Before Kaori came to be, the restaurant was an Outback, and as such, the decor still has a Down Under feel. Aside from the paper screens and lanterns, wooden booths surround the dining room while a sushi bar in the middle allows patrons to watch their food being prepared. The dining area is large, the seating is comfortable and diners do not feel rushed through their meals. Buttons are located on each table so that servers can be summoned, and private rooms of any size can be reserved, thanks to sliding panels used as dividers.
The Meaning of Sharing
In another example of the unusual service of Kaori, only two menus were offered to a party of 10. Additional menus were never provided, making for a lengthy process when preparing to order. And yet, for smaller parties of three or four, menus are provided for each and every person. If menus were in short supply, would it not have been more efficient to leave two menus for smaller parties and provide four or five for larger ones? However, the restaurant seeks to make up for this inefficiency with such gestures as complimentary edamame and flavourful mackerel and turnip offered as appetizers. In addition, the food arrives promptly and the cup is always full of hot tea.
The menu describes an extremely large variety of dishes, including a wide selection of well-made seafood. A donburi dinner ranges from $10 to $13 CDN while sushi and sashimi dinners range from $15 to $20 CDN. Specialty rolls, though not particularly abundant in choice, also range from $10 to $13 CDN. The miso soup is a little on the salty side and the sashimi is cut into large, fresh, but veiny slices. The kalbi is extremely tender and succulent, while the tempura, which comes in either a large basket or as part of combination courses, is light and crispy without being too oily.
Plenty of Fish
One issue that should be noted by all patrons is the size of the portions offered at Kaori. Though the food is delicious, the meals are very large in size. For example, the tempura and sashimi combination is described according to the menu as containing 5 pieces of nigiri sushi and 8 pieces of sashimi, but the actual meal comes with 6 pieces of nigiri sushi and 16 pieces of sashimi, not to mention the large amount of tempura. This small example of false advertising would seem generous in nature, but in actuality leads to overspending on the part of the diner. Had patrons been accurately informed, they could have shared meals, which are certainly large enough for two. After diners have eaten their fill, it is not uncommon to see half the food still remaining on the table, with everyone looking on wearily and wishing they had ordered less. Complimentary ice cream is also provided at the end of the meal.
Kaori Restaurant is located at 30 High Tech Road in Richmond Hill, on the corner of Yonge Street and High Tech Road. Reservations can be made by calling (905) 707-8858. They are open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week. All major credit cards are accepted, including American Express, and ample free parking is available.