At Mye, Chef Motoaki Aoki marches to the beat of his own drum.
Savouvy sukiyaki: Nothing whets your appetite like seeing delicious slices of beef cooked right before your eyes! (the feature picture)
Hungry for more? Let’s dig in!
While new restaurant trends come and go in Toronto’s booming food scene, Executive Chef Motoaki “Mo” Aoki has been slowly honing his craft at Mye Japanese Restaurant for 30 years. The Oakville business owner doesn’t seem particularly interested in scenes. The spare, softly lit dining room at Mye’s original location still looks much the same as when it opened.
I ask Mo if he finds the clientele has changed over the years. “Well, they’ve gotten older,” he laughs. Mo may joke, but the long-term loyalty of his customers is there for anyone to see: on the walls are hundreds of sake cups that belong to regulars who have frequented the restaurant for decades and whose children and grandchildren have in turn become regulars. “Find the thing that doesn’t change,” says Mo.
Case in point: for three decades since opening, he has been carefully perfecting the same menu. Mo cares for his menu the same way he cares for his regulars: investing in his dishes over the years with the goal of bringing out their full potential.
It may be hard to understand this level of commitment until you taste a dish like Mye’s yakiniku-style steak. Prepared with quintessential Japanese attention to detail, the perfectly garnished, bite-sized morsels melt in your mouth. Seared, caramelized zing slowly gives way to the rich, complex flavour of the meat.
Next up is sukiyaki, a convivial, home-style meal where vegetables and beef are cooked on a burner at the table. Then we dip the meat into whisked raw egg that envelops it with velvety richness.
“Open the palm first and success will come,” the chef advises. Every year since Mye turned 25, Mo has held a fundraiser for the local hospital. The restaurant’s upcoming 30th anniversary will surely be an occasion for his guests to show their appreciation in turn.
The delicious marinade on this steak is only applied a few minutes before it is cooked so as not to overwhelm the flavour of the meat.
Diced Beef Steak
For all of the wide variety available at Toronto restaurants, tasting a simple steak so perfectly executed is still a novel experience.
Mye Japanese Restaurant
143 Church St., Oakville 905-849-8989 | myerestaurant.ca
OPEN: Tues–Fri 12 pm–2:30 pm, 5:30 pm–10 pm Sat 5:30 pm–10 pm • Sun 5 pm–10 pm Mon closed