When restaurateur Sang Kim made the ambitious choice to open not just one but two restaurants in 30 days (!), he stuck to his guns and created a beautiful, bustling environment that will have you sticking around too. Literally.
Opened at the start of December in Toronto’s lively Baldwin Village, Yakitori Bar and its adjoining take-out sister spot Seoul Food Co., are bringing yakitori skewers and classic Korean food to the hungry masses.
After signing the lease in early November, Sang promptly high-tailed it to Korea for some Seoul-searching, finding plenty of inspiration from the city’s sensational street food offerings. Already impressed by his network of chef friends back in Toronto, Sang made the delicious decision to combine the two worlds with an East-meets-West Top Chef yakitori competition like no other.
Available at the Yakitori Bar, the Top Chef menu was created to celebrate and foster the exceptional local culinary talents in Toronto, many of whom lack traditional brick and mortar restaurants. The roster of chefs searing their signature skewers will rotate every few months, but many notable names have already stepped up to the grill.
With Greek, Asian, Latin American and Southern spins on classic yakitori, the Toronto Top Chef menu will take you around the world in 8 (or 80!) skewers. To wit, the currently competing chefs include Francisco Alejandri (of the much-missed Agave y Aguacate – come back soon please!), Peter Minakis (Kalofagas), the Everyday Flexitarian herself, Nettie Cronish, and Fidel Gastro‘s Matthew Basile, among many others.
And if you spy graduate of the Stratford Chefs School Vanessa Yeung‘s Aphrodite’s Salty & Sweet Beef Satays on the Top Chef menu, do NOT hesitate – order several!
One bite of her sensational skewered option sent me into a flank steak spiral that I have only recently re-emerged from. They are that good.
The eclectic Yakitori Bar’s fusion of flavours isn’t limited to the Top Chef menu – Sang’s also dishing up kimchi poutine, bulgogi cheeseburgers and kalbi philly cheesesteaks. If you want to stick to more traditional Korean fare, there’s also a bibimbap bar (at Seoul Food Co.), bulgogi, banchan and pork buns. Fermentation fans will enjoy the first-class flight of kimchi which features 1 day old, 2 week old and 3 month old options.
With a wide selection of sake and soju cocktails, Creemore Springs Premium Lager, Mill Street Brewery‘s Tankhouse Ale and Vineland Estate‘s excellent Semi-Dry Riesling all available, along with a healthy dose of K-pop streamed in on the television screens, Yakitori Bar is a great place to bring your friends and assemble your very own Toronto Top Chef judging panel.
Need a belated Christmas gift for the sushi lover in your life? There are still spots available in January for Sang’s Sustainable Sushi Making Classes!
Special thanks to Celine from Plato Putas for the fantastic photos and great dinner conversation at the Yakitori Bar’s grand opening.