to be—an exploration of delicate textures, avours and colours that define each season. Fittingly, the restaurant is located in the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre.
The 62-year-old Masaki Hashimoto has been striving to perfect his art for the better part of his life. After extensive training in his native Japan, Hashimoto was one of the first trained kaiseki chefs to take his art outside the country. He has been in Toronto now for over 30 years. In 2008, Hashimoto competed in the prestigious Japanese Culinary Arts Competition, held in Kyoto, and won the technique award for his “crane in flight” creation (which dinner patrons are treated to).