Location: Toronto, Canada
Address: 1404 Yonge Street
Type of Meal: Dinner
According to Google, “Bushi” represents a warrior class while “Kappo” denotes Japanese cooking methods - cutting, boiling, stewing & frying. So, together, Bushi Udon Kappo could be translated as the warrior of cooking udon. I don’t know how many martial arts moves is required to make these bowls chewy noodles, but I certainly welcome any warrior that makes their own noodles in-house.
Thankfully, Bushi also allows guests to make reservations! Sadly, this is a rarity with many of the new establishments. Well, I commend them for it and welcome the change. Plus, it would be best for patrons to call ahead given the dining room only seats 34. With its white wash walls and bundles of twigs adorning the wall, the restaurant is minimally decorated. You’re definitely going for the food and not the surroundings.
During this visit, my friends and I ordered all three types of udon so we could try the difference.
Firstly, there’s the tried and true traditional hot udon where the noodles arrive in a bowl of hot broth. Opting for the shrimp tempura version ($9.50), we asked for the tempura on the side to avoid the batter getting soggy. The noodles arrived piping hot in a clear, clean tasting soy-bonito broth. Unlike a bowl of ramen, the broth for udon is not oily (given it’s flavoured with seaweed and bonito flakes rather than pork bones) and isn’t as salty. On the side, patrons are given a bottle of shichimi tōgarashi (seven flavour chili spice) to add as they please. The noodles are thinner than what you may be used to and have a chewier, denser and smoother texture. The tempura was all right, but I found a bit bland given there’s nothing but broth to dip it into.
The next to arrive was my favourite, the tsuke udon with pork and onion ($10.50). With the tsuke style, the udon is served separately, and then is dipped into a bowl of hot soup. The soup itself is more condensed than the regular hot kind and has a lot more soy sauce and seasonings in it. Accordingly, the soup would be salty to drink but good for dipping or mixing the noodles into. The noodles were pretty much the same, except a little more al dente, but mixed with the flavourful soup was heavenly. The pork and onion were once again nothing exciting but rather thin shavings of each inside the soup.
The last version to be served was the zaru udon ($7.50), where the udon is served cold and topped with shredded nori. To flavour this noodle, there is a cold flavourful dipping sauce (made from soy and other sauces) and dishes of grated ginger and chopped green onions to add as you please. The zaru was the least exciting of the bunch, but would be refreshing on a hot summer day.
Aside from udon, Bushi also serves sushi and other hot dishes. The miso marinated grilled pork ($9.50) consisted of five slices of the most tender and flavourful pork I’ve had in a long time. A handful of mixed greens is on the side and has an amazing miso dressing. If I return, I’d like to order a helping of just the salad given the dressing was so good.
Of course, I had to try my one of my favourite dishes, the grilled black cod ($10.50), which was buttery and flavourful just like black cod should be. I only wish the fish could be cut into thicker pieces as it was difficult to pick up and looked somewhat haphazardly thrown onto the plate.
In the end, I was pleased with experience. My suggestion would be to definitely try the tsuke udon as it’s unique and unlike the other udons throughout the city. The toppings included with the noodles are average, so ordering some of their grilled plates to share instead may be the better option. Given Bushi is close to St. Clair station and has a parking lot close by with $5 parking, I will definitely be returning.
Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10
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Gastro World's Grading System
- Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
- 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
- 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
- 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
- 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
- 10 - absolute perfection!