For sushi lovers in Toronto, Minami is a must-visit spot. Located centrally on King West, and a known TIFF hot-spot, Minami opened in 2021 after being a staple in Vancouver’s Yaletown neighbourhood. And while he is from Vancouver, Head Chef Eric Chung is now in Toronto, and we (sushi lovers) couldn’t be happier.
Having been with Aburi Restaurants Canada for about five years, Chef Chung began his culinary adventures in kitchens years back.
“I started in kitchens when I was younger, and eventually as I worked more, I started to really like it,” Chef Chung told Curiocity. “I never expected to be a head chef of an establishment one day, but it just so happened I got lucky.”
Like others in the industry, Chef Chung had several roles with different restaurant groups in Toronto, but said he was “very grateful” when he got the opportunity to work with Minami.
Toronto’s Minami location has been named “2021’s Best Designed Restaurant in the Americas” by Restaurant & Bar Design Awards. The location, where Chef Chung is based, is the fourth culinary concept from Aburi Restaurants, which has sister venues Miku Toronto, ABURI TORA and ABURI HANA, all of which are known for “trailblazing Aburi cuisine within the Toronto culinary scene.”
Chung’s most ordered signature dish at Minami
It’s no surprise that the most ordered dish at Minami in Toronto is a sushi roll that shares the restaurant’s name.
Chung said the Minami Roll is the most ordered dish. For this roll, you get six pieces of negitoro maki, topped with uni, Japanese wagyu, truffle powder, lemon aioli, pickled daikon, and wasabi pickles.
“We wanted to make a roll that has all the unique expensive flavours in a way,” said Chung, explaining his inspiration for creating it. “There’s a lot of fattiness from the wagyu on top of that, we have a pickled daikon in there that does cut out the fattiness as well, and who doesn’t love Japanese uni?”
When creating the dish, Chung said they initially added actual truffles, but it didn’t work out. “So we just added truffle powder, which makes it look nice as well,” he said. “That sells the most for the sushi side, it’s a lot of people’s favourites.”
But, the Minami Roll isn’t the only customer favourite here.
The Yogan Stone, a very aesthetically pleasing dish, is also often ordered. This dish, Chung explains, is more like a steak. “It comes on a sizzling stone hot plate with garnishes, and when its served at the table, we put a little bit of maple water and there’s a little rosemary in there too. So it gives you a waft of maple and rosemary while you are enjoying the dish.”
Chung’s personal favourite
And if you’re wondering what Chef Chung eats at Minami, his favourite serving is the Soy Braised Beef Short Rib. The Korean inspired dish comes from Chung’s background (being Korean himself), and is served with a carrot puree, potato pave, pickled shallot, and mustard aioli.
Looking ahead, Chef Chung said that Minami will be doing a menu change come fall. His inspiration for the dishes is seasonal, and while his signature dish will most likely be sable fish, he said he will be using seasonal vegetables especially heading into winter.
One thing is for sure, fans of Minami will probably enjoy his next seasonal signature dish.
“I only make things that people like,” Chung said.
Where: 225 King St. West, Toronto